Strathmore Golf Club celebrates 25 years

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Members past and present of the Strathmore Golf Club, who gathered for the 35th anniversary of the club owning its own land and golf course.

Members past and present of the Strathmore Golf Club celebrated 25 years of owning their own property at Huiroa with a nine-hole ambrose tournament and social evening, including a pot luck dinner.

While the course at Huiroa is 25 years old, the golf club itself has been active for much longer, with the first recorded AGM dating back to 1958.

Chris Wilmshurst (patron and life member) hitting the first ball at the official opening day, March 1, 1991. President J Cusdin is watching.
Chris Wilmshurst (patron and life member) hitting the first ball at the official opening day, March 1, 1991. President J Cusdin is watching.

According to the History of the Strathmore Golf Club published in 2008, the instigators were Peter and Belle Jury, who arrived in Makahu in the early 1950s after Peter retired from his job as a test pilot for National Airways.

The Jurys devised a small course of two or three golf holes on some land behind their new home, which grew into a nine-hole short course which became known as the Jury's Golf Links.

As word spread, their friends and neighbours began coming to play on the links and sometime around 1957 or 1958 the Jurys, along with neighbours Martin Ford Senior and John and Joyce Newson, decided to take up an offer from Ian Wood to develop golf links on his property, on the main road at Strathmore.

This land also supported the Strathmore Rugby Club at the time.

In 1961, the links became unplayable due to long grass and play was resumed at the Jury's Golf Links for the rest of that year's season. At the same time, Ian decided to sell his land, and the golf club had to look elsewhere for a home.

The owners of the nearby San Rosa farm, Joe and Ned Radich, gave permission for golf to be played on and near their farm airstrip. In 1962 nine holes were established.

In 1991, a special general meeting of the golf club was called, and members were told it was to be their last season at San Rosa, because a cowshed was to be built there. The club decided to form a steering group to look at purchasing land to build their own golf course.

A couple of months later, at a meeting held in the Huiroa Hall with 48 members, the club became an Incorporated Society to be able to move ahead with the land purchase plan.

Land on Makuri Road was purchasedfor $135,000 from Steve Mathews and a golf course began to be mapped out on it.

A diary kept during the first 100 days of work undertaken by members on the new course recorded that after 84 days members had worked a total of 64 days, doing 3022 hours of work "for no payment".

Many local businesses helped out by donating goods and services.

Now 25 years later, the hard work of those early members benefits all who use the course. Many present at the anniversary celebration had themselves been part of the efforts in making the course what it is today.

"It's a good club. We all get on with each other, come here, play some golf and have a good time and the views from the course are perfect,"club member Neil Smillie said.

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