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The History of Kadina Golf Club. The First 100 Years by Brian Leibie


The game of golf was introduced into South Australia with the arrival of Sir James Ferguson, the Governor of the Colony of South Australia in 1869. Being both a Scot and an avid golfer he quickly surrounded himself with men of wealth and influence, to establish the first Adelaide Golf Club in June 1870.

This elite club (membership by invitation only) commenced as a 9 hole course in the East Parklands. It next took up land at Peterhead, also establishing a 9 hole course. It then moved to the North Adelaide Parklands, before amalgamation with the Glenelg Golf Club in 1896, retaining the name of Adelaide Golf Club.

The former course was taken over by the former members to become the Glenelg Golf Club.

Because other Golf Clubs were becoming established throughout the state, the time had come to gather them into an Associated recognised body. A meeting was called on August 1904 with the following clubs represented, Adelaide, Glenelg, North Adelaide (Associated Club), Strathalbyn, Beaumont, Oakbank, Kadina, McLaren Vale, Gawler, Hahndorf, Angaston & Kapunda.

Mr T Phillipson moved a motion, which was duly seconded, voted on and carried,  that the aforementioned Clubs be accepted as fully paid up Inaugural Members of what was to be known as “The South Australian Golf Association”.


Even though anecdotal evidence suggests that golf was played in Kadina in 1901, only documented evidence of the formation of a club will be accepted for historical records. Therefore the Club has accepted the undisputed records of The South Australian Golf Association of August 20th 1904 as our founding date.

The Club consisted of 20 members in 1904, with membership by invitation only then subjected to ballot. It was indeed an elite “Gentleman’s Club”. Possession of pecuniary assets or social standing was highly desirable.

The dress code was to be strictly adhered to, namely Tam o’ Shanter cap, Tweed or red coat, vest, collar & tie and knickerbockers.

The clubs were all wooden and handmade, with names such as “Baffy”, “Cleeks”, “Brassies” & “Spoons”. The golf balls were known as “Gutties” and had no dimples like the modern ball. No record of “Featheries” being used at Kadina has been found.

The first 9 hole course had 5 holes on the East Parklands and 4 on the West, totalling a distance of 2645 yards and was played twice. As cows were also agisted on the course the scrapes of red and beach sand had a fence erected around each one.

Players were required to carry their own “Smoothers”, being a T Piece made of wood, to make a smooth for their putt. When slag was introduced in 1925 each hole then had its own scraper/rake.

The game continued to be played throughout the war years, but membership exploded in the years following and the Club became more egalitarian, with players lauded more for their golfing ability, than the criteria set for membership in the early years.


Significant events in our history


1904 – First course of 9 holes. The Tee Box of No 1 & No 10 was situated a few metres in front of the present Ladies No 9 Tee Block.                 No Clubhouse. The old dog pound adjacent was the meeting place.

1925 – The first Clubhouse was built from a mining shed bought from the Wallaroo Mines Mining Company.

1925 – Another 9 holes opened. There was now 9 holes in the E ast and 9 holes in the West Parklands. Slag was introduced at this time.                 Kadina became the first 18 hole Golf Course on the Yorke Peninsula.

1926 – Ladies Golf Club formed with 56 members. Admitted to the Ladies Golf Union of Associates in 1930.

1929 – New Clubhouse built, on the existing site. It was described the the then President Dr S Holder as “the most prestigious Clubhouse               outside of Adelaide.” It cost 130 pounds to build.

1947 – A Huge influx of Returned Servicemen as Membership swelled and Pennant players vied for positions. Open Days all placed                       restrictions by way of handicap and all entries could not be accommodated. Diggers Day would fil the course to capacity for

            many years.

1961 – At A Special General Meeting of May 15 1961, it was moved to incorporate all the course in the West Parklands (existing course).             Vern Morcom, then recognised as oen of Australia top Golf Architects and designer of The Royal Adelaide Golf Course,

            accepted the commission and the “new course” was opened on April 10 1965.

1978 – At a Special General Meeting in April 1978 a motion to build a new Clubhouse was carried. It was complete in March 1979 at a                 cost of $51,312.

1998 – The motion to install a watering system for the course was adopted, with the first trench dug on February 21st 2000. Volunteers                   carried out the pipe laying and back filling. The project was completed in 2003.

2004 – Kadina Golf Club celebrates its Centenary and inauguration with the South Australian Golf Association with a 3 day programme of               golfing events. It culminated on Sunday August 22nd with the unveiling of the Centenary Cairn containing a time capsule of  

            historical and current events.


Excerpts from

“The History of Kadina Golf Club. The First 100 Years by Brian Leibie.”

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