Established 1893 ~ Gisborne, New Zealand
It was on Friday, April 28, 1893 that the Herald reported on a meeting held the previous evening. "Golf is soon to be played in this district." The report listed all sixteen present. It was carried unanimously that a Golf Club be formed, and that it be called "The Poverty Bay Golf Club".
The members of the first Committee of the Poverty Bay Golf Club were:
They quickly obtained the permission of Captain William Henry Tucker, Mrs Heni Materoa Carroll and others to play over their properties at Waikanae. The newly formed Club was very fortunate to have had such supportive landowners.
The only available record of actual play commencing in 1893 comes from The Weekly Press of June 8 of that year, under Notes by Girdler:
“The recently formed Poverty Bay Golf Club held a general meeting the other day when a large number of new members were elected, and a code of rules adopted. It was decided that Wednesdays and Saturdays should be the regular days and it was unanimously agreed that ladies should be eligible for election as honorary members.”
Early in the following year The Poverty Bay Herald of Thursday March 15, 1894 reported:
“Our local golfers are beginning to show signs of returning activity. A meeting is called for next Monday, and the season will open at Easter. Everything looks promising for the success of the Club, as a number of new members are to be proposed at the meeting, and there will be far more players this year than last. The ground is being carefully attended to, and several improvements to the links have been devised that will add interest to the game.”
The first ever available account of a competition held by the Poverty Bay Golf Club comes from The Poverty Bay Herald on Wednesday 5th June 1895: “
The June competition under medal rules took place on Saturday last. Several of the usual competitors were unable to enter, and only nine took part in the match. Mr Bruce, who came out at the head of the list, established a course record of 93 or 87 net. The following were the scores: Mr Bruce 93-6-87, Mr G Hall 120-30-90, Mr Reynolds 114-18-96, Mr Nolan 142-45-97, Mr Cuthbert 114-12-102, Mr Morgan 142-40-102, Mr Mann 136-30-106, Mr H Bull 129-12-117, Mr EJ Chrisp 172-45-127.”
The first club championship was decided in 1895 and the first official ladies' competition was held in 1896. Gisborne landowner and golfing enthusiast, R.J. Reynolds, played a large part in the pioneering of golf in Gisborne and later provided free use of his paddocks between Elgin and Awapuni when the course was moved and re-opened as The Sandown Links in 1909.
As Gisborne grew and settlement encroached on the golf course new land was sought and in 1912 the right to use some of the land the present course is now on was was obtained from landowners.
From this beginning a links course was developed at Awapuni and officially opened in May of 1913. The course has evolved to the present day where it is highly-regarded as one of the best provincial golf courses in New Zealand.
The Poverty Bay Herald, 3rd May 1913:
“The golf season is being officially opened today upon the fine new links over which playing rights have been secured for a number of years. With the rapid increase of settlement around Gisborne, there was difficulty in securing suitable golf country, and the Poverty Bay Golf Club is fortunate in obtaining a playing ground so easily accessible as the new links will be when the tramway reaches Stanley Road.”