Brief History of the Olinda Golf Club
In the Beginning
There had been at least two previous versions of an Olinda Golf Club. A 9-hole course had been laid out by 1936 which fell into disuse during WW2.
In 1952, the course and club were revitalised and affiliation with the Victorian Golf League was effected in 1953.
That club disbanded in 1961.
Following a public meeting in 1968 a new version of the Club was formed and the course extended to 13 holes.
Affiliation with the VGL was renewed which led to pennant matches in the SE Zone being played. The Government Department
then responsible for the course at that time was the Forests Commission which entered into a lease with the fledgling club
which enabled it to build clubrooms, a task undertaken almost entirely on a voluntary basis by members.
In 1970, the course was extended to 18 holes: 5069 metres with a par of 68.
Jim and Pat Sanders were appointed to manage and maintain the course; after Jim’s death Pat continued the task until
her retirement in 1989. At some stage oversight passed to Parks Victoria.
The membership of the Club fluctuated considerably over the years; at its height, it had over 80 members, many of whom were
Ladies, Associates as they were called in earlier times. Olinda was one of the first clubs to admit women to full membership.
The club had exclusive rights to teeing off at 11 am on Saturdays – men off the 1st, Ladies off the 10th.
The clubhouse was a great asset with change rooms, kitchen, bar and roomy meeting area. Few other VGL clubs had comparable
Over a long period, Olinda had a proud record in recruiting and fostering the talents of Juniors. Two of them went on to be
professionals, another entered course maintenance, yet another made a career in golf merchandising and several played pennant
at a high level.
The signature event in the Club’s syllabus was the 36-hole King of the Mountain event played in November.
Beginning as an internal club competition in 1972, it became an invitational event in 1980 and began to attract sponsorship
from 1983. At its height in the late 90’s there were full fields of 120 and a shotgun start.
When Pat Sanders retired in 1989 Parks Victoria created a lease arrangement. Chris Henry was the first to take it up,
appointed Adam MacRae as the course’s first full-time professional and put a lot of effort into improvements.
The par was increased to 70 and the playing order of the holes altered to improve movement. There was a marked increase in
traffic through the course and a notable spirit of optimism. Sadly, it was to prove short-lived, but was the high point in
the history of the Olinda Golf Course.
Chris was to be followed by three further lessees, Adam by two professionals but the resources and commitment to the
course slowly decreased. The Club hung on, despite a deterioration in playing conditions, but by 2009 the VGL had reached a
point where it was intimated that pennant matches could no longer be held at Olinda. So, the very difficult decision was
made to relocate to Emerald, with the hope at first that it might be a temporary move. However, that was not to be.
Parks Victoria have since closed the course and announced that it will not be reinstated as a golfing venue.
Playing at Emerald Country and Golf Resort, sharing the facilities with the Emerald Golf Course was a valuable episode
in the Club’s history. Some members were lost because of the move, but others were gained. However, as we approached the
end of 2016, the owner, a Malaysian business man, announced that the course was no longer financially viable and he
intended to close it at the end of the year. Deja vue!
As the result of research and negotiations by some members of the Committee it was unanimously decided that the best
option for the continued existence of the Olinda Golf Club was to accept the offer of the Cardinia-Beaconhills management
and relocate once again. There is no question the OGC members are playing on a far better-maintained course and enjoying
facilities superior to what they had before. There is general agreement that it has been a positive step in the Club’s story.
The Olinda and Cardinia-Beaconhills committees believe this move is of benefit to both clubs and are already working
hard to support each other.