Club History
1928-1978

THE BEGINNING

On July 12, 1912, a meeting was held by seven aspiring golfers at the unremarkable premises of The National Bank in the small township of Cobram. Little did they know that this humble beginning would eventually lead to the magnificent Cobram-Barooga Golf Club Complex, catering to the requirements of a growing membership.

The Club’s first course was a 9-hole layout with a par of 45, spanning across the present Sale yards and adjoining commercial premises. However, the development of the township during the war years led to the Club going into recess, and upon reforming, a new site had to be found. Cox’s Paddock, now the Consolidated School, and Dr. Kennedy’s property, where a 4-hole course was situated, were used as temporary locations.

In 1925, a 9-hole course was laid out on the southwest of Murray Valley Highway, where Grant’s Poultry Farm now stands. The Club’s affairs were influenced by three keen golfers, George Grant, Ted Henderson, and Leo Kennedy, during this time. A golf professional was engaged to provide tuition to members, and the Club began searching for more suitable golf country.

The decision to move to the present site in Barooga, on the New South Wales side of the Murray River, was made at the Annual Meeting in 1926. While the present revenue potential of being located in New South Wales territory was not foreseen, the undulating and sandy country bordering the magnificent Murray River proved to be irresistible to golfers.

The aggressive committee of the day, led by George Grant, approached the District Surveyor in Wagga and Mr. Kilpatrick, M.L.A., to secure land for future use. Despite facing strong opposition, a special meeting was held on July 9, 1926, where it was decided to accept terms of tenure from the Lands Department and the New South Wales Police Department for two areas of land. The Police Paddock now occupies the area of the Club’s present 4th to 8th holes, and the Recreation Reserve, controlled by the Lands Department, is home to the 2nd, 3rd, and 9th holes.

In 1927, Mr. Leo Kennedy was elected President and later became the Club’s first Life Member. He led the Club to its current location in Barooga, just 12 months after taking office.

1928-1978 THE COURSE

On the 18th of April 1928, the Cobram-Barooga Golf Club held its first competition at the new 9-hole course in Barooga. Golf enthusiasts from neighboring clubs were in attendance for the opening of the course. However, since the clubhouse was not yet built, the first tee was located near the Barooga Football pavilion, which eventually became the 19th hole for some time. In order to improve the comfort of the pavilion, the Club donated 5 pounds on the condition that a wooden floor be immediately laid. The members were impressed with the potential offered by the adjoining country and at the Annual Meeting in 1929, unanimously decided to engage the services of Golf Architect, Mr. A. E. Findlay to design an additional 9-holes. The owner of Barooga Station, Mr. Boyd, cooperated with the Club and allowed them to use the “Barooga Paddock”, an area of land that extended from the boundary of the Police Paddock to the timbered edge of the river bends. The new layout made full use of the undulating country and remained almost unaltered until the Club moved from Barooga Station, after purchasing their own land about twenty years later.

COBRAM-BAROOGA

After the low-key operations of the war years, Bob Pullar, who had led the Club through these difficult times, embarked on an extensive membership drive. In 1948, due to the increased involvement of people from both sides of the river, the Club changed its name to The Cobram-Barooga Golf Club. This was also the year that Ossie Pickworth, who visited the Club twice, made his first appearance. The Club’s finances were healthy, and after serving a record twelve years as President, Bob Pullar resigned in 1950, and Mr. D. Y. Spence, a publican who recently moved to Cobram, took over. Dave Spence became the first of several new Club personalities over the next few years, as a new era opened in the Murray Valley.

The establishment of The Soldier Settlement Scheme in the area, which led to a substantial number of large holdings being subdivided into 150-acre dairy farms for the rehabilitation of returned servicemen, ushered in this new era. Along with their young wives and families, these men turned the dry wheat paddocks into green pastures and injected new life into the community. Seeking an outlet for their excess energy away from the farms, many of these returned men joined local sporting and civic organizations and made a significant contribution to the progress of the community. In 1953, Jim McCurdy joined the Committee, unaware of the impact he would make on the Club in the years to come.

Under Mr. Spence’s aggressive and determined leadership, the Committee was very active. Membership grew steadily, and additions to the Clubhouse, including a “Bar” area, were acquired. On Sundays, a brown “Humber Super Snipe” car carrying a “finer” would arrive at the Club, and Stan Johnson and the late Max George were always on hand to serve the “Good Cheer” to many a weary golfer and so help to drown the misery of a day spent in the rough.

At this time, the first of several unsuccessful attempts to purchase the Barooga Paddock was made. Mr. George Keach, the owner of Barooga Station, had been a generous landlord, but restrictive conditions of usage prevented the planting of trees or the carrying out of any earthworks. Although the course was always well maintained, and the Recreation Reserve and Police Paddock holes well-treed, the openness of the Barooga Paddock detracted somewhat from the overall course presentation.

In 1951, Andy O’Brien became the Club’s second Life Member before departing for Heathcote as Postmaster. He returned to Cobram several years later and quickly became involved in Club administration at Committee level until 1977.

LAND PURCHASE

In 1953, local solicitor Ken Evans joined Dave Spence on the Committee, where he played a key role in the development of Cobram and its Golf Club. Known as “Chesty,” he was heavily involved in the establishment of the Murray Goulburn Co-operative and the town’s first Housing Societies. He was also a progressive thinker when it came to the Golf Club and recognised the need for the Club to own more land. With this in mind, the Committee began searching for suitable land to purchase in 1953. They approached Mr. Trammie Quinane, who owned the property adjoining the northern boundary of the course. Although there was a strong push to move back to Victoria, the area owned by Mr. Pye, located on the north side of Yarrawonga Road, some 4 miles from Cobram, was deemed ideal golfing terrain. The decision to purchase 50 acres of Quinane’s property at £40 per acre was based solely on its merits as prime golfing land and the fact that it came with water rights. This area is now home to the second nine holes and the Club House. The Committee’s foresight and decision-making have contributed significantly to the Club’s success.

Was located to the right of what is now the 2nd Green (Old Course)

Now known as Bridges Barooga and the 16th Tee (Old Course)*

NEW COURSE

The Club wasted no time in getting into action to bring the new land into use as soon as possible, and in early 1955 they engaged Mr. Vern Morcom, the curator of Kingston Heath, to design a new layout using the existing holes where possible. While a few minor alterations were made, the current layout is largely the original design by Mr. Morcom. However, heavy capital expenditure for course development and equipment purchase left the Club with a £1,500 debit balance. The installation of the Club’s first poker machine on trial generated significant income, allowing the Club’s dream of watered fairways, grass greens, and a year-round golfing season to become a reality. Prior to the introduction of poker machines, Ken Evans successfully prepared and presented a case on behalf of the Club for a liquor license. Despite the Committee’s scepticism and the shortcomings of the Club’s facilities, “Chesty” was well prepared and keen, and the magistrate granted the license provided certain works were carried out by the Club. Today, obtaining a license under such circumstances would not have been possible.

*All above content generated by the Cobram Barooga Golf Club Jubilee 1978*

Cobram Barooga Golf Club Timeline