What’s this? Golf in Tawa

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MIKE STEER

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.

The seven

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.

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