The inaugural meeting of the RAAF LAVERTON GOLF CLUB was held on 20th May 1965, chaired by Squadron Leader R Heathcote, Commanding Officer No 21 Squadron. Membership fees were 10 shillings per annum, the equivalent of $1.00. A motion was proposed and carried that Kooringal Golf Course would be the venue for all matches and that the Base Welfare Committee would pay green fees to Kooringal for a block of 12 players each Wednesday. The greens committee was instructed to pursue the development of the proposed layout of the course at RAAF LAVERTON.
Serious doubts were raised in April 1967 as to the feasibility of a golf course at RAAF LAVERTON with the main concerns being the lack of interest and support shown by club members. However, it was determined that since so much had been achieved over the previous 2 years, it was worthwhile persisting with the project.
By July 1968, 5 greens had been resurfaced, seeded and fertilised, 4 new greens were under construction, 2 fairways replanted, and 60 trees planted, flag poles, putting cups and sandboxes were purchased, donated or acquired. Water was available to each green, albeit via a 12mm pipeline. Despite the progress, the committee persisted in playing all competition golf at Kooringal.
The 1st official competition golf played at RAAF LAVERTON was in February 1970, a one off match between senior officers attending an industrial mobilisation course.
The course opened in mid-March 1971. Rapid progress was achieved on the course development in the Spring and early Summer months of 1971. 9 holes were now in play and work continued on tees and tree planting. Saturday and Wednesday competitions commenced in March 1972. Players assembled at the North Gate Guardhouse.
There was an urgent need for a functional clubhouse. The President informed the Committee on 14th July 1972, that approval had been granted for the relocation of Building 306 from No1 Aircraft Depot to become the 1st RLGC Clubhouse. The cost of relocating and re-blocking was to be met by Public Monies. The building was basically a shell but it was structurally sound. Refurbishment of the building was to be carried out by club members under the supervision of the Department of Works staff. Cost of the refurbishment was to be met by club funds. The Clubhouse was opened on 10th December 1973 by Group Captain Terry Bourke, MVO and Officer Commanding RAAF Laverton.
Other works completed during 1972-1973 included the construction of the “spoon drain”, regrading of the existing 1st, 2nd and 9th fairways and the deep ripping for the planting of tree lines bordering the 1st, 6th and 9th fairways. This work was funded by the Commonwealth.
In 1973, the Committee was advised that some of the greens and tees infringed the flight envelope of the East/West runway and would have to be removed. It was decided to seek approval to construct 3 new greens in the area south/east of the North gate (the existing 6th, 7th and 8th). Approval was granted, but the area was so heavily infested with thistle and other unknown weeds, it was decided to have the area cropped with oats or barley over the next 12 months so as get rid of the thistle and level the ground. The current 6th and 8th greens were constructed and came into play in February 1975. The 7th green was formed and seeded that autumn and came into play in February 1976.
A major development toward the end of 1974 was the abutment of an additional building to the clubhouse. This was the old Library (building 365) that became available when the School Of Radio complex was completed. The floor area of the Clubhouse was increased by 200%. This afforded the planning of a larger lounge, dance floor, office and shower/change rooms. All codes of football, cricket and baseball were popular on Base at that time and the Officer Commanding, Terry Bourke, envisaged an all ranks venue that he favoured calling the Sportsman’s Club. There were strong objections to this title by various non-sporting clubs and associations. In the interests of harmony and fairness, and since considerable public monies had been spent on the facility, the decision was made to call the complex the Base Community Centre, the management of which would be the responsibility of the RAAF Laverton Golf Club. The “Terry Bourke Trophy” for the Match play Champion perpetuates his name.
During 1976, course development continued with the planting of trees along the 7th and 8th fairways. A water line was laid from the 50mm main, which ran east/west along the northern boundary to the 7th green. Working bees were fairly well attended and the greens were regularly cored and fertilised. A cool-room was installed behind the bar, a barman was employed for Saturday trading and a Social committee was formed.
A major improvement to the Clubhouse and surrounds was the construction of the patio and awning, known as the “Hilton”. Previous to this, the area on front of the Clubhouse was at fairway level and during wet weather it became a quagmire.
1982/83 saw competition fields drop to as low as 30 starters in Saturday events. The situation was rapidly becoming untenable, the most stalwart of members were dropping off and the course suffered, despite the herculean efforts of the Committee and especially the Greens Committee members. Amendments to the Constitution were approved by the Officer Commanding to allow more civilians to join the club. The situation improved dramatically with the membership of people who brought with them skills in various trades and administrative abilities. Thankfully some of these members are still working diligently for the club today.
The development of the golf course over the past 47 years has resulted in a fine on-base recreational facility. In addition, the northern and eastern boundaries have been transformed from a thistle strewn swampy wasteland to an attractive landscape.
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