Auckland Golf Club Established at Greenlane
The first golf course was developed at Greenlane, opposite the Ellerslie Racecourse and conveniently close to the railway line. A course was laid out and a clubhouse built between the station and the 10th hole. Following the custom at the time, holes had names, not numbers. The names of holes included included Forest, Gap Bull’s Run and Long Wall. It was deemed wise to purchase the land to secure tenure, therefore portions of the area were purchased. However, when it became known that Auckland Electric Tramway Co. intended to run a track through the course, the land was sold and the Auckland Golf Club had to find a new home.
Auckland Ladies Golf Club Formed (ALGC)
In June 1896, moves were made to establish a ladies golf club in Auckland. At the opening on 8 July 1896 it was decided that women could join as casual members and the rules were to be the same as the men’s R&A rules. In September 1897, the ladies approached the AGC with a request to share the men’s course at Greenlane. After the move to Middlemore, the two clubs AGC and ALGC continued to use the same course, but were very separate identities and committees. Proposals to merge the two clubs were initially made in the mid 1970’s and was the subject of debate for the next two decades. In 1992, an Amalgamation Committee was set up to discuss combining the two clubs. A constitution was approved and the amalgamation of the two clubs was celebrated at the Centennial in 1994.
Auckland Golf Club move to One Tree Hill
John Logan Campbell, Auckland Golf Club President in 1901, had bequeathed his One Tree Hill estate to the people of Auckland twenty years earlier. The Club was able to lease a portion of this domain for its new home and celebrated opening at One Tree Hill on 28 September 1901. The course was laid out for 18 holes, making use of natural features such as the amphitheatre. It was officially recognised as one of the country’s five championship venues in 1904, the others being Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Napier. A clubhouse designed by well known architect, Charles Arnold, was built on land bought on the side of One Tree Hill and four bedrooms for country members were included in the design. However, a golf course on a public domain was always going to present problems. Members complained that the public got in the way. Furthermore, the Cornwall Park Trustees and the One Tree Hill Domain Board made it clear that the arrangement was purely temporary.
Auckland Golf Club hosts the New Zealand Men's & Ladies' Championships
Auckland Golf Club Purchase Middlemore Land
As early as 1903, thoughts had turned to seeking a permanent home for the Club. Several sites were investigated. Some were unsuitable for being considered too distant, while others were too wet. In 1907, W. Colbeck suggested the purchase of 144 acres at Otahuhu. After a visit by nearly forty members, the decision was made to purchase the land. The land had been part of a large tract of land purchased from Maori in 1844 by Rev. William Fairburn of the Church Missionary Society. The land, which the Club now owns, was occupied by the Fairburn family until the 1890s when it was bought by George Thomson. The Thomson family had named the farm Middlemore, the name of the Club retained when the property was bought in 1909.
Opening of first 9 holes at Middlemore (AGC)
When the Club moved from One Tree Hill in 1909, the gentle north sloping ground was in contrast to the steep sides of Maungakiekie. Natural features such as the gullies, creeks and the Tamaki Stream, presented problems and obstacles for the course design since the area tended to become very wet in winter. The farm had gorse hedges and no trees and was also quiet exposed to winds. It was therefore decided to plan a new course. This was led by Club Professional, Fred Hood. Sheep were brought in to keep the grass down, and the maintenance staff created a 9 hole course in time for the opening on 2 April 1910. Another 9 holes were planned for the opening of the summer playing season. The open farmland at Middlemore required beautification and in 1910 the Scenery and Plantation Committee was appointed. Its first task was the planting of trees along the drive and the improvement of the Clubhouse grounds. In 1911 the Australian professional D.G. Souter was invited to advise on bunkering the course. The result was the adoption of a Hood design with Souter bunkering. Construction of raised tees was undertaken, and green and fairway improvements were made. The extensive drainage work did little to assist in making the course playable all year, especially in some areas.
Full 18 holes open at Middlemore (AGC)
The first nine holes had areas of rushes at 1st, 2nd, 4th and 9th. The gully fronting the 5th was rough and tidal which made it a severe test. The second nine was based over an unkempt stream and a one-shot 16th where King’s College’s swimming pool now stands. C.H. Redhead, a golf course architect with considerable experience of course design in England, was called on in 1924 to redesign the course. Redhead’s design incorporated bunkers with vertical banks that required more skill.
OTAHUHU GOLF CLUB ESTABLISHED
On 5 May 1924, The Grange Golf Club (originally known as Otahuhu Golf Club) was established. The Club began as a nine hole course on the Otahuhu Trotting Club property in Tennessee Avenue, Mangere East.In June 1924, a Clubhouse, fondly referred to as the “Old Iron Shed” was built at the Otahuhu Golf Club.
Major Tree Planting Works at Middlemore (AGC)
Lease of Great South Road (TGGC)
Otahuhu Golf Club leases 82 acres of land known as “The Grange” on Great South Road, Papatoetoe later buying the land. The land had not been very well farmed but it provided ideal land for a golf course. Two large gullies drained it from west into the bordering Tamaki River.
Continuation of Tree Planting at Middlemore (AGC)
After a decade of growth, it was found that the pine trees were causing shadow and dampness on the greens. As a result a campaign to thin the trees was undertaken in 1942 and the sale of timber proved a welcome addition to Club funds. The pines were replaced by other species and in 1947 along, 450 trees and shrubs were planted along the 18th boundary. To celebrate the golden jubilee in 1944 the Club President, H.P. Richmond, suggested planting native trees. This was also to be a memorial to members who had lost their lives in the war. After much discussion, a line of trees was planted along the south border of the entrance road with each tree bearing a plaque to commemorate a member killed in action.
Otahuhu Golf Club becomes known as "The Grange Golf Club"
Major course renovation works at the Grange
Officially known as "The Grange Golf Club"
The Grange Golf Club hosts the New Zealand Open
The New Zealand open won by Sir Bob Charles in 1920 was hosted by the Grange Golf Club.
Major Course Renovations at Middlemore (AGC)
Major alterations were undertaken in the 1970’s. Peter Thomson became course architect in 1975. His proposed alterations were intended to tighten up the course for the professional player, while having little effect on the average golfer. New bunkers were built on the 2nd and 3rd holes which encouraged greater accuracy with the longer drive.
First Air New Zealand/Shell Open held at The Grange Golf Club
The first Air New Zealand/Shell Open was held at the Grange in 1975, returning for three consecutive years between 1992 and 1993. This event attracted a high profile international field.
New Zealand Golf Centennial Tournament hosted at Auckland Golf Club
New Zealand Open Held at Auckland Golf Club
New Zealand Open Championship held at the Auckland Golf Club
Major Tree Works at Auckland Golf Club
By the late 1990’s most of the original pine trees and many of the eucalyptus trees at Middlemore had reached maturity and were becoming dangerous. A comprehensive report on plantings was commissioned and a plan for removal and renewal of trees was implemented. Members of the Auckland Golf Club and the Cornwall Park Trust Board donated new trees.
AUCKLAND GOLF CLUB CENTENARY
CENTENARY AND ROYAL GRANT FOR AUCKLAND GOLF CLUB
On 14 September 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II advised that henceforth the Club should be known as Royal Auckland Golf Club Incorporated. This special occasion for the Club was celebrated with a Black Tie Dinner in April 2011 with invited guests.
ROYAL AUCKLAND GOLF CLUB & THE GRANGE GOLF CLUB ENTER INTO AMALGAMATION AGREEMENT
On 16 February 2015 Royal Auckland Golf Club Incorporated and The Grange Golf Club Incorporated entered into the Amalgamation Agreement whereby, subject to fulfilment of various conditions precedent, the two clubs would form an amalgamated club. The Amalgamation Agreement had previously been approved and authorised by a requisite majority of members of both the Royal Auckland Golf Club Incorporated and The Grange Golf Club Incorporated at respective Special General Meetings on 18 November 2014.
ROYAL AUCKLAND GOLF CLUB & THE GRANGE GOLF CLUB ENTER INTO AMALGAMATION AGREEMENT
On 11 May 2015 the Amalgamation duly became operative. The Club has subsequently changed its name to Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club Incorporated. The overarching objective of the Amalgamation was to develop and establish for the long term the premier golf club and golfing facility within the Auckland region and comparable with the best metropolitan golf clubs in Australasia.In achieving the foregoing there are the further overarching objectives, as follows:
The Course – to develop a top quality golf course and practice facilities which meet the present and likely future needs of the members and which will provide enduring challenge and pleasure to golfers of all ages and talents (both men and women);
Membership – to ensure continuance of a strong sustainable and compatible membership (both men and women) with on-going inflows of new and younger members consistent with maintaining reasonable course access; and
Values – to ensure long term financial prudence and stability, first class governance and management and the due maintaining of unified and continuing club spirit and standards
New Amalgamated Club Flag Raised at Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club (RAGGC)
On 1 August 2017, the two Clubs fully integrate on the Middlemore property, ending, in their current form, a 93 year history for The Grange Golf Club and a 123 year history for Royal Auckland Golf Club. This marked a new and exciting era for the amalgamated Club, one that will ensure that it remains current and sustainable. The vision statement of the new entity states that the Royal Auckland and Grange Golf Club (RAGGC) will be “comparable with the best metropolitan clubs in Australasia”.
New Course Construction Commences
Aptly named, Project Legacy has been carried out in two phases, the first being the construction of the 13 holes on the Grange property, the bridges and clubhouse by end of 2019. Phase two will see the balance of the holes constructed on the Middlemore property, along with the driving range, all to be complete in early 2021. Construction of the new 27 hole Nicklaus Design golf course commenced in 2017. The layout will spread equally across the Grange and Middlemore properties, with two bridges linking the properties across the estuary, one for golfers arriving to the Clubhouse and another to ferry them across the estuary as they play the course. The club will also boast a brand-new Andrew Patterson designed clubhouse as well as a 300-metre driving range and short game practice facilities.