Historians Forum

Golf Historians Forum at Kyneton Golf Club Sunday 9 October

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Our third and final Golf Historians Forum on our program of events was held at Kyneton Golf Club on Sunday 9 October

We were fortunate to secure two speakers who have a strong connection to the club both shared their significant knowledge and gave insight into the club’s long and rich history.

John Trevorrow writes this short report with the full story to be in the next issue of The Long Game.

Kyneton Golf Club, founded in 1900, was the venue for the Golf Society’s final historians’ forum for 2022 on October 9th. Almost 30 GSA members and Kyneton members and residents gathered in the clubhouse to hear two deeply researched presentations.

Ronda Walker OAM, a local resident, historian and teacher who compiled the club’s centenary history in 2000, told of Kyneton GC’s beginnings in 1900 when a handful of local enthusiasts would hang their jackets on tree branches and play 9 holes along 2-1/2 miles of the verge of Three Chain Rd, then return playing 9 holes along the same road verge. Jam tins provided the cups.

In 1908 the club moved to a 9-hole course closer to town, before moving again in 1929 to an 18-hole course built on leased farmland. In 1949 the members bought the site of their current club and set about building the course with their own hands. Local pastoralists donated equipment, farmhands, machinery and seed.  The course was built in just 12 weeks through the passion and efforts of the local community.


The present Kyneton course was designed by noted golf architect Vern Morcom in late 1949. Researcher Toby Cumming, the author of a wonderful book detailing the life and work of Vern Morcom, spoke to the forum about the achievements of this remarkable man. Morcom, head greenkeeper at Kingston Heath for four decades, devoted his spare time to designing or re-modelling 90 Australian golf courses. Most are scattered across Victoria, and others are in South Australia, Tasmania and Perth. His influence on Australian golf is profound and not often recognised.

After the presentations, many of those present headed out to play 9 or 18 holes.

For a little more about the speakers click the link below …

Enjoy the photos ..hover over an individual image for caption

Golf Historians Forum at Metropolitan Golf Club Monday 8 August 2022

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Golf Historians report – Metropolitan Golf Club – Monday 8 August 2022

Metropolitan Golf Club was host to the second Golf Historians forum for the year

This forum was originally scheduled in 2020 but encountered several Covid 19 reschedules and postponements, and so it was with pleasure and relief to both the Committee and the speakers to finally go ahead on Monday 8TH August.

The well attended forum, held in the clubs Dining Room and with its wonderful views of the course members and guests, listened to a program featuring a series of presentations reflecting on Metropolitan’s significant achievements and activities across the past decade.

The 2018 ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf featured prominently, and in a nod to his success as Captain at the time of vying for World Cup Host Venue selection, Marcus Harty presented on a range of Club achievements including the construction and opening of the Clubhouse in 2013 and Golf Services Wing in 2016.

Marcus also spoke of a total irrigation system upgrade and to the numerous course and practice facility enhancements including the Grand Opening of the Brian Twite Coaching Pavilion, named in honour of Metropolitan Life Member and celebrated golf industry professional Brian Twite OAM.

Marcus touched on the challenges of strategic planning and the need for vigilant financial management, a Club’s pride in delivering on special projects and the pressures of hosting a tournament that attracts a global audience!

Second speaker on the program was Assistant Course Superintendent Andrew Anderson.

Andrew touched on the myriad of operations in the lead-up to and during the World Cup of Golf, and how the team of regular course staff and visiting staff worked in cooperation with the PGA Tour.

He us gave an insight into of the dramas of the rain-soaked days 2 and 3 and how the staff resurrected a flooded greenside bunker on Hole 12 even as play was beginning.

His talk was complimented with several images of the course and the team involved at tournament.

Former Metropolitan President and Captain Peter Lothian, Convenor of the Club’s Heritage & Historical Panel, provided an insight into the creation of unique history and memorabilia display and the Club’s archival activities. In his talk he made the reference to the importance of the clubs Foundation and significant funding it provided for the development of the much-admired history cabinet.

Peter included Moira Drew (Club Archivist) and Michael Bannenberg in this presentation as both were instrumental in the cabinet coming to life.

Michael’s creative genius is responsible for Metropolitan ‘s Australian Open Display, the main Heritage display cabinet, and the mural wall in the Brian Twite Coaching Pavilion, among other projects.

The final presenter on the program was Metropolitan member and Secretary Kim Hastie, speaking about her role as Co-Chair of the Volunteers at the World Cup of Golf in 2018, a role she shared with her sister Vicki Van der Venne also a Metropolitan member.

They had the responsibility of managing approximately 640 volunteers who came from across Australia, with approximately 200 hundred Metropolitan members volunteering across the four days.

Kim opened her talk with a brief timeline on how the club was selected for the World Cup of Golf and how they acquired the role to head up the volunteers.

She spoke about how leadership structure and team was developed and their leadup work which included multiple meetings and emails with Metropolitan club staff and PGA Tour staff.

Recalling some humorous stories, she touched on the many challenges the Volunteers with outdoor roles encountered due to the heavy rain, particularly on the Friday.

Kim provided a Power Point presentation with the many images she acquired during the tournament with some photos capturing the impact the weather had times

(The full slide show can be viewed below )

On display was a collection of items from the tournament, such as prints and flags signed by the winners Belgium and some items by all players, there was a collection of spectator and Volunteer ephemera and Cameron Smith’s caddy bib given to Kim and the club as a thank you from the PGA Tour.

Kim closed the forum thanking the presenters and the Metropolitan Golf Club for its generous hospitality ,making for an enjoyable couples of hours.

She also thanked the attendees, commenting how these forums provide a wonderful opportunity for members and guests to catch up and share history with likeminded friends and colleagues.

Kim Hastie  Honorary Secretary

Kim Hastie spoke about her role as Co-Chair of Volunteers and to compliment her presentation a Power Point slide show was put together. Open below

Historians report Commonwealth Golf Club -Monday 3 May

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The first Forum for the year was held at The Commonwealth Golf Club which, unfortunately for them, celebrated their Centenary in 2020. In recognition of this achievement the Club released a history titled ‘The First 100 Years’. The author, Charles Happell, was our guest speaker and provided thirty members and guests with an engrossing presentation of what he describes as the ‘colourful and vibrant’ history of the Club.
Aided by an unpublished document, written by noted historian Joseph Johnson, Happell delved into the characters and circumstances that make Commonwealth a unique Club. This uniqueness is perhaps best illustrated by the rejection of the overtures of one of the great ‘Golden Age’ architects Dr. Alister MacKenzie. The succinct note from the Club to MacKenzie declining his services is one for the ages.
That Commonwealth could reject such overtures and yet still boast a golf course of undoubted quality is without question due to the efforts of one man, Charles Lane. Lane was the dominant force in the Club and in 1926 he went on a self -funded six-month study tour where he spent time in the US with Walter Travis and in the UK with Harry Colt. No doubt he returned brimming with ideas and thus it is no surprise that the Club rejected the services of MacKenzie.
This was but one of the engrossing stories in the book that Charles spoke about. Further chapters that were touched upon dealt with other important figures such as Bill Edgar, Harry Williams, Eric Routley, Sloan Morpeth, Louise Briers, Rick Wines, Jarrod Lyle, Marc Leishman and others too many to mention.
Charles’ book is a worthy addition to the annals of Australian golfing histories and Commonwealth should be justifiably proud of it. Thank you to both Charles and the Heritage Committee of The Commonwealth Golf Club, led by its Chair Ian Pearce, for making their contribution to the first forum of the year such an interesting and insightful event.
Charles gave some insight into how such a book is produced, particularly in researching and verifying a club’s history, collating the photos, member stories and the importance of proof reading. He complimented his talk with a power point slide show.
Charles willingly took questions from the floor and his responses were assisted by members Virginia Gorrell, Ian Pearce, and Stephen Spargo.
The second speaker on the program was Paul Burgess, Woodlands GC member, long time GSA member and a regular contributor to forums. Paul gave an interesting talk about a misplaced trophy and how it found its way back to Woodlands Golf Club.
The following extracts are from Paul’s talk …
A couple of years ago a stranger arrived at the club to donate a baseless trophy in the form of an elegant silver cup inscribed Woodlands Golf Club City of Mordialloc
Coronation Cup Won by S.L-Anderson 12-5-1937
Presented by Cr Edwards Mayor
Exactly how he acquired it is unknown and regrettably his name and details were not recorded at the time.
It was decided to have a new base fitted and a local trophy maker was given the order to fit a new one so it could be displayed at the club.
Somehow the order was overlooked and forgotten about until recently when the cup was again returned to the club, but still without a base or stand.
The trophy has now been remounted courtesy of Mike Smith, a member with wood making skills who crafted a new base.
The earliest mention of the Coronation found to date in Victorian golfing circles was when Royal Melbourne Golf Club applied on the 8th of October 1936, to the Victorian Golf Association for two Coronation Medals.
Then in February 1937 the VGA asked its affiliated clubs to celebrate the coronation of King George VI suggesting they conduct special events on 8th May which was the Saturday preceding the Coronation scheduled for Wednesday, 12th May in London, England
It is worth noting no mention of medals has been found in newspaper golfing results reports.
Apparently not all clubs agreed to go along with the V.G.A. suggestion, though from the results in a Melbourne newspaper “The Herald” many metropolitan and country clubs did hold special Coronation Day competitions.
Commonwealth Golf Club responded positively to the V.G.A. declaring Coronation Day would be there opening day for the season and hosted a mid-week Open Scratch Event on Wednesday 12 May 1937.
Woodlands Golf Club responded even more patriotically by conducting a bogey handicap event for members with the prize being the “Coronation Cup”. It was the only trophy so named like that and records show Mr S. L. Anderson, off a handicap of 2, won it with a score of 3 up.
Mr Anderson joined the club as a junior two years previously and was obviously a handy golfer as in the same year was club champion.
Paul brought the trophy along for us to see and in a nice gesture , to acknowledge the reference made to Commonwealth GC and their Coronation event, he presented Ian Pearce with a framed account of the early beginnings of the Coronation Cup.

Historians Convenor – Tony Rule
Honorary Secretary – Kim Hastie