What’s this? Golf in Tawa
It might be hard to imagine an 18-hole golf course in central Tawa, but from 1923 until 1929, you could tee off there. The Ranui Golf Club was the brainchild of Dunbar Sloane, of the well-known Wellington auction house family.
His vision was to establish a ‘‘sporting township’’ and develop tennis courts, bowling greens and croquet lawns, and encourage people to enjoy the trout fishing in the stream that ran through the property.
Opening day for the golf club was April 28, 1923.
The clubhouse was located at 26 Oxford St in Tawa, formerly the home of Tawa Flat pioneer Nathaniel Bartlett, who also endowed the land for Tawa Primary School.
The 18-hole course had a total length of about 5300 yards or 4850 metres.
The course centred on Oxford St from the primary school as far as the Grasslees Reserve. There were some rather challenging holes on the hills, which were eventually developed into Rewa Tce, Lyndhurst Rd, Roy St, Woodstock Tce and Lincoln Ave. Par for the course was 75. Only a handful of holes in one were accomplished in the club’s six years.
hill holes were notoriously difficult, especially on windy days, and the Evening Post referred to the ‘‘ colourful language’’ of golfers as they played them.
One particularly challenging hole on the flat was the ‘‘Devil’s Elbow’’, near the modern Tawa Station overbridge.
At that time there was a sharp bend in the stream and schoolboys used to find dozens of golf balls in the stream, as a result of errant shots.
The Ranui Golf Club was popular during its short life, but it always had the shadow of subdiv- ision hanging over it.
Though 1928 was the club’s most successful year, in March 1929 there was an unexpected announcement that the club was to close and members would transfer to the new Titahi Golf Club.
Much of the course became the land of Tawa Central Ltd’s subdivision, whose sole selling agent was Dunbar Sloane Ltd.
Bruce Murray, chairman of the Tawa Historical Society, said the society planned to publish the story of the Ranui Golf Cub next year.