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One hundred years of golf in Geraldine

March 2007 marked one hundred years of golf in the Geraldine area when the Geraldine District Golf Club celebrated its centennial.

The club can trace its foundation to a meeting held in the town on March 20 1907.  This meeting was called by a small group of men interested in introducing the game to the district. There and then a committee was elected, a constitution and set of rules were agreed to and it was resolved to form a club, rent some land and begin playing the game.

The original site of the course was on some 32 acres of land on the Geraldine Downs and was leased after a Timaru professional golfer had inspected the site and reported on its suitability.  Rental of 50 pounds per annum was agreed and to offset this grazing rites were let for forty pounds per annum.

The records do not show when the first game of golf was played but the minutes of a meeting of the committee on 21 August record that the Temuka Golf club – also formed in 1907 - had written seeking to arrange a match. This was set for 31 August.

The club continued to play on its Downs links until the early 1930’s when some members expressed an interest in finding other land. On the Downs the ground was heavy and the links were often closed because of the wet underfoot conditions.

Finally, in 1934 it was decided to move and  74 acres of land on the present Orari Back Rd site were leased . The new nine hole course was officially opened by the then President, Mr G. N. Feilden on March 30 1935.

This photograph shows the clubhouse as it was in 1935.

After a competition amongst members the name “Denfield” was chosen for the course. Although the spelling is different, this was seen as a tribute to Mr Feilden who had played a major part in the move. View early card.

Unlike the Downs, the new site was stony and prone to drought but it was blessed with an ample water supply and before long a bore had been sunk at each green and a pump rotated around them to keep the grass growing.

Over the years the course was expanded until in November 1970 a full 18 hole layout was opened. With this development went the need to extend the irrigation system. This work was finally completed in 2006 when the last five fairways were converted to pop ups. The course now has a fully automatic computer controlled system to all fairways, tees and greens.

Of course golfers need facilities in which to relax after play so the clubhouse becomes an important part of the total set-up. From simple beginnings, the development of the clubhouse has progressed concurrently with that of the course until today the Club has a comfortable, well appointed facility capable of meeting the needs of the members.

Entranceway erected to mark the occasion of the club's centenary in March 2007