• History and Heritage

    The little known history of golf in Centennial Parklands

 

You may be surprised to learn that Centennial Parklands has been synonymous with the sport of golf for more than 130 years – and the oldest golf club in Australia was born here!

Moore Park was first proclaimed as a public park in 1866. A few years later a golf course was established there and the Australian Golf Club (which claims to be Australia’s oldest continually surviving golf club) was born. At that time there was no required number of holes for a golf course and there is no record of how many there were but ‘The Links’, so called, were situated East of Anzac Parade on the edge of what is now Centennial Park.

The course later became an impediment for the development of the surrounding roadways, and in fact a new roadway built bisected the course and it was eventually abandoned in 1895 (it is speculated that the construction of the new road was as a result of significant pressure from “lady bicyclists” of the day!).

The Club played at a newly created 11-hole course in Queens Park until its lease expired in 1898, upon which time they moved to their current location at Botany.

 

Golf returns to Moore Park

In the early 1900s, two Scottish brothers living in Sydney (Duncan and Charlie McMillan), loved golf so much that their devotion to golf actually caused considerable alarm amongst the local constabulary, who continually confiscated the brothers’ clubs for practicing in Moore Park!

The brothers’ dreams of creating their own golf course became a reality in 1913, when a nine hole course (known as Moore Park Municipal Golf Links), was laid under the guidance and design of golfing professional Carnegie Clark (winner of the first Australian PGA Championship in 1905, and three time winner of the Australian Open).

When it was officially opened in May that year, Moore Park Golf became the first public access golf course in NSW.

Carnegie Clark (centre) in 1905

Carnegie Clark (centre) in 1905

 

Not without its challenges!

Golf in Moore Park has not been straightforward throughout its history. Over the years, golfers have shared the course with cattle, horses, defence forces, a dogs home, rubbish tips and a garbage incinerator!

In the 1920s, the issue of ‘undesirables’ stealing golf balls off the course was soon addressed by the appointment of a mounted ranger and course detectives. Around the same time a concerted campaign stopped the initiative to drop bulk amounts of fruit, vegetables, offal and fish refuse on the course.

As a result of these challenges, by the 1920s the Moore Park course was the only golf course in Australia with its own dedicated mounted ranger!

An aerial of Moore Park Golf from the 1950s

An aerial of Moore Park Golf from the 1950s

 

Onward, upward

The course doubled in size to 18 holes in 1922 with the acquisition of land on the southern side of Dacey Avenue and, with that, Duncan McMillan and his dedicated band of golfers decided to formally constitute themselves as the Moore Park Golf Club.

The Golf House was soon after opened in 1926, and in 1937 a course architect was commissioned to completely re-construct the layout.

The Second World War intervened, and the project finally came to fruition in 1950. Moore Park Golf was transformed from a rather barren, sandy links to a parkland course, with the planting of hundreds of trees in strategic positions.

With transfer of land ownership in 1991 to Centennial Parklands, further investment was put into re-constructing the golf course and adding new buildings (including the driving range).

 

And still here for us all to enjoy today!

Moore Park Golf is one of the most popularly played public courses in Australia, and over 1.1 million balls are hit off the driving range every month!

Today the course is in magnificent condition and, as the closest public golf course to the Sydney CBD, is one of the best public golfing opportunities in Sydney.

 

 

Find more information

Information is available on the Moore Park Golf website, or by phoning (02) 9663 1064 or email info@mpgolf.com.au

 

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