Course history

The following brief history of the club has been taken from the “History of Alexandra Golf Club” written for the centenary celebration in 2001.

“The golf club was established in 1901 when a small group of prominent local men gathered at the old Bendigo Hotel, we still play annually for the Bendigo Trophies. The gold rush some 40 years before had grown the population to the point where Alexandra was recognised as a municipality in 1867. In 1882 the first Alexandra bridge across the Clutha was built near the old punt site and this gave easier access to the town further promoting the town’s development.

The first course was a 9 hole links layout established just North of the town at the time in an area close to the cemetery reserve and running down toward Brandon Street. It was not necessary to construct artificial hazards because gravel pits, water races, rabbit warrens and lupins all contributed to the natural hazards! The course consisted of sandy, dry fairways with mainly weeds, tussock and lupins growing in the sand. Holes were of similar length to those used today but the course conditions and equipment used meant they played much longer, number 9 hole, “Racecourse” was 480 yards and a par 10!! Opening day on 30 May 1901 was played as a Medal and the best score on the day was 88-17-71, over nine holes.

The club moved to its second location at the top of Bridge Hill (the current “Old Golf Course road” area) in 1917. The new course, also of 9 holes, was developed on an area of land considered unsuitable for agricultural or pastoral purposes. The conditions proved just as challenging as those on the first course. Devoid of grass, the fairways consisted of scabweed and rock, the greens of rolled clay. In spite of this an interesting, and unique, golf course was established. Over the years much work was done by members and even depression era subsidised workers to create grassy greens, provide irrigation supply from various sources using ingenious methods and establishing rabbit proof fencing. The first hole in one recorded on this course was achieved by Miss N O’Kane, later a life member, in 1935. The club held its first tournaments in 1936. Two trophies still in existence today were donated in this decade – the McGrath Cup for the Single Knockout, and the Fenwick Memorial for the Mixed Foursome. Equipment and balls had significantly improved by these times and the first record round on the Bridge Hill course was by Ian Mclennan who recorded a 66 on the par 68 layout. Ian won a record number of eight Senior championships an achievement equalled by Nigel Hinton in 1999.

Popularity, player pressure, and unsuitable terrain for expansion on Bridge Hill forced the club to consider another move to the current 18 hole course location alongside the Alexandra/Clyde highway and this happened in the mid 1960s. The land was Domain Reserve and was made available to the golf club by the Alexandra Borough Council. Messrs GD Taylor, WF Pedofsky and EH Smith comprised the committee to design the layout of the eighteen holes. Once again many years of work by members commenced to complete the layout, implement irrigation (with numerous upgrades over the years) and plant the many trees we still enjoy today eventually turning a virtual wasteland into a green oasis. 1970 was another important year with the building of the present clubhouse starting. In 1974 club professional, John Roche, accepted the role of course developer and tabled a plan for a new layout introducing some new holes, changing the order some were played in and resiting some greens. The overall effect was to make the course more interesting and a still greater challenge

Development is far from finished. It is likely it never will be. But, without doubt, what has been put into this club’s third course has given its members a country course of quality that puts it among the best such courses in New Zealand.”¬†