On 17th October 1967 at a meeting of the Beerwah Peachester R.S.L., the idea for the formation of a Golf Club was proposed and the motion for a feasibility study to be done was moved by Alan Free and seconded by Tony Baker-Finch. This study was carried out over the next 10 months culminating in a Public Meeting at the R.S.L. Hall on 30th August 1968 where those present were told that they had an option on a forestry lease of Wallum Country behind the R.S.L. Hall. As this land would require clearing and draining, it was proposed to clear 30-40 acres, sufficient for 9 holes.
It was then moved by Mr M. Foley that a Club be formed named “Beerwah and District Memorial Golf Club” and this was seconded by Mr R. Small. Mr Mike Ahern M.L.A. took the chair and the first committee was then elected with Mr Ahern as Patron, L.A. Baker-Finch President; A. Hartridge, Vice President; JL. Brown, Secretary; P. Turner, Treasurer; Committee – S.D. Stevens, A. Free, B. Dowling, L. Dawson and D. Fullerton.
lt was decided that membership fees be fixed at $15 per annum for Members and $8 per annum for Associates and that they be invited to pay a 2 year subscription in advance to provide working capital for the Club and such subscriptions would not terminate until 2 years after 9 holes became playable.
lt seemed an unsurmountable task to build a golf course in a virtual swamp and the fact that it was done was a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the early Members and Associates. In November, 1968 a greens committee was formed to facilitate construction of the course and a plan drawn up for 9 holes. Mr N. Grigor was responsible for clearing the course and Mr Evan Chellingsworth carried out the draining, both of which were done at minimum cost to the Club. In December 1968 there were 38 members and 18 associates.
The first Associates meeting was held on 14th February, 1969 when a committee was elected which consisted of:- President: T. Stirling, Vice President: Jan Brown, Secretary-Treasurer: J. Thistlewaite and Committee: H. Gowen, F. Bambling, V Shaw, J. Chellingsworth, J. Baker-Finch and D. Wimberley.
Many fund raising activities were undertaken in the ensuing months and years – dances, raffles, barbecues, wine and cheese tastings, street stalls, etc., but the project succeeded only because of the tireless work of the many volunteers who gave their time and machinery for long hours for the working bees.
Nine Captains of greens were appointed who arranged their own gangs and who were also responsible for the adjacent fairways, and by the end of 1969, all the fairways were grassed and most of the greens planted, drains were dug and tee mounds ready for planting. Pine trees were granted to define the fairways and a dam for irrigation was dug – money which was provided by some members as an interest free loan. In November 1969 Nomination Fees were set at $10 for members and $5 for associates. Opening day was 5th April 1970 when a 4BBB Stableford was played with trophies by E. & U. Willett, and the R.S.L hall was rented as a temporary Club House and from then on play continued each Sunday, Thursday was Associates day. The original No. 1 hole started near the R.S.L. Hall and crossed the present highway, then went to the green with a sharp dog leg right, while the original No. 9 (par 3) was cut off by the Highway.
During 1970 Main Roads Department resumed part of the old course near the R.S.L and a new par 3 (the then 4th & 16th) was built and the tee for the then 5th & 17th was relocated and these came into play in 1972. This loss of land was compensated for by the acquisition of another 30 acres on the southern side of the course from the Forestry Department and this was to be the site for the new Club House. Finance for the Club House, reticulation of water to the greens and tees and second hand machinery was raised by debentures and no difficulty was experienced in doing so.
The Club House was completed in May and the license granted on 14th May 1971. Sir Francis Nicklin opened the Club House on 21st August, 1971 and the then No. 10 became the starting hole. 156 players registered for the day.
The 1971 fixture book contained an advertisement by one of the Club’s first sponsors – E & U Willett. The 1971 Club Champion was Bill Broadfoot.
During the next few years working bees were held for maintenance and new work on the course and we graduated from a part-time greenkeeper to a full-time greenkeeper in 1975.
After several burglaries it was decided to purchase a house for removal for a caretaker, and this was done in 1977. The house, the same one in use today, was transported from Caloundra. Work also began on clearing land for 3 new holes and over the next few years a toilet block was built near the old 7th tee, the balcony and barbecue area was built, and an acoustic ceiling was installed in the Club House and by 1980 we had an all-weather road to the Club House. The 1980 Carnival Day was sponsored by Dunhill with cigarettes placed on all tables.
Between 1981 and 1983 further course improvements were undertaken. The large drains were graded and turfed, the fairways mould drained, the dam increased in size and all greens connected with automatic watering, also there was major work done on the new fairways. 1982 saw the first Zone Meeting of the Sunshine Coast & South Burnett District.
May 20th, 1984 saw the opening of the new holes by Don Cowie at an all-day carnival for Members and Associates. 1984 was a very big year for the Club as we received a grant from the Federal Government of $91,960 to extend the Club House and build 6 new holes. This was conditional on the Club raising $40,000 and employing carpenters from C.E.S. and 2 females to work on the course. This was very successful as evidenced by the beautiful Club House, the extensions to which were opened by Lady Bjelke Petersen on 26th April 1985. 1984 also saw the Government allow the Club to purchase the approximate 5 acres on which the Club House and Caretakers Cottage stand.
There is always room for improvement and work on improving the course continued. In 1988 a Special General Meeting approved a resolution to allow Associates to become Full Members.
In 1989 it was reported that some men were not conforming to the dress code by wearing sport socks and it wasn’t until October 1990 that there was an amendment to the dress code approving this form of dress. In February 1992 the committee approved the building of a new Pro Shop. This was opened in September 1993.
September 1992 saw the Club granted a license to operate Poker Machines. It also saw the official launch of the Ian Baker-Finch Junior Classic.
In August 1994 a fire in the Club House caused extensive damage making a major rebuild essential. 1994 was the year our current 5th hole opened. This replaced the old 7th which ran the length of Foley Street. Mr Patrick McGrath scored the first Hole-ln-One and won a trip for two to Sydney which was generously sponsored by John Gilchrist – AMP Agent. Club House repairs were completed in February 1995 with trading commencing on February 2nd and on 23rd June, at a special dinner in the Club House, the Hon. Neil Turner M.L.A. performed the official re-opening.
Meanwhile work continued outside, new tees for the 2nd, 8th and 9th holes and in February 1996 the new practice green was opened. 1997 saw changes to the 14th hole with a new tee and bunkers around the green. This work also improved the drainage around the green. 2011 and Beerwah Golf Club attains 43 years. Many thousands of man hours and dollars have gone into making the course what it is today, a credit to all those who have given of their time and expertise. We commend those whose foresight and hard work got this valuable community resource off the ground.
Publicity & Promotions Officer