Golf began in Nelson 111 years ago on a nine-hole course in Tahunanui about where the Kentucky Fried Chicken corner is today.This marked the birth of the Nelson Golf Club. Land was leased from an estate but in 1902 the land was put up for sale and subdivided. New links were established in 1905 and on April 29 that year play began.
Two years later a clubhouse was opened. The building still stands next to the tee block of the No. 2 hole and is operated as a bed and breakfast house. Play continues today on basically the same area although through the 20th century, particularly as a result of the Second World War, the shape of the course has changed considerably. Changes are continuing today.
Photographs from early years show women taking an active part in the club – at the opening of the first clubhouse in 1905 and at a farewell for members leaving for war service in 1914.
In 1912 the New Zealand Ladies Golf Championships were played at Nelson with club member and later long serving committee member Norman Rout caddying for the winner, Miss S.Collins. The championships returned to Nelson in 1923. The champion was Miss Vigor-Brown from Napier and runner-up Miss Watson from Manawatu.
After the war
The Second World War severely curtailed golf club activities. The Royal New Zealand Air Force took over most the course as an air base, but in 1945 the Club resumed activities on a nine-hole course. A new 18-hole layout was designed and brought into use over the next three years.
The Club bought the air force’s sergeants’ and officers’ mess building and sold the original club house. This put the clubhouse near the first and eighteenth holes. The former air force building was given a major makeover in 1972 and today’s clubhouse, behind the 18th green, was completed in December 1996.
Nelson has continued to attract national events;
- New Zealand Amateur Championships in 1975
- The Freyberg Rosebowl in 1979
- The Russell Grace in 1981
- South Island Amateur Championships in 1982
- New Zealand Women’s Championships in 1986
- The Tower tournament in 1993
- ANZ Women’s Interprovincial Championships in 1994
- Lion Foundation New Zealand Women’s Amateur Championships in 2002
- Freyberg Masters in 2007
- Toro New Zealand Women’s Interprovincials in 2008
- NZ Amateur Championships 2014
- NZ Men’s Senior Championships 2015
Nelson's transformation into a true links
From the air you get a good view of the Nelson Golf Club fairways. But what you won’t see as your plane descends to the airport that adjoins the golf club are many trees.
Hundreds have fallen to the chainsaw in a bold move designed to return Nelson to the seaside links layout it was when it opened in 1905 ….
Read more and download the full article here.
CREDIT: Geoff Moffat and The Cut Magazine NZ