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Golf Historians Forum – Friday May 17 -Lonsdale Links GC

By Home News, Events, 2024 No Comments

The Society has organised the first Historians Forum for 2024 at Lonsdale Links – Point Lonsdale.

It is great that we can learn about the history of clubs which are not only in the Metropolitan area.

The forum will explain the process of producing the Centenary History Book for the 2023 celebrations and also take us through the redevelopment of the club from Lonsdale Golf Club to Lonsdale Links.

This forum promises to be most informative.

There will be a chance to play either 9 or 18 holes at the conclusion of the forum. Limited tee spots

Guests most welcome

Please see the attached invitation with all the details.

As always, please do not hesitate to make contact should you have any queries at all.

Stella Cugley
Golf Society of Australia
M: +61 408 364 864

Victorian Hickory Shaft Championships – Sunday 19 May – Barwon Heads Golf CLub

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The inaugural Victorian Hickory Shaft Championship has been run and won on the wonderful links of Barwon Heads Golf Club on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula.

After a couple of successful events at Barwon Heads GC, in the past two years, we thought it appropriate to hold the 2024 Championship there.

John Trevorrow reports ..

A big field of 33 golfers turned the clock back a century competing in the Victorian Hickory Shaft Championship at historic Barwon Heads GC on May 19th.
This inaugural championship, organised by the GSA, brought together entrants from Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Tasmania to the historic coastal links laid out by J. Victor East in 1921.
The championship was contested in 18 holes of stroke play on a cool, windy Sunday with scudding clouds that delivered a brief shower.

Conditions were challenging for scoring and just three of the 33 players were able to beat 90 off the stick. The men’s 2024 champion is Harry Green from Kingston Heath with 86. Women’s 2024 champion is GSA president Kim Hastie from Metropolitan GC with 111. Runners-up were Bendigo GC’s Justin Ryan on 89 countback, and Truda Rail from Strathfield GC on 114.
Winners in the handicap division were Matthew Delahunty from Spring Valley with 74 nett, and Truda Rail 88 nett.
The inaugural championship was marked by a great spirit of camaraderie, new and renewed friendships and a shared enthusiasm for hickory golf.

We give thanks to Barwon Heads for their wonderful hospitality and wish the club all the best with the clubhouse redevelopment

More images from the event can be found in the Gallery page

Women’s & Men’s Victorian Hickory Shaft Champions Kim Hastie and Harry Green

Women’s Runner Up & Nett Winner Truda Rail with GSA President Kim Hastie

Matthew Delahunty Men’s Nett winner with Champion Harry Green

The previous day several players enjoyed the Par 3 course on a gorgeous Autumn afternoon some finishing as the sun was setting

Don Lawrence Trophy New date – Tuesday 3rd September

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DON LAWRENCE TROPHY –  Event rescheduled – new date Tuesday 3rd September


 First played in 1996, the Don Lawrence Trophy commemorates and celebrates the outstanding contribution to sports journalism by one of the Society’s earliest members. 

Entries are now open for this popular annual 4BBB Stableford 18-hole event for mixed pairs, women’s, and men’s teams.  

  •  Guests of members are welcome to enter but only GSA members are eligible to win the trophy. 
  • A multi-tee start will commence at 12.30 pm sharp.  
  • The draw will be circulated prior to the event. 
  • Presentations will include: 
  • After golf Snacks (beverages at own cost) 
  • Prizes for: Best Inward and outward 9 holes and Best Non-Member pair 
  • NTP – women and men 

Cost: TBA  Lunch, 18 holes & after golf snacks  

Spring Valley Members will be reimbursed for the green fee via their Club account. 


 Secretary Stella Cugley  


Registration and Lunch: 

From 11:15am 

 For Payment:  Please pay directly the Golf Society of Australia Bendigo Bank  

New evet details to follow shortly 

Mixed pairs, women’s, or men’s teams are accepted. 

 Please email your (& playing partners) attendance details to: 

Or post your acceptance slip and cheque to:

Stella Cugley   Secretary    7A Canberra Grove   Beaumaris Vic 3193

Jenny Picking and David Rew 2023 winners with President Kim Hastie 



Dinner – Metropolitan Golf Club – Monday 19th February

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The Society held its first dinner for the year at The Metropolitan Golf Club – Monday 19 February

Our guest speaker was Dr Joshua Ralston, who is in Melbourne on a three-month lecturing position at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Ralston is a professor of religion and politics at the University of Edinburgh with a focus on the interactions between the Middle East and the West.  

He has written or edited four books on themes such as religious diversity in Europe, populism and religion, and Christian-Muslim relations. He’s currently writing on how sport helps us understand the transformation of Saudi Arabia and modern global politics. 

Dr Ralston is an avid golfer and a member at North Berwick Golf Club, Scotland. He has already managed several games on the Sandbelt since his arrival at the beginning of January. 

The title of his topic was    “The Politics of Golf: Saudi Arabia and the transformation of professional golf.” 

Joshua’s talk was enlightening and very entertaining and we are grateful to him for giving up his leisure time.

We also give thanks to Michael Clayton who assisted in securing Joshua as our dinner speaker.  

To read more about this wonderful evening ..please see John Trevorrow’s report – President Kim Hastie


Report on Dr Joshua Ralston’s talk to at Golf Society dinner at Metropolitan GC, 19th February. 

Have you ever wondered why the rulers of Saudi Arabia have spent billions of their petro-dollars buying into international golf by creating and funding the LIV Golf League? 

The answer, according to academic Dr Joshua Ralston, is deeper than the common assumption that the authoritarian Saudi regime simply wants to ‘sports wash’ its dubious international reputation for human rights. 

Dr Ralston is from California, and a late convert to golf and member at North Berwick Golf Club in Scotland. He is an associate professor of religion and politics at the University of Edinburgh and has written studies on religious diversity in Europe, populism and religion, and Christian-Muslim relations. Dr Ralston is currently a visiting scholar at Trinity College, University of Melbourne and was guest speaker in February at Metropolitan Golf Club for the Golf Society’s first dinner of the year. His talk, titled “Saudi Arabia and the politics of golf”, drew a packed house of 138 GSA members and guests. 

His view is that Muhammad bin Salman al Saud, the crown prince and Prime Minister who is the probable next King of Saudi Arabia, is aiming to diversify his nation’s future from reliance on oil and gas to broader economic interests. Sport, including top-level soccer and golf, is among his targets. 

Dr Ralston laid out three essential reasons he believes are behind the Saudis’ investment of more than $3billion so far on LIV Golf, which this year will play its second Australian tournament in Adelaide. 


  1. National

The Saudi regime wants to transition its society, build new economic hubs, and attract wealthy and influential foreign investors. Golf is one of the ways of doing that. It is also a sport that is appropriate within Saudi culture because it can be played together by men and women in culturally acceptable ways. 


  1. Regional

Saudi Arabia is playing catch-up against its more international neighbours Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia already contains the two most important sites for Islam — Mecca and Medina — and LIV Golf gives them another chance to increase their reputation and influence within the Middle-East region. “Why buy a team when you can buy a whole sport? LIV Golf helps to set the Saudis apart in their regional rivalry,” said Dr Ralston. 


  1. Global

Golf is a mid-range sport compared to soccer and basketball, he says, but is a very rich sport. Fortune-100 companies and executives are involved in golf, and the game also gives unique opportunities to build personal relationships on the golf course with important and influential people. It gives the Saudis a key foothold in international connections. 


“LIV Golf is part of a broader group of aims for the Saudis to make themselves indispensable both economically and globally,” Dr Ralston says. Finally, he pointed out that western nations have for more than 70 years made a “Faustian bargain” by dealing economically and militarily with Saudi Arabia while not looking at what the Kingdom does in terms of women’s rights, human rights and authoritarian behaviour. 

Golf gives us a window into our morally complicated world, he says. Understanding and respecting different cultures is vitally important to global understanding and international relationships, but so too is holding fast to values of justice and human dignity.   

Dr Ralston’s timely talk was enthusiastically received by the diverse and influential crowd. The audience included board members from a number of golf clubs, Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland, many key people from Metropolitan GC, and a large number of guests. Two old friends with a combined 150 years of playing golf were also there. Metro’s legendary pro Brian Twite and Peter Stickley, who caddied at Metro in 1951-52 and was assistant to Brian in 1955-57, enjoyed 9 holes together before the dinner. They were joined on the course by Tasmanian former champion and professional David Good. 

– John Trevorrow 



The Society gives thanks to the club and staff at Metropolitan GC for their wonderful hospitality which ensured for a most enjoyable evening for our members and their guests.

Thank you to many that have passed on positive and lovely feedback.

We took the opportunity to record Joshua’s talk   Please click on the link below to listen.

28th Australian Hickory Shaft Open Championships

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28th Australian Hickory Shaft Open Championship – Melbourne 2023 – Event Report 

 Playing group before hitting off at Woodlands GC

The 28th playing of the Australian Hickory Shaft Championship was recently played on Melbourne’s world-renowned Sandbelt courses. The courses were set up for hickory play and although the clubs are 100 + years old the winning scores were surprisingly low.

Hickory players from around Australia, as well as, for the first time, contingents from New Zealand and Japan, competed for the Championship and handicap trophies.

The new Sandy Golf Links course hosted the Foursomes on Day 1. The weather was superb, and the course was in excellent condition. There were some fine scores and an excellent score of 72 was posted.  New Zealanders Catherine Palmer and Mark Lawson took home the trophy. Runners up were Mike Clayton & Terry Thornton with a 76.

Darryn Watt & Andrew Baker won the handicap section with Nett 70.6.

Foursome’s winners Catherine Palmer & Mark Lawson flanked by handicap winners Darryn Watt & Andrew Baker.

The main Championship event is played over 36 holes with Round One at Woodlands GC and the final round at Kingston Heath GC. The hickory clubs used in the event would have been similar to the clubs used by the founding fathers of both courses, which were established in the mid 1920’s.

Woodlands presented the course in immaculate condition; however, the weather was not kind with wind and some rain. This did not deter the players who braved the conditions, some recording excellent scores.

The highlight of the day was the after-dinner guest speakers. Australian PGA CEO, Gavin Kirkman spoke of the history, his recent experiences and future development of the PGA. Bruce Green, PGA Life Member, and long-term professional at Royal Melbourne followed  and was thoroughly entertaining as he took us through his colourful career.

The early start for the final round at Kingston Heath was bleak, cold, and wet, but as one player noted “these are the conditions they play in all the time in Scotland!!” and nothing could deter playing on one of the world’s best courses.

A superb second round of 74 by Richard Macafee gave him a record low of 148, to secure the Men’s Championship trophy over NSW’s Tim Sayers on 162.

Richard, a long-time member of Kingston Heath, has a fast-growing passion for hickory golf. “I finally got my own hickories, and to play with my own set was unbelievable… I’ll be doing it a lot more now”, he said.

In the Women’s Championship, the first day at Woodlands was New Zealand’s Catherine Palmer’s first full round with hickory clubs, but she didn’t let that stop her from taking out the title with an impressive score of 169. She commented “back home in Christchurch, I’d just been playing nine holes, and these fast and firm courses, made it a lot more challenging,”

Champions Richard Macafee and Catherine Palmer 

The handicap section was a close contest between Golf Society members with Justin Ryan on 154 edging out Mango Maguire on 155.

Handicap winner Justin Ryan with Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland

The inaugural Asia Pacific Hickory Championship, sponsored by the US’s Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG) was played in conjunction with the Australian event, with Richard and Catherine are now also the Asia Pacific Hickory Champions. Australia won the Teams event.

SoHG’s President Joe Hollerbach sent a congratulatory message and his summary “may your hickory golf journeys be filled with continued joy, camaraderie and excellence” really summed up the occasion.

Most of the Internationals struggled a little with the close-cut fairways and firm fast greens, but all had terrific experiences. Off course they visited Australia’s best shop for hickories at Ormond hosted by the owner, Ross Baker, the most knowledgeable person in Australia on hickories. The Japanese contingent went mad and most bought a couple of sets, seems they can’t get originals in Japan only replicas. The Kiwi’s secured some Australian clubs – they claim they were returning them home as like many things originated in New Zealand… a standing joke!!

The week marked another successful event organised by Australian Golf Heritage Society and the Golf Society of Australia, alongside the Society of Hickory Golfers, who continue to celebrate golf’s origins and rich tradition.

Other photos

Foursomes group on first tee 

Above -Justin Ryan/Richard Macafee, Terry Thornton/Mike Clayton, Catherine Palmer (her caddie)/Mark Lawson

New Zealand Team

The Japanese Team

Below – Asia Pacific Hickory Champions Catherine Palmer, Richard Macafee with James Sutherland

More photos from the event can be found in the Gallery section.


Golf Historians forum – Monday 20 November Latrobe GC

By Events, 2023 No Comments

Latrobe Golf Club is one of three Melbourne clubs celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023, and a group of GSA members and guests enjoyed a fascinating history forum at its Alphington clubhouse in late November.

The club has updated its history book  ‘Riverside Masterstroke’

Thanks to the hard work of club members Paul Robinson, June Senyard, Brendan Mathews and the late and much-missed Murray Cropley. These four dedicated members added to the earlier history written by former champion player and member Garry Mansfield.

Those at the forum heard the fascinating story of how the club has developed on a 19th century estate once known as ‘Lucerne Farm’

established by early settler Thomas Wills. A grand oak tree planted in 1842 by daughter Kate Wills still spreads its stately boughs beside the 7th green. Known as the Noble Oak, it is the club’s emblem.


Brendan Mathews and Paul Robinson told the forum guests about Latrobe’s evolution from buying a 9-hole public golf course on the old estate, expanding to 18 holes and even developing a 5-hole short course called ‘The Island’ on land surrounded by a loop of the Yarra River between Latrobe and neighbouring Green Acres GC. It opened just a year ago.


They pointed out the site at the top of the clubhouse carpark of the rundown Lucerne mansion which was demolished by Whelan The Wrecker in the 1960s. They proudly described the clubhouse as a social melting pot popular with sporting and racing identities. One former member was a noted SP bookie, and there is a theory that the Great Bookie Robbery might have been hatched in the front bar by shady characters overhearing talk of large amounts of bookies’ cash at the Victoria Club.


GSA member Peter Stickley was a special guest at the forum, and told of being a young assistant pro at Latrobe in 1958-59 under club pro Stan MacGeorge. Stickley used to ride his bike to work from Balwyn to Alphington and had fond memories of his kindly boss. Peter brought a group of historic clubs to display at the forum and explained how he restores old hickory and steel implements. He also donated to Latrobe a left-handed driver stamped with Stan MacGeorge’s name.

After the forum, 10 players enjoyed 9 holes of hickory golf around the picturesque front nine.


Peter Stickley joined the hickory group.


The Noble Oak tree       

Brendan Mathews and Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson with Secretary Stella Cugley and President Kim Hastie

Doug Bachli Trophy and AGM – Monday 13 November 2023

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Annual Meeting Day report – November 13th at Victoria Golf Club.

The day began with players competing for the Doug Bachli Trophy, named in honour of the founding president and life member of the Society and champion amateur golfer.

30 players teed off in delightful afternoon weather, although increasing winds and firm, sanded greens challenged the field. The Trophy (and men’s winner) went to Justin Ryan with 36 points. Men’s runner-up was Andrew Clifford. Women’s winner was Wendy Pullar, with Jenny Picking runner-up.

The AGM was attended by 31 members and saw some changes in the committee personnel. Morag North retired after serving the maximum of 6 years on committee, and President Kim Hastie and all members thanked Morag for all her untiring work. Ian Rowell also retired from committee after a number of years sharing his history skills. Grant Nicholson was elected to join the committee, and his expertise with the collection’s software Mosaic will be greatly appreciated.

The meeting also elected past president Graeme Ryan as a Life Member of the Society. Kim Hastie outlined Graeme’s achievements since joining the society in 2009, in particular his work with Golf Australia which has led to GA annually funding the collections curation work; forming strong relationships with golf history groups in other Australian states and internationally; and introducing a Young Member category to try to ensure the society’s longevity. He was elected unanimously as a life member, and Graeme thanked all for the significant honour. “I shall wear it with pride”

Following the meeting members enjoyed the traditional end of year Cocktail Party.

DBT winner Justin Ryan with President Kim Hastie

Womens winner Wendy Pullar

President Kim with Morag North

Dinner – Huntingdale Golf Club – Tuesday 26 September 2023

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Our guest speaker for our final dinner for the year was Melbourne based golf course photographer and GSA member Gary Lisbon.

Well known around the world for his photography…Gary has travelled for almost two decades capturing images of the world’s best golf courses for golf clubs and industry publications. Gary has visited and photographed over 685 courses in 26 countries (and counting) and his passion for the game is evident with his spectacular and enduring images. 

A 13-week trip in 2022 saw Gary visit and photograph 89 courses culminating in his just released “Great Golf Courses of the World” coffee table book. Gary spoke his spectacular journey, highlighting some of the other places he has visited and the successes and challenges of capturing images where weather is constantly changing. 

 Members and guests had thoroughly entertaining evening hearing from Gary whilst enjoying his many superb images of courses from all over the world.

                                    Please enjoy this report put together by John Trevorrow

Gary has photographed more than 685 courses in 26 countries, and many of his stunning images are the work of his camera drone, which he is licensed to fly in Australia, New Zealand and EU countries.

He revealed that the magic time of day for him is a 45-minute window each morning and evening when the sun is low in the sky and the softer light highlights the terrain and saturates the colours that all golfers know and love.

Gary has just produced a sumptuous new coffee table book ‘Great Golf Courses of the World’ after a 13-week trip through 89 golf courses in nine countries in the UK, Scandinavia, Europe, and other exotic places.

He showed many of the images as he told the back-story of capturing his beautiful images, including capturing the northern lights at midnight as they shimmered over Lofoten Links, a spectacular private golf course built on the coast of a remote peninsula in northern Norway.

Gary also quizzed the 68 people in the audience, which included Huntingdale’s president Malcolm Hutson and GM Alex McGillivray, by showing images from courses around the globe and asking who could name the venue. The well-travelled audience got all of them, except Norway’s faraway Lofoten Links.

This was the GSA’s third dinner for 2023, and the audience was also delighted to see Gary’s wonderful images of Royal Melbourne GC with the CBD towers in the background complete with hot air balloons, plus an aerial study of the 8th/10th green complex at Huntingdale.

The evening also had a delightful surprise element when relatives of Huntingdale legend Burtta Cheney MBE donated several items linked to the great champion golfer, administrator, teacher and inspiration to women golfers for generations. Her nephew David Cheney donated Burtta’s MBE medal and original MBE certificate signed by Queen Elizabeth, awarded in 1976 for services to the Australian and Victorian Ladies Golf Unions. David also donated Burtta’s Women’s Golf Victoria award of excellence bestowed in 2010 for her lifetime contribution to women’s golf in Victoria. Burtta was a founding member, life member and second president of the Golf Society, and these three precious items were donated to the GA/GSA heritage collection.

David Cheney also donated to Huntingdale GC an old Life Member board – which incorporated a framed mirror – bearing Burtta Cheney’s name from when she was the first and only Huntingdale associate to be honoured by her club as a life member, back in 1968. The board was found in a Melbourne antiques shop by a friend of David, and it is now back at the club where it belongs.

To see more of Gary Lisbon’s work, go to


Dinner guest speaker Gary Lisbon with President Kim Hastie

President Kim Hastie with David Cheney 

David Cheney with HGC President Malcolm Hutson

David Cheney with HGC President Malcolm Hutson


Art Exhibition – Andrew Thomson – The Art of Golf

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  The Art of Golf       Member Andrew Thomson invites you to an exhibition of his paintings with a golf theme 

                                    Date: Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September 2023

                                                            10 am ~ 6pm

                              Venue: Thomson Room, Australian Golf Centre 

                                                  Cheltenham Road, Cheltenham

For more details click the link below

20% of the proceeds of any sales will be donated to the Golf Society of Australia for the purpose of maintaining and upgrading its historical collection.