Caravanning – Summer 2014-15 – Errata

In the Summer 2014-15 issue of Caravanning magazine, an article was published (p52) titled A Short History of Golf in Australia and described as being “By the Australian Golf Heritage Society”.

The Australian Golf Heritage Society (AGHS) did not write the article, did not sanction it, does not endorse it and had no knowledge of it until after it was published.

The Australian Golf Heritage Society is dedicated to accuracy in golf history. The reference given in Caravanning indicates that the writer based the article on a book published in 1982. Since then, new research based on primary source evidence has been carried out on early golf in Australia.

Ratho is promoted as a very old golf course and reference to the 1820s is stated in the article. Reliable evidence for this has never been published. If reliable evidence was ever discovered and published, The Australian Golf Heritage Society would be delighted. Meanwhile, the earliest reliable evidence of golf being played in Tasmania is about 1860 somewhere in the Bothwell district, probably on the Dennistoun estate. There is evidence of golf being played at Ratho informally in 1901. The Ratho golf course was formally opened in 1911, and the Bothwell Golf Club made its home at Ratho in 1912.This research was first published in June 2011. It has been extended and republished in the February 2015 issue of The Brassie, newsletter of The Australian Golf Heritage Society.

The mention of Flagstaff Gardens in Caravanning reflects the use of an out of date book as the reference source. There is now primary source evidence for golf being played in Sydney at Grose Farm on the 25th of May 1839, earlier than golf played near Flagstaff. Golf at Grose Farm in 1839 is therefore the earliest known golf in Australia. Evidence for this has been known to historians since 1976 and was brought to the attention of golf historians in 1992. AGHS members published extended research on the 1839 Grose Farm golfers in March 2014. A summary of this research and a lead to the full article was published in the February 2015 issue of The Brassie from this website. Grose Farm no longer exists as such and the land is today occupied by the University of Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Victoria Park. This material is also published separately under the History section of this website.

AGHS is always prepared to answer questions regarding golf history. Our History Sub-Committee can be contacted via the Contacts page on our website.