Players tee off for Inverell Anniversary Cup on Saturday

The Inverell Golf Club in 1956.
The Inverell Golf Club in 1956.

This Saturday, June 9, the men’s golfers will be playing a four-ball competition for the Anniversary Cup.

This was originally the Australia Day Anniversary Cup but because of a busy schedule at that time of year the cup is now set at a date close to the date of the formation of the club in 1907 – 111 years ago.

The game of Golf in Inverell had its early origins at the start of the 20th Century. Six holes were located on what is now Lion’s Park, along the banks of the Macintyre River. In May 1907, the Inverell Golf Club was founded, with election of the first office bearers.

A shed was erected close to the present entry gates of Lion’s Park to serve as a Clubhouse. The shed was subsequently removed to ‘Ryan’s Paddock’, the current location of the Golf Course. 

The Golf Club does not appear to have fared well during and after The Great War.

The reforming of the Golf Club was initiated in July 1925, when it was resolved to investigate a suitable location for the Golf Course. A subcommittee recommended the ‘Ryan’s Paddock’ site.

The official opening of the new course took place on 29th August 1925. The original site was already generally clear of excess trees and roughage, and members soon proceeded to clear excess grass, add sand to the greens, formed bunkers and tees, and from there the game progressed. The new site, the current bottom nine, was originally leased and later purchased in 1950.

In 1927 the Club made application to the Lands Department for permission to lease part of the current Top Nine, totalling 95 acres.

Kevin Hoyt.

Kevin Hoyt.

It was soon decided that the leased lands were not sufficient for a full nine holes, and negotiations were entered with the Pastures Protection Board and Bannockburn Shire for the acquisition of a further 21 acres. This formed the current 7th, 8th, 9th holes, as well as the present Clubhouse site. 

In 1936 the Club made alterations and additions to the basic Clubhouse. In 1950, mainly through voluntary labour of the Members, further additions were made, resulting in the first stage of the current Clubhouse.

A bar was built, and the Club was able to trade on special days, until the granting of a permanent license in 1960. The Committee in 1966 initiated the first stage of further drastic alterations, which culminated in the 1980 development of current facilities.

One of the most questionable moments of the Club’s history was the development of the ‘third nine’, around 1930. This is the land to the West of the current bottom nine. The third nine was proved too rocky and time consuming for sustainable use.

Between 1962 and 1966, the Club went about developing grass greens. This necessitated the installation of a water scheme, still operational today, to get much needed water to all greens.

The Club has received the services of many fine golf professionals over the years and has fostered the development of our own.

Mal Williams, Maurie Moses and his brother Warren, Sean Bath and his twin Mark Bath, Craig Baldwin, Jono Holder and Brett Drewitt have all come up through the junior ranks of the Inverell Golf Club and all have made their mark in the golfing world, with all but Jono reaching professional status. Mal and Sean have both served terms as pros at the Inverell Course.

Brett Drewitt has gone on and made it onto the PGA tour in America. He is the only local to have achieved that goal.

No history of the Inverell Golf Club would be complete without mentioning two of our finest Club Champions.

Liz Hobday has 18 Championships to her name, while Club stalwart John Coote has amassed 16. Both are still going strong, so it will be interesting to see how far their records can extend.

Others to stand out as club champions are, for the men, Barry Ratcliff (9) and Kevin Hoyt (11). For the women, Mary Mitchell (12) and Robyn Stieger (Watt) (13).

Also, worth noting was the talent of the Hoyt brothers. Doug, Kevin, Les, Jack and Col at one stage had a total handicap of 10. Kevin won 10 of his 11 championships in a row until his brother Doug picked one up.