A Brief History of
Port Fairy Golf Club
From the Swamp to the Dunes
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 then Curator Mr 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 Mr K.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.
This plan was used by the greens committee 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 the coastline views are almost 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 Mr Luke Higgins as the first resident professional. The club professional provides the members and visitors with a large selection of golf equipment for purchase or hire, and also has 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 has now selected Michael Clayton and Associates to oversee the future development, and to provide the club with a practical plan to enhance the “Links” atmosphere and appearance at Port Fairy.
Wind is a factor when you play golf at Port Fairy, and the choice of club varies from day to day, for example a 111 metre par 3 can be played on one day with a wedge and on another with a 4 iron, generally, however tees and greens have a measure of wind protection to keep the game comfortable, to quote Kevin Hartley " Golf at Port Fairy is typical of the great Scottish courses, such as St Andrews, Troon and Carnoustie. Golfers who have never had the experience of playing these courses should take the opportunity to visit the district for a unique experience."
You can be assured that all visitors to the Port Fairy club will receive a warm country welcome from the staff and members.
(*current Course Superintendent - Troy Richardson)