Founded in 1903 and celebrating our Centenary in 2003, Manly Golf Club is one of Sydney’s original foundation clubs, boasting a rich golf history, steeped in tradition. In a stunning location just a few blocks from Manly’s famous and iconic beaches, Manly Golf Club is a jewel in the crown of Sydney’s north shore.
Our manicured fairways have hosted Championships featuring many of golf’s immortals – in the 1971 NSW Open Jack Nicklaus laid claim to the course record with a brilliant round of 62, and in 1978 Greg Norman fired a fine 64.
In its more than 100 years’ existence, Manly’s 18 hole layout has undergone a number of physical changes to reflect new golf era designs, and ever improving golf product technologies – none more significant than the recently completed total course redevelopment with a masterplan prepared by internationally renowned golf course architects, Thomson Perrett.
This complete course redevelopment was first opened in July 2012, immediately receiving many accolades from within the golfing fraternity and now rated as a Group One golf course in Australia’s top 100.
From humble beginnings ….
When young Harris Woods brought a newly-acquired golf club to the family’s Fairlight home in 1901, he and his brother Cam started hitting golf balls in the fields surrounding Fairlight House. Their developing enthusiasm for the game led them to map out three golf holes, and then to suggest their friends George J Wilkinson and Arthur Hilliard join them.
Watched by bemused cows and curious neighbors, the four would play their golf with much laughter and occasional argument, using their own golf balls but sharing just the one club.
After a year or two the group had grown to 12 and they moved one mile north to Farrell’s paddock and continued to play regularly on what became a six-hole layout.
On 6 May 1903, the golfing group held a meeting to form an official club of 12 members and duly named themselves the Manly Golfers.
In November 1905, The Australian Golf Union accepted an application from the Manly Golfers to become affiliated and in May 1906 a meeting of the Manly Golfers determined to change their name to “The Manly Golf Club”.
It was agreed in August of 1906 that women be admitted to the playing membership of the Club, and in September that year 16 ladies were duly elected.
The two men now known as the club’s Founding Members, Dr Rowley Pope and his brother Norman Pope, acquired land to the west of Farrell’s paddock, and in May 1908 the first 18-hole layout on the present site was opened to much local fanfare.
A new clubhouse was designed and built by architect members Eric Apperly and Arthur Wright, opening in November 1924. Following numerous upgrades and renovations over the past century, this grand old original building still forms the central core of today’s clubhouse and is now regarded as one of Sydney’s finest and grandest examples of Georgian Mediterranean architecture.
Some of the greatest golfers to walk the Manly fairways were playing their finest golf in the years between the First and Second World Wars. They included Jim Ferrier, Eric Apperly, Harry Hattersley, Winifred Tregloan and Enid Clements. At this time, Manly Golf Club teams were enjoying great success in local inter-club competitions. Winning Manly Golf Club teams is another much-loved tradition that continues today.
In the years that followed to the turn of the century, membership numbers increased year to year. The club developed in all aspects, but especially in course improvements and organised social activities and special events. Manly continued to thrive under its long-held reputation of being a very welcoming and friendly club.
January 2003 marked Stage 1 of a further major refurbishment of the Clubhouse restoring much of its original Georgian, Mediterranean grandeur and unique heritage features.
Those early forefathers, linked in a passion for golf, could never have imagined that those first tentative games would lead to the flourishing club that is the Manly Golf Club of today