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One Of Australia’s Most Influential Golf Clubs

One of Australia’s most influential golf clubs began with an assembly of ‘golf mad cranks’ at the home of Marrickville Doctor Charles Adam Patrick in 1897. Now, more than a century later, it is a club with a host of traditions, the third-oldest in Sydney, and unique in that it has existed at three different sites.

Under its original name of Marrickville Golf Club, it was a 12-hole course amid what were then the estates and grand homes that dotted the hills of Tempe. One of these was the notorious ‘cliff hole’, which required a lofted iron shot to carry up the rocky face of a 15-metre cliff.

Membership at Tempe was restricted to men, of whom many were bookmakers, jockeys and hoteliers.


Subscriptions were all of 10/6, or just $1.05 a year.

The club moved to a new site at Arncliffe in 1907, also prompting a change in name. Bonnie Doon was the title of the grazing property the club purchased – land included in Cook’s original charter of Botany Bay – and that was the name chosen by a majority of members.

Now the club boasted an 18-hole course and a grand homestead for its clubhouse. The membership was opened up, and even ladies were allowed to play – with certain restrictions.

Following World War II, expansion plans for Mascot aerodrome included land occupied by 13 of Bonnie Doon’s 18 holes.

Members again picked up their clubs, this time moving to the present site at Pagewood. Taking over the much younger New Metropolitan Golf Club in 1947, Bonnie Doon’s 850 members now played on a pure links-style course of wide fairways and natural hazards, carved out of sandy heath and banksia scrub.

In the years since, the nature of the course has changed, the membership has grown and facilities have developed to bring the club up to Group One standard. But the character of ‘The Doon’ has remained – ‘first and foremost, a golfer’s club’.



Recent work on the new trophy cabinet has lead to the discovery of some historic trophies.
Tom Howard was Club Champion in 1913 then again continuously from 1915 to 1921. This run of form set a record at the time for 8 Club Championships (7 consecutive), the most won by one person in the Club’s history. Barry Baker was later to break this record with 10 wins to date, followed by Greg Bell, winning his 11th Club Championship in 2016.  In 1920, the Australian Open was played at The Australian GC which played host to 27 players for the tournament. Tom won the best Amateur trophy with a total 311 in fifth place behind the winner Joe Kirkwood (290) and the likes of Dan Soutar (295) and Fred Popplewell (302).
He kindly presented his trophy to his home club, Bonnie Doon GC. The next year (1921) saw Tom defeat Ivo Whitton, Eric Apperly and Eric Pope to win the NSW Amateur at Royal Sydney.  In January 1922, TE Howard left the amateur ranks and turned professional to take his first post as Club Professional at Concord GC. In August 1923, Tom finally succeeded at Royal Adelaide winning the Australian Open by 3 shots against a field including Ivo Whitton, Fred Popplewell and Eric Apperly.Tom’s record at The Australian Open is very impressive.




1920 Best Amateur (301) The Australian GC
1922 6th Royal Sydney GC
1923 Winner  (301) Royal Adelaide GC
1924 26th Royal Melbourne GC (Sandringham)
1925 2nd The Australian GC (by 2 stokes to Fred Popplewell)
1927 15th Royal Melbourne GC (Sandringham)
1929 7th Royal Adelaide GC
1930 8th Metropolitan GC
1931 8th The Australian GC
1932 11th Royal Adelaide GC
1933 5th Royal Melbourne GC (West)
1934 29th Royal Sydney GC

Thanks Tom, for leaving us with this trophy and another proud link to golfing history in Australia.