Traralgon Golf Club

Latrobe Valley's finest golfing experience

Princes Highway (PO Box 3)
Traralgon 3844
Victoria (AUSTRALIA)
Tel Clubhouse - 03 51741709 Pro Shop - 03 51742460
Fax 03 51741277

Brief History of Traralgon Golf Club

At a meeting on 18 October, 1904, the Traralgon Young People’s Society resolved to form a golf and tennis club for the daylight recreation of members.

Mr James Campbell of Traralgon Park allowed the use of part of that property and golf was played there until 1907. As with many courses, greens were fenced to keep cattle off and golf was played primarily in winter.

Perhaps the most influential member of the Traralgon Golf Club in its first 100 years was Mr W. M. Bruce, a local solicitor. He joined the Committee in 1906 and in 1907, he served the first of nine terms as President. In addition, he was captain on at least fifteen occasions. A great administrator, he was the first President of the Gippsland Golf Association.

With increased fencing on the course at Traralgon Park, the decision was taken to move to a course, south of the railway line in 1908. The 9 hole course was on private property of at least five land owners. One such property was Dalkeith, the home of W. M. Bruce. During tournaments, they allowed the use of the verandah of Dalkeith for afternoon tea.

Perhaps a measure of the quality of early courses was the fact that the second course was ready for play only five weeks after the decision was taken to relocate.

After early problems with greens, by 1914 the course was described as being in good condition. World War 1 caused a significant reduction in numbers with membership slumping to nineteen and the condition of the course suffered dramatically.

Possibly, it was this factor which led to the decision to approach the Railways with a view to leasing the land surrounding the railway reservoir. This enabled a move to that location in 1921 and subsequently, permission was given by some surrounding land owners for the use of their properties. This enabled, in 1923, the establishment of the first 18 hole golf course in Gippsland.

The condition of the Reservoir Course varied greatly. At times it was recognised as the best in Gippsland whilst at other times it was the subject of strong criticism. This led to a total redesign of the course in the 1930s.

By 1935-36 the nine holes in the Reservoir area were maintained during the summer and for the first time golf became available all year round.

Traralgon Golf Club and the East Gippsland Golf Association were at loggerheads in 1939 and the condition of the course was of much debate.

Whether this criticism was the catalyst is not known but certainly the Traralgon Golf Club decided at that time to purchase their own land, rather than lease. They were fortunate that a Traralgon South farmer, Jim Holden, sold them the land of the current site at a generous price of $32 per acre. He also donated Chester Park to the Traralgon Shire for recreational purposes.

Vern Morcom, who collaborated with the great course designer, Alastair MacKenzie on a number of Australian courses, was asked to design the course. It was opened in 1940 and primarily the layout has been retained. He had however included 34 bunkers in his design and this is a significant difference to the current course.

Course drainage was a significant problem with the course being unplayable at various times. After an extremely wet winter in 1989, major drainage works were undertaken on all fairways. Since that work was completed, the course has rarely been unplayable.

A major change in recent times has been the introduction of “bent” grass for the greens which are now considered to be very good. Currently, the grass on fairways is being converted to santa anna couch and it is expected this major task will be completed by 2010.

By that time the course should be in its very best condition.

As one of the early clubs in Gippsland, Traralgon Golf Club was a foundation member of the Gippsland Golf Association and was subsequently affiliated with East Gippsland. In 1958, the Victorian Golf Association granted approval for Traralgon to transfer to the west Gippsland Golf Association where the Club has remained since.

(Many thanks to Bruce Lawn who compiled this Brief History of Traralgon Golf Club)