The first official course was six-hole layout constructed at Kirton Point in 1915. The original course was extended to nine holes, covering an area now occupied by Kirton Point Primary School, the netball courts, Poole Oval and the old railway workshops.
This course was in use unit approximately 1927, and as further land was not available in the area, land was inspected and subsequently purchased at the present site. In total, 93 acres was procured at the princely sum of seven pounds ($14) per acre. Golf was played only six months a year over the winter season. Some time later an additional three-cornered block was purchased for thirty pounds (£30) to provide the plot of land currently occupied by the Port Lincoln Golf Club.
During the Second World War, a temporary nine-hole course was established at North Shields, as the Port Lincoln layout was cropped with barley to assist the war effort.
After the war golf returned permanently to Port Lincoln, and in 1947, the members of the day made a commitment to build an 18-hole layout with sand scrapes.
A major tree planting campaign was undertaken around the same time, however few survived due the ravages of rabbits or lack of water. The rabbits were eventually brought under control, however the latter problem was to be an ongoing impediment to the Club’s realising its full potential to this very day.
In 1965, bores were sunk and the first greens were planted. This initiative proved an outstanding success and the remaining greens were planted during the late sixties.
An 18-hole layout with grass greens was officially opened for play in 1968.
Major improvements were made to the layout of Port Lincoln Golf Club in 1991 under the watchful eye of renowned golf architect Murray Crafter. Several fairways were redesigned and three new greens were established.
The 1991 layout remains in play today, offering members and visitors alike, a delightful and challenging game of golf over a picturesque course of 5805 metres.
The original old wood and iron shed used as a clubhouse at Kirton Point was transported to the present site as a temporary measure only.
That small and dilapidated structure remained on site for many years, and some of the older club members can still be heard to reminisce about the old club and “the best of times”.
It was not until 1950 that a new clubhouse was built. Most of the work was completed by voluntary labour. The cost of topping the walls was completed for 120 pounds ($240) and members fitted the roof. Extensions were made in 1964, with bar facilities enlarged to improve efficiencies and a buggy room built under the club house floor.
Major extensions to the Club were undertaken in the eighties to accommodate a growing membership and to cater for an increasing number of weddings, seminars and social functions.
Port Lincoln Golf Club currently boasts a superb well equipped club house with magnificent views over the golf course and surrounding hill country – a far cry from that rickety old shed of wood and iron that served as the member’s social facility in 1930.
Supply of Water
Supply and delivery of adequate water supplies to enable acceptable playing conditions for year round golf has been one of Port Lincoln Golf Club’s biggest challenges – both in cost and effort. Over the decades, a large number of technical experts and water diviners have walked every square metre of the course in search for water. In the area of course management, water is by far and away the single biggest expenditure item in the Club’s annual budget.
At the time the greens were established in the sixties, two bores were sunk, producing enough bore water of suitable quality to maintain the greens and the surrounds. With the ever increasing demand on this finite underground water supply, the levels of salinity gradually increased to a point where the more fragile quality grasses that constitute the greens and surrounding aprons could no longer tolerate the rising salt content in the bore water.
After discussions with the regional office of the Engineering and Water Supply, permission was granted to use mains water supply on the eighteen greens, tee blocks and practice area.
This demanded the installation of an extensive underground system to deliver water supplies to tees and greens. A vast network of trenches needed to be dug, several kilometres of plastic pipes had to be glued together and water sprinklers installed around the 18 greens. As money was in similar short supply to the water it was to fund, much of the credit for this extensive new system was due to a voluntary and hardworking band of members who willingly took on this enormous task.
In 1987, the Greens Automatic Water Supply System was installed at Port Lincoln Golf Club at total cost of $64,000. Again, club finances were supplemented by the voluntary efforts of a willing band of club members who played a key role in the installation of pipes and sprinklers.
As a result of the detrimental effects of salinity on the greens, the use of bore water was restricted to the hardier fairway grasses.
The increased cost of these new watering practices on the Club was twofold:
Firstly, the additional cost of every megalitre of mains water used on the greens, and secondly, the extra cost of power for pumping water to greens and holding tanks. Collectively, this adds somewhere in excess of $30,000 to the Club’s operating costs each year.
Algae and sediment in the mains water holding tanks has proved to be an added complication, and roofing of two of the five holding tanks has been an additional cost to the Club’s water bill
In a recent initiative to supplement dwindling water supplies, the Club contracted to have three new bores drilled to a depth of 150m. Disappointingly, whilst this extremely expensive operation located limited volumes of underground water, it was not in sufficient supply to warrant the installation of the infrastructure needed to withdraw the water in commercial quantities.
The Club is also investigating the feasibility of building a large dam to capture the run-off water from its hilly terrain.
In 2007 with the help of Commonwealth funding, large tanks to collect water from clubhouse and sheds where installed and a dam built at the bottom of the practice fairway. When tanks are full water flows to the dam where it can be used to augment the mains water used to water the greens
Port Lincoln has a delightful Mediterranean climate, however is located in a marginal rainfall area (19.1 inches or 486mm per annum). Eyre Peninsula has a scarcity of surface water (rivers & lakes), and relies heavily on water supplies sourced from underground basins. Most of the annual rainfall falls in the winter and spring, creating a major challenge to present the Golf Course in playable condition during summer and autumn.
Without doubt, the cost, supply and management of water is the single biggest issue facing the Port Lincoln Golf Club over the next decade and beyond.
If the adequate supply of water is Port Lincoln Golf Club’s biggest challenge, the provision of an adequate fleet of properly maintained course equipment operated by a committed team of qualified field staff must surely run a close second.
The Club currently operates one Toro greens mower and one Toro frog mower. It also uses one ancient Toro mower (well beyond its use by date) for spraying chemicals and fertilising greens and surrounds. Both mowers are approaching the end of their effective operational lives, with a replacement value of $35,000 - $40,000.
A five-gang mower is used for mowing fairways, and a three-gang mower is utilised for mowing the rough, both towed by tractors. Similarly this equipment is fast approaching the end of its useful life, with a replacement value somewhere in the vicinity of $120,000 to $150,000.
Replacement of this vital course machinery is well overdue, however because of the significant capital costs involved, the Club has had to rely heavily upon the ingenuity and bush mechanical skills of the green-keeping staff to keep this antiquated equipment operating.