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
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
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
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
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
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
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