New Zealand's first 'Municipal' golf course 100 years old

30 October 2015

The Berhampore ‘municipal’ golf course in Wellington will be the focus of a festival to mark 100 years since it was built to cater for the ‘working class’ and provide a healthy sporting activity for people with consumption.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown practices her golf swing for the Berhampore municipal golf course centennial festival tomorrow.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown practices her golf swing for the Berhampore municipal golf course centennial festival tomorrow.

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To mark the occasion, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown will don a 1920s golfing outfit and try her hand at swinging a golf club.

Berhampore was the first municipal golf course in the country and is credited with popularising women’s golf in New Zealand.

“The course is kept in top condition by our own greenkeeper and provides community recreation at a low-cost,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

President of the Mornington Golf Club which runs club competition, Ray Tuffin, says the course is kept in great condition through a working partnership between the club and the Wellington City Council.

“Berhampore has the greatest views of any golf course in New Zealand,” says Ray.

“Membership has grown over the past five years and links with the former bowling club provide sports which cater for a wide cross section of the community including Olympic paraplegic competitors.

“The centre is a true community asset,” he says.

A Wellington Doctor, Robert Cameron, proposed the golf course as a cost-effective way of providing an activity to combat consumption which was an important health issue.

Funds were raised and council eventually built an eight-hole course and attracted controversy as the Wellington workers could only play on their one day-off which was Sunday when sports competition on council-owned fields was prohibited.

The issue was resolved following a case to the Supreme Court and Berhampore’s popularity resulted in the course being extended to a full 18 holes six years after being opened.