The Croydon Golf Club relocated to its new home in Yering in June 2008. The course combines a 27 hole Ross Watson designed championship golf course and a 15 hectare walnut plantation nestled in the magnificent Yarra Valley. A breif summary of the club’s beginings is detailed below.
By the end of the First World War, the suburb of Croydon was well established and a public meeting was held on the 6th March 1925 to determine initial interest in the formation of a golf club in the district. A committee was appointed to investigate the feasibility and they endorsed the need and set in motion plans for the purchase of land and a clubhouse.
At a meeting held on 28th August 1925 the formal decision was taken to form a golf club and to take up the option to purchase the land, which is still the site for the golf club today.
Initially in 1926 the course was nine holes and was based on the plan submitted to the Greens Committee by Mr. David Young the then Royal Melbourne professional. Within two years of the course opening work was undertaken to increase the number of holes to eighteen. Under the guidance of the Lilydale Shire Engineer, David Oliver, who was also a committeeman, the course was increased to fourteen holes and by playing four holes twice (the current tenth, thirteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth) competitions over eighteen holes were able to be conducted. The next stage was to add a further five holes (and close the original seventh hole) and the designer for these holes was Mr. Alex Russell. The new full course was first played in December 1932 with a length of 6,128 yards and a par of 73.
In 1968 a large dam was built on the course, three new holes were planned which would allow the fifteenth and sixteenth to become practice fairways. The design for these holes was done by the club manager Mr. George Norton with advice from Mr. Sloan Morpeth. Work on the new layout was completed during 1968 and 1969 with the VGA President Mr. A Brahe officially opening the new holes on the 15th February 1970.
A decision was made in October 1926 to construct a clubhouse at a cost not to exceed three hundred and fifty pounds. The site chosen for the clubhouse overlooked most of the course with great views of the hills and valleys. The position is so appropriate and attractive that, although the facilities have been greatly altered and extended over the years they are still situated in the same area. The clubhouse was first opened to members on 27 December 1926.
Croydon Golf Club first employed golf professionals in the thirties on a part time basis as they usually worked at sports stores during the week and only came out to the course on weekends and public holidays. Don Thompson was the second professional employed under these conditions but in 1935 he was fired for not turning up at the expected times. Des Ferguson was appointed in his place and he was not to retire until forty-three years later in 1978. However there were a couple of interruptions to this association with the club. One of these was Des’s war service but he resigned a couple of times when he disagreed with some of his employment conditions. John Davis followed Des until 1990 and Geoff George together with Michael Waghorn are the current resident Professionals. The long standing President of the club was JW Proud who served from 1945-1957. The longest serving Captain was EA Branchflower (1954-1960). The longest serving Associate President was E Daniell from 1927-1935 and the longest serving Lady Captain was G Westmore (1973-1977).
Cec Evans was elected club Secretary in 1942 and held office until 1961. He then became club Captain for four years and was elected a life member in 1956. Cec also won the club championship in 1938 and 1951. Cec was elected to the VGA council and served terms as Treasurer and President. At national level Cec was a member of the executive of the AGU for five years, President in 1977 and Australian delegate to World Amateur Golf Council and the Royal and Ancient Rules Committee. For his services to golf Cec was awarded the MBE in 1981.
Jack Westmore holds the most club championships with nine wins over a fifteen-year span from 1966 to 1980. Jim Barker won seven times (with six in a row) and Keith Arnott won six times in a row. Lyn Evans and Geoff Waghorn also won on five occasions. Aaron Baddeley, who joined the club as a twelve year old in 1993, won both the junior and club championship at the age of fourteen. 1999 was also a big year for Aaron, being a member of the club’s victorious Division 4 pennant side and becoming the youngest player to win the Australian Open Championship. Aaron was made a life member in 2000, the year he won his second Australian Open.
Croydon first fielded a pennant side prior to World War 2 and its most recent win was early 2008 when the club took out the Division 4 Pennant.
Much of the information in this article was taken from: The History of Croydon Golf Club “Pastures to Pars, A view over 75 years”, Ian Gatliff 2000.