History of Golf in Australia

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Type: article
Parent page: Australia’s Golfing Heritage
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It is not completely clear when golf first arrived in Australia. There are several stories that have been circulated, but there is only one that is considered to have credible evidence to support it. There are a number of entries in Alexander Brodie Spark’s diary in 1839. These describe golf being played that same year in an area that is now part of the city.

It was Spark and a number of his contemporaries that started a golf club – the New South Wales Golf Club – that same year, but it was short-lived and does not have any connection with the modern-day club of the same name. Spark was a wealthy man and was a part of high society in the area. It is thought that the way they ran the golf club was influenced by England’s Royal Blackheath Golf Club.

Australia’s Oldest Golf Clubs

This is also something that is difficult to determine but based on the evidence, the oldest continuously running golf club is the Australian Golf Club, located in Sydney. This was an informal club but took on a formal format in 1884. It is known that between 1888 and 1895, the club had no course to play on, but the club still existed in a legal sense because it had a bank account. A new course in Queen’s Park became available to them, and they started to use it in 1895. This club accounts for the oldest golf trophy in the country, the Cadogan Cup.

The Royal Melbourne Golf Club has claimed to be the oldest golf club in the country because, unlike the Australian Golf Club, it has been able to play without interruption. Other contenders for the oldest golf club in the country include a course at Ratho, although there is some evidence that dates this club to be much later than the others.