Brief History of the Olinda Golf Club
In the Beginning
There had been at least two previous manifestations and a Olinda 9-hole course laid out by 1936.
The original Olinda Golf Club was founded in 1952 with a nine hole layout scratched out of Forestry Land overlooking the Silvan Dam adjoining the Olinda Monbulk Road.
The original club joined the Victorian Golf League the following year and continued until it was disbanded in the 1961.
Re-estabishment, Expansion and Glory Days
The present Olinda Golf Club (OGC) grew out of a public meeting held at Olinda in 1968.The orignal nine hole course was extended to 13 holes in 1968.
The current club would rejoin the VGL in 1968 and be part of the South Eastern Zone which they would alternate hosting of one of the key VGL wide events between the club and Ringwood, Warrandyte and Yarra Valley.
Responsibility for the Olinda Course was in the hands of the Forests Commission which in 1969 signed a lease with the Club enabling it to build it's clubrooms, something which wasalmost entirely performed by the members themselves. Control of the course later passed from the Forest Commission to Parks Victoria.
In 1970, the layout was expanded to 18 holes of length 5069 meters with a par of 68.
The course was managed and maintained on behalf of Parks Victoria for many years by Jim and Pat Sanders, and after Jim's death by Pat.
At its height Olinda had a membership of about 80 with members playing off the 1st tee from 11.00am on Saturdays and the Associates (numbering in the teens) starting off on the 10th.
Later the Olinda Golf Club was one of the first golf clubs in Victoria to admit women to full membership.
When Mrs Sanders expressed a wish to retire, Parks devised a lease arrangement with her so that she would have something to sell and so provide for her retirement.
The first leesee was Chris Henry who appointed Adam MacRae as the first professional. Significant improvements were made to the course, with bunkers installed, the par raised from 68 to 70, and a serious attempt made to increase the traffic through the course.
It was to prove to be the high point of the Club's history.
The Olinda Golf Club maintained a great record in 1970, 80, 90's in fostering junior talent with (2) going on to professional ranks, (1) involved in course maintenance at a senior level, another making a career with Ray Drummond, several playing pennant and (1) reaching state representative level.
The Premier Event for the Club is the Annual King of the Mountain which began as a 36-hole club event in 1972. In 1980 invitations were issued to members of other clubs and in 1983 sponsorship was first sought. For several years it was played with a full field of 120 in a shot-gun start.
The course in later years changed the routing to improve flow. Originally the course was routed as:
Front - 1,2,3,4,15,16,5,6,7.
Back - 10,11,12,13,14,17,18,8,9.
The End of the Home Course
Subsequent lessees lacked the resources or interest to maintain the course and by 2009, during the last long drought, it had reached a level that led the VGL to withdraw permission for pennant matches to be played there.
That action drove the relocation of the Olinda Golf Club to the Emerald Golf & Country Resort in order to keep a golfing presence within the Dandenong Ranges, which has been called home for the last 7+ years.
Subsequent to the departure of the club, the Olinda Golf Course has since closed and Parks Victoria have recently suggested that it is unlikely to be ever reinstated as a Golf Course.
There are plans and projects for the precinct, these can be viewed from this site: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/olinda-golf-course/plans-and-projects/olinda-precinct-plan
Olinda at Emerald Country and Golf Resort
The seven year tenure at Emerald Country and Golf Resort commenced in 2009 with the club sharing the facilities with the Emerald Golf Club. Not as much of a mountain goat trail as the recently departed home course, Emerald Country Club was quite tough and challenging with a great mixture of holes, and it's own steep inclines.
The course was originally laid out in the 1920's as a country club for the city folk wanting to rest and relax in the Dandenong Ranges, with golf, tennis, lawn bowls and accomodation.
In 2014, the resort owner sub contracted to BSF Golf Facilities Management group to run and maintain the golf course. With full time greenskeeping staff and access to a range of golf maintenance equipment, it came apparent that the course's condition was improving markedly.
However OGC was advised in late November 2016, by the Resort owner that the Emerald Golf Course will be closed as of the 29th of December 2016 due to a breakdown in relations between him and BSF..
Olinda moving forward to Cardinia-Beaconhills
But out of the ashes of the EG&CR management decision arose an opportunity to move to a better facility.
Cardinia-Beaconhills Golf Links reached out to the Olinda Golf Club as the committee and in extension the membership wanted to keep the OGC entity intact.
As of the 3rd January 2017, the Olinda Golf Club will commence playing at it's new home at Cardinia-Beaconhills, primarily playing with 18 hole access rights to the Lakes 9 and the front nine of the Hills layout.
The Olinda and Cardinia-Beaconhills committees believe this move is of benefit to both clubs and are already working hard to support each other.