".....it (Port Fairy) is the best value golf in the world - without question." Golf Australia
It was in 1903 that the fledgling V.G.A. in Melbourne first gave approval to Port Fairy, one of its 14 registered country clubs, to conduct an open tournament.
The history of the Port Fairy golf club dates back to April 1899 when moves to form the club were first introduced.
The Port Fairy Gazette of that year records that the mayor of Port Fairy, Cr P.Tennyson was the first president of the club. Although the club was formed in 1899 there was little golf played at the Southcombe park course until 1901. Golf was then played at that site in the township for over 50 years.
In 1956 the Lands dept agreed to lease to the golf club land adjacent to the ocean, about 5 kilometres East of Port Fairy, and a detailed survey was done to define the boundaries. In 1960 the final plans were completed and it was decided to form a nine-hole course on the flat ground at the new site.
In 1962 the greens were formed and sown, a greenkeeper was appointed, and the clubrooms were moved in 1963,and the new course was officially opened in May that year.
The course was extended to twelve holes in August 1973, and following clubhouse renovations, a liquor license was granted in 1979.
On Sunday October the 20th 1985 the club officially opened the 18 hole course, and since that date the course has been continually upgraded, with new and automatic watering systems, better equipment for course maintenance and a grounds staff of three under the supervision of the Curator John McIlroy.
Golf in general has enjoyed a large increase in popularity, worldwide over the last decade; locally this is reflected in an enormous growth in membership, together with a steady growth in revenue from visitors playing at Port Fairy.
To cater for the projected growth the committee commissioned Kevin Hartley of "Golf & Recreational Planners (Vic) Pty Ltd" to draw up a course improvement master plan for short and long term development of the course.
The greens committee used this plan as a basis for the final plan evoked through many hours of discussion and many hours spent walking the course, which was presented to the general committee for approval.
In a rearrangement of the course to take advantage of the brilliant overview of the coastline, three new holes were constructed; those who know the course will appreciate that these coastline views are unique to a golf course in Victoria.
The new holes were planned to take advantage of the coastline and add to the "links concept" by replacing other holes on the flat ground. This also added length and quality to the course.
The club constructed a "Pro-Shop" in 1998 and appointed Luke Higgins as the first resident professional.
Luke resigned in 2003 and moved to Camden in NSW and the Club appointed Mark Gooding the former professional from Royal Hobart Golf Club in his stead. Mark left the club in March 2007 to take up a position at Tea Tree Gully golf club, Adelaide.
Paul Smith who was previously Lonsdale Golf Club's professional was then appointed by the club in April 2007 and brings an extensive coaching background to the role.
Paul started his golf career at Cobram-Barooga on the Murray River, beginning his traineeship at 24 and finishing it at 26. He then secured an assistant professional role at The National Golf Club on the Mornington Peninsula in 1997, working his way through the ranks to become golf operations manager and a teaching professional. He left in 2002 for Lonsdale.
Paul will provide members and visitors with a large selection of golf equipment for purchase or hire, a wide range of merchandise, tuition at all levels and a fleet of quiet 'Club Cars' to assist those who prefer to take their golf at a more relaxing level.
To continue the improvements to the course, the committee selected Michael Clayton and Associates to oversee the future development of the course, and to provide the club with a practical plan to enhance the "Links" atmosphere and appearance at Port Fairy.
Back to top