The Lane Cove Golf course is located on 15 hectares of undulating land along Gore Creek, a tributary creek of the Lane Cove River, about 1.2 km south from the Lane Cove Shopping Centre. Lane Cove Bushland Park lies on the eastern boundary of the course which provides the unique bushland character to the fairways and greens.
The course has 9 full fairways plus 2 alternate greens and approaches for variety. It is a tight, challenging course (par 64 with a composite of par 3 and par 4 holes).
In the Beginning
Much of the area was impenetrable being overgrown with blackberries, lantana and noxious weeds.Whilst some have described the area as virgin bushland, it had been logged twice by timber mills since 1900, severely in the 1920s
The cliff face alongside the 7th fairway was created in the 1930s by the operation of a quarry. As a result most of the cliff was there before the Golf Course.
Part of the 1st fairway was a rubbish dump.
The existing workshop area adjacent to the Greenkeepers Cottage was an illegal panel beaters’ workshop, and remains of many car bodies are buried under the 7th fairway.
Adjacent to the 7th green were 2 tin huts in which large families lived – squatters’ huts from the depression with no connection to sewer, electricity or gas. Some internal walls were made of paper while external walls were just a single sheet of galvanised iron.
Much of the Iand north of Richardson Street was the original Osborne Park Dairy which was operated by the Turnbull family until the end of WW ll, when it was closed down by the State Government because it was too close to the City of Sydney.
In the 1930s a farmer from Reserve Road Artarmon used to drove his cattle up Whiting Street across the Pacific Highway and down Osborne Road to graze in the area.
Richardson St, McMahons Rd and Stevenson St had already been gazetted for housing. Much of the land had been subdivided and the the area laid ready for residential development.
The application to Council by the Golf Course Committee enabled Council to have the land rezoned, thereby preserving the area for future generations.
‘Since the closure of the Lane Cove Golf Course at Riverview, residents were forced to travel to other municipalities where courses were so crowded it was almost impossible to obtain a game at weekends’ (Lane Cove Advertiser, June 1960)
The Planning Process Begins
Mid 1955 – FIRST DISCUSSION – The possibility of building a golf course in the Osborne Park valley was discussed with Jim White during morning tea at the home of Alderman and Mrs Henningham.
16 September 1955 – FIRST PUBLIC MEETING – 45 people attended. A plan of a possible 9 hole course was displayed. A Steering Committee was formed and the plan was then submitted to Lane Cove Council.
6 February 1956 – LAND REZONING APPLICATION – Council met Committee, actively supported the proposal and applied to Cumberland County Council to have the area rezoned as open space. Council Engineers, Neville Cunningham and Jack Hartman were of great assistance at this time.
Early 1960 – LAND RELEASE – Sufficient land was released in the valley along River Road and up to First Avenue to enable a firm proposal. The proposal was supported by Council, and the Mayor agreed to chair a public meeting. Plans were prepared and displayed.
23 June 1960 – Lane Cove Advertiser’s front page article ‘A Golf Course for Lane Cove’ publicised the next week’s meeting.
30 June 1960 – SECOND PUBLIC MEETING – The Mayor, Alderman A.E. Griffith chaired a public meeting at Lane Cove Town Hall attended by over 200 people. lt was resolved to form The Lane Cove Country Club’ and a provisional club committee was elected with the Mayor as Patron.
2 September 1960 – 850 APPLICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP were received. Acceptances were closed due to limits. 458 names were accepted with over 200 on the waiting list.
12 December 1960 – THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF ‘LANE COVE COUNTRY CLUB’ was held at the Masonic Hall. Provisional members were signed up on payment of 5 shillings. Jim White was elected as President, and two Councillors, Arch McKinnon and Tim Cowell were elected as Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
April 1961 – COUNCIL APPROVED SUBMISSION IN PRINCIPLE FOR CONSTRUCTION of the Golf Course. The Shell Oil Company agreed to provide 1500 cubic yards of filling to be deposited on the site from its Gore Bay works.
May 1961 – ‘LANE COVE COUNTRY CLUB LTD’ was registered as a Company.
1961 – MEMBERS DEBENTURES ISSUED – 1st issue – both compulsory and voluntary Debentures. These were listed in the Balance Sheet 1963 – £11,625 – Unsecured Debentures
1961 – LANE COVE COUNCIL WON THE 1961.A.R.BLUETT MEMORIAL AWARD for the Shire Council that had achieved the greatest relative progress in the State. This included making 40 acres of Open Space available to Lane Cove Country Club for a golf course.
April 1962 – FIRST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING held. Social activities commenced with plans for golf, tennis, ten pin bowling, squash and cards.
September 1962 – LAND LEASE APPROVED by Government.
December 1962 – LAND LEASE SIGNED BY CLUB for 20 years – 1962 to 1982.
The early plan was for an 18 HOLE GOLF COURSE, with the second nine holes planned to be built north of River Road towards the Pacific Highway in Lane Cove Bushland Park. A later plan was for the second holes to be built south of River Road towards the harbour in Gore Creek Reserve. PIans were drawn up for both.
April 1963 – LAND LEASE FROM COUNCIL WAS FORMALLY HANDED OVER by Mayor Ald R.J. Brickhill at AGM.
APPROVAL TO COMMENCE FULL SCALE EARTHWORKS was given.
July 1963 – LIQUOR LICENCE was granted.
August 1963 – SKETCH PLANS FOR THE CLUBHOUSE were submitted and approved by Council.
September 1963 – The BOWLING GREEN CONTRACT was signed and construction commenced.
October 1963 – GOLF COURSE GRADING WAS COMPLETED and soil spread, greens were being formed, water services were installed and boundaries were being surveyed.
The Club Opens
25 July 1964 – THE CLUB HOUSE was opened by Mayor Ald Mrs M G Propsting.
287 Members, 237 Associates, 20 Juniors, 7 Cadets, – TOTAL 551.
August 1964 – THE FIRST PART OF THE GOLF COURSE was opened to members. A par 27 short course of the ‘pitch and put’ variety, built on an area south of Richardson Street, was opened by the President of the NSW Golf Association, Mr Les Graham.
1964 – The FIRST BOWLING GREEN was opened.
1 Jan 1965 – The GOLF COURSE WAS OPENED TO THE PUBLIC.
1965-66 COURSE BEAUTIFICATION included the planting of 400 trees and shrubs.
The FIRST CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP was held.
The SECOND BOWLING GREEN was completed.
13 May 1967 – THE NEW GOLF COURSE LAYOUT WAS OPENED by the President of NSW Golf Association, Mr Les Graham: a full t hole, par 32 golf course of 2,L40 yards, now extended as far as First Avenue.
1968 – WOMEN MEMBERS WERE ADMITTED AS FULL MEMBERS OF THE CLUB following change of the Constitution.
1972 – EXTENSION TO THE CLUBHOUSE – Women’s Golf purchased trophy cabinet.
May 1972 – Council decided against the application to extend the course to 18 holes into Gore Creek Valley.
1973 – 4th green damaged by disease – needing to be rebuilt.
Playing members – 753, Social members – 281, Total – 1034.
There was a major problem with the Richardson Street Bridge which had to be demolished for safety reasons.
Extensive Flooding resulted in closure of the Course for several periods.
Burst Sewer main below creek bed adjacent to 2nd tee severely polluted the lower part of the course. Health authorities closed the Course for 3 weeks.
New 4th Green was opened.
1977 – Drainage pipes were now in place between 8th and 9th fairways.
May 1983 – LANE COVE COUNCIL TOOK OVER MANAGEMENT OF THE GOLF COURSE.
Members were allocated ‘block playing times’ with payment of annual green fees to the Council.
The LEASE FOR CLUB HOUSE LAND was signed – 1983 to 2003.
1984 – BOWLS CLUB WAS DISBANDED with most members transferring to other local clubs.
1985 – TENNIS COURTS WERE COMPLETED AND OPENED.
1986 – Club improvements included the newly decorated Associates Room.
1987 – BBQ area was constructed with a totally new covered deck.
1989 – FIRST PRO-AM HELD – The 1989 ‘ABC-PREMIER TAXIS’ PRO-AM Tournament when Peter Jones won with a one-over-par 65. The Club donated $6,000 to Charity – to the Lorna Hodgkinson Sunshine Home.
1990 – The water hazard between 8th and 9th fairways was eliminated.
1993 – A NEW 20 YEAR LEASE was signed by Lane Cove Council and approved by the Government.
A special rebate was introduced for senior members 65 years of age with 20 years continuous membership.
Associates became Lady Golfers. ‘Course Rating’ was used instead of ‘Scratch’.
Mrs Nicolette Thorpe became the first Lady President of the Club.
1997 – Men and Women achieved equal status as playing members.
1999 – The 35 year anniversary of Club house was celebrated with a dinner and plaque unveiled by the Mayoress. There were now 535 Members including 200 Social members.
2001 – Members Room was converted into a restaurant.
2001 – Kit & Lucy Foo commenced ‘Kit’s on River Road’ restaurant.
The underground fairway watering system installation was commenced by Council -$220,000.
A wheel chair ramp and a safety rail were installed in the Club House.
2004 – Drought – hand watering by ground staff and volunteers. Drainage work was done.
The Club celebrated the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Club House.
Dennis & Josephine took over operation of the restaurant – ‘Reef Restaurant’.
2007 – The Club House foyer, kitchen and restaurant area were upgraded.
Jazz on Friday commenced.
2008 – A new 13th tee was constructed.
2009 – Competition Levy was introduced.
The new Handicapping system was introduced. Lane Cove Golf Course was rated in October 2010 and now also included a rated short course.
Kit & Lucy Foo opened ‘Fairway 9 Restaurant’.
Tony Larwood opened The Right Place’ BBQ on the deck at weekends.
11 Hole Golf Course: 9 fairways with 2 alternate greens and 2 alternate tees, played as 18 holes – par 64, 3632 metres
Information compiled by Graham Webster, 2012
CLOSE TO SYDNEY’S GPO
There’s a very special golf course
Built just fifty years ago
ln a suburb known as Lane Cove
Close to Sydney’s GPO
It was built by special people
Who were members of our Club
For they carved a public golf course
From a valley full of scrub
There was blackberry and privet
And lantana everywhere
With old car wrecks and rubbish dumps
And noxious weeds to spare
Yet these hardy souls undaunted
Set about the task at hand
And they built a public golf course
On this wild neglected land
So we celebrate their efforts
Looking back these fifty years
For the gift they gave to Lane Cove
Came from member volunteers
For today instead of houses
We’ve green open space on show
And a special public golf course
Close to Sydney’s GPO
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