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Putt-in' on the Ritz

Date: November 06 2012


Lyn Mills

Someone will take me to task if I write that the Royal Canberra Golf Club celebrated its 50th birthday. Unless I explain that it is celebrating 50 years at Westbourne Woods, a necessary move because of the then imminent ''drowning'' of the 1926 course at the back of the Hotel Canberra to make way for the lake. Before that, it was located in Acton, adjacent to the racecourse, and, even earlier, the club apparently began in 1913 as a nine-hole course built by dedicated golfers in the now city centre soon after the naming of the city.

That old site at the back of the old Hotel Canberra is the reason I don't play golf, with unhappy memories of staggering around the course as a mini caddie for my father that for me seemed like an interminable waste of time. While today there's all manner of equipment to make caddying easy, the game is still not my idea of fun. For the fun, it's the partying, and the old days at the 1926 site is a veritable who's who of Canberra's early social scene with many fancy functions held there. The 50th anniversary brought members together for a dinner to celebrate being at Westbourne Woods, where the sun set on the magnificent course, making the vistas in all directions superb.

But I bet you don't know about the curtains. Patricia Ryan and her lady friends were the ones who brought in their sewing machines after getting the fabric from a local store after explaining they were desperate to make the new clubhouse secure from prying eyes. A working bee ensued and the clubhouse was all gussied up for the opening. Patricia and her husband William were the oldest RCGC members among the three generations of guests.

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