The Winchelsea Golf Club was formed in 1933 and was first played as a nine hole sandscrape course. It was built on the original site of the Winchelsea Turf Club which was a prominent racing club in the 19th century. The grandstand, which has since been demolished, was used as the original clubhouse. This grandstand was situated on the Lauders Lane boundary opposite the winning post near the end of the fifth fairway.
A small clubhouse was built before the second world war and the building served as the local base for the Volunteer Air Observers Corp during the war and was manned 24 hours a day. The building has been added to over the years and today we have a comfortable clubhouse for the members after golf and for social activities. For the first 30 years golf was only played between March and September and the club went into recess over the summer. With the planting of trees, reticulation of water and other improvements over the years golf is now played year round.
The nine hole course was a sandscrape layout until 1989 when greens were planted. This came about after a severe storm where tonnes of topsoil blew off a potato paddock and covered the road between Winchelsea and Inverleigh. The road had to be cleared and the opportunity was seized to use the soil for the construction of greens. Although it was a great step forward for the club, the project had to be completed quickly and the greens were constructed in haste and were perhaps not as good as they could have been. However, a program of renovation and renewal of the greens are a project in progress and to date all greens have been replaced to a drought tolerant Wintergreen Couch grass. During the drought stage 4 water restrictions were introduced. This meant no watering at all. Six of our bent grass greens died in two weeks, this prompted the club to press ahead with the couch program which has been a great success. With the construction of a dam thanks to a State Government water grant, we have almost drought proofed the greens and we hope to spread this grass all over the course eventually.
Winchelsea Golf Club visits three clubs during the year, They are Birregurra, Another nine hole greens course; Inverleigh, an 18 hole sandscrape course and Beeac, a nine hole synthetic greens course. These days are wonderful grudge matches and long-time friendships have been forged due to these visits. Members eagerly look forward to all these visits and we play home one year and visit their club next.
Winchelsea Golf Club plays its open tournament over four days on the last week and weekend of May. The tournament plays for the Bert Coates Cup and was originally played for over 36 holes. It has since been reduced to 27 holes and the Bert Coates Cup (sometimes referred to as the Davis Cup because of its size), is still the trophy for the scratch winner.
Other tournaments throughout the year are the Hugh Robertson Shield. Hugh was a postmaster in Winchelsea and his father instituted the board in the clubhouse in honour of his son. Hugh has since passed away but in latter years he attended a couple of tournaments with his son Rodney to compete in the shield and present the winner on the day. Rodney continued the tradition after Hugh’s passing but sadly Rodney also passed away, a victim of cancer, a few years after Hugh. The committee has decided when this board is full that the tournament shall be renamed the Hugh and Rodney Robertson Memorial Shield.
The Opening of the Greens Perpetual Tournament was the brainchild of Bill Schroeter who thought of the ideal to celebrate every year the opening of the greens. He donated an honor-board for a mixed tournament to be played in March each year, the time the greens were first played on in 1990.
The Greg Drayton Memorial tournament is played in honor of Greg Drayton who was killed in an accident near Lorne while working with the Winchelsea Shire. He has not been with the club long but enjoyed the game and showed some promise. His parents presented the honor-board in his memory and the event is played close to the date of his birthday in early May each year.