Penrith Golf Club - History
Leading players T.W.K. Waldron (Solicitor), J.B. O'Neill (Assistant Head Master Penrith School), Mr. Green (CPS), Mr. Fox (Manager, Bank of NSW), played on 9 sand greens, with jam tins for holes, greens were swept and flag sticks put in each Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon and holiday play only, No Sunday play whatsoever. The golf course was over a series of paddocks - no houses near greens. Hickory shaft clubs - Gutta Persha Balls - white cover full of elastic inside was the equipment of the era.
(This information obtained from Mr. Jack Burton of Lethbridge Street, Penrith who caddied for his teacher J.B. O'Neill at 3 pence per round)
The original club transferred to Glebe Place on the other side of the railway line to a property owned by the Church of England Trust about 1920.
Here, another 9 hole course was constructed with play again restricted to Saturday afternoons and holidays. A small tin shed was erected and the men paid one shilling or ten cents to play and the women provided the afternoon tea, which was served in the shed. One of the original Secretaries was Mr. Bert Ahearn followed by Mr. Bert Field and then Mr. Norman Peek, (the Head Master of Penrith High School).
A few years before the 2nd World War, another club formed at Thornton Hall - 9 holes with the end of the fairways, which became the green.
The formation of the new club heralded the beginning of the end for the Penrith Club - many members transferring as Sunday play was allowed. About the same time the members of both clubs held a meeting to endeavour to purchase the present site of Jamison Park for four hundred pounds or eight hundred dollars, but as a lot of members and associates lived in Lemongrove it was considered too far to walk and the scheme fell through.
About 1938 a few of the Penrith Club played for 2 or 3 Sundays and there was such an outcry from parishioners and they were subsequently stopped and that was the end of the club.
THORNTON HALL prospered as a result and continued to operate as the main golf club in Penrith until taken over by the army during World War II. Just a few years before the commencement of World War II, the late Mr. Leo Buring, having returned from a world tour and realising the possibilities of golf in the Penrith district commenced the construction of the Leonay Country Club. The club did not function except for an occasional charity day during the period of the war.
The Nepean District Golf Association (NDGA) was formed, mainly by the efforts of Dr. Jones of Campbelltown and Mr. Keith Fowler of Wallacia.
Golf Clubs of the NDGA comprised of Richmond, Thornton Hall, Glenmore, Wallacia, Campbelltown, Camden, Picton, Liverpool and Ashlar (then known as St. Andrews).
After the war ended and life began to be normal, Mr. Leo Buring, who was very friendly with Mr. Alan Hodgson and Mr. Bruce Spence, approached them to try and start golf again in Penrith at Leonay and as Thornton Hall was still occupied by the Army, Leonay was the only course available.
Subsequently, a meeting of golfers was held at Tattersalls Hotel and it was decided to call a Public Meeting of golfers to be held in the Penrith School of Arts. This meeting was chaired by Mr. Alan Hodgson and Leonay Golf Club was formed with Mr. Bruce Spence as the club's first Captain with a membership fee of five pounds or ten dollars per annum.
Mr. Buring agreed to lease the original club ground, clubhouse, machinery and equipment for two hundred and fifty pounds or five hundred dollars per year.
A 9 Hole Course was soon in the process of construction, the work being done by the members using the machinery and equipment available.
The old Leonay Country Club had gained admission to the Nepean Association about 1939 and when the new club was formed they became members of the Blue Mountains Golf Association. The club grew from strength to strength winning 9 A Grade Pennants called the Coote Shield in ten years between 1954 and 1964.
With the death of Mr. Leo Buring in 1962, the whole area was purchased by developers and it was then the club purchased the land they still hold in The Northern Road, Penrith.
A new clubhouse and championship golf course was constructed on the site at The Northern Road, Penrith where it remains today and was officially opened by Mr. Dan Dwyer, the President of the New South Wales Golf Association on the 19th December, 1964. The innaugural Club President was Mr. Ron Barrett and the Club Captain was Mr. Dick Bamford.
The golf course was designed by Al Howard who is acknowledged as having designed many great golf courses in Australia.
The Club has hosted many prestigious events over the years with the most recent being the Australian Seniors PGA Championship (1996-2000) and the NSW Junior Boys Championship (2010).
The golf course has improved over the years with some new tees built allowing for the golf course to be extended in length to 6333m. The golf course features couch fairways and bent greens and is considered by many as the 'best in the west'. If you haven't played a round at Penrith Golf Club before, you are truly missing out!
A new clubhouse was built in 1997 and a carpark replaced on the site of the old clubhouse to accommodate the growing number of golfers and patrons with the development of Glenmore Park Estate fast encroaching on the course boundary.
The new clubhouse was officially opened by the club's resident Professional of 30 plus years, Mr. Graeme Abbott on 6th December, 1997