Thursday, January 17, 2008

Australia's First Golf Club- A Cattle Paddock


For those who loath the sport, it's true meaning is spelled backwards (Flog), but Adelaide was home to probably Australia's first ever golf club that helped flag, not flog, the dismal spirits of the colony.

Thats a golf club in which to meet, not a golf club with which to whack a ball.

Now, when good old Sir James Fergusson set foot in South Oz to take up as Governor in 1869, it was to find the state in quite a state; it was bust. Too many bad seasons had seen bugger all crops, mineral and wool prices were in the toilet, unemployment was as common as a cold and the South Oz populace seemed hell bent on shifting to Victoria and NSW to better their lot in life.

Apart from his many duties to fix the mess he found, one idea was to introduce the frustrating game to Adelaide, probably to lift the spirits of the residents.

A course was laid out near the current-day Victoria Park Racecourse; with just 7 greens players had to waltz around the course twice for a full game, with not a bar to be sighted on the 19th.

And they had a hazard professional golfers don't have to contend with these days - cattle. A common practice was to let loose the cow of the house to graze in the parklands and, as no one thought to fence the course, the cows helped themselves to the juicy green grass there as well.
The by-product of juicy green grass digested by bovines was, no doubt, an added handicap.

With the departure of Sir James in 1875 interest in the strange game dissipated; the clubs were falling to bits from the harsh Aussie heat and repairs were costly and lengthy as they had to be shipped back to Scotland.
Not to mention the cattle had ruined the course with their hooves and by-products.

1892 saw the Adelaide Golf Club cranked into existence once more, playing on other parklands and by 1895 the working men were whacking a white ball about with as much enthusiasm as the wealthy players.

Fore !

More info HERE


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