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SALE GOLF CLUB
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History


 The Sale Golf Club, since late 1950, has been located on a gently undulating sand belt at Longford, ten kilometres to the south of Sale. The club was founded in 1900 at Wurruk, thus making it one of Victoria’s oldest clubs. It was affiliated with the V.G.A. possibly in 1902, but certainly by 1903.


William Pearson, local broad acre grandee, Member of Parliament, and golfing enthusiast, first offered the infant club land for a nine hole course on his property at Wurruk near Sale, and soon after, built an eighteen hole course surrounding his palatial home at nearby "Kilmany Park". He become the Club’s first president and remained as such until his early death in 1919.  Meanwhile, Sale Golf Club was allowed to use either course as required.

The Kilmany course’s yardage was 2916 out, 2541 in, a total of 5457 yards. Making this up were two par threes, eight par fours, five par fives and three par sixes! Par of the course was 81.


In 1907, the club moved nearer to Sale and onto leased lands, and played happily there until 1922 when the main property was bought by the Catholic Church for playing fields for nearby St. Patrick’s College . This made another move necessary, and the course was subsequently moved to the defunct Botanical Gardens area at the other end of Sale. And there it stayed until 1950 and the last move to Longford.


Sam Berriman designed this course, with the able assistance of our first curator Eric Horne. The original clubhouse was the existing farmhouse on what was previously farming land.   This was not really suitable as a clubhouse, but it had an inspiring backdrop of the district ranges, and a verdant lowland close by with myriad wildlife, including snakes of various colours and lengths.

Eric Horne in his first year, counted his score of kills at 177.


 The clubhouse soon showed its limitations to a rapidly growing club, and in 1969 Stuart Ashton, architect, was asked to call for tenders for a new one. Eventually a custom built one was opened on a new site in 1970. It had cost $103,000, and it has since served us nobly.


Sale Golf Club has had its fair share of notable personalities in its more than 100 years existence.


William Pearson deserves first mention. He was the undoubted godfather of the Club, providing it with his own private course when the Club’s was deluged by flood or uncontrollable weeds. At the same time, he was generous financially to it and played to a 16 handicap.


Lawyer, James Crofton Lee, president for a record breaking 33 years, is described in the 144 page club history thus: "He was the shining light of the club’s middle third of the twentieth century because of his charisma, his humanity, his devotion to the club both in Sale and in Victoria as a whole, his manifest skills in human relations, and his bountiful talents".


He had a wide circle of golfing friends like Bill Edgar, Tom and Peter Crow, Doug Bachli, Colin Campbell, Fred Morecroft, Alister Lyon, Colin Long, Ken Pritchard and Len and Margaret Murphy, and he was a most able administrator.


Very many other people have contributed largely to the club’s development, and so far, 23 Life Memberships have been awarded in the last 100 years - David Grant, Charles Lyon, Harriet Lyon, Alan Thomas, Crofton Lee, Frank Gaywood, Jack Horley, Ivan Fischer, Gwen Geddes, Claude Barbour, Bill Jennings OAM, Jack Darby, Edna Burgess, Ida Brown, Bill Cooper, John Hurst, Kevin Mackay, Paddy NcNaughton, Warren Telfer,  Patricia Crooke, Colin Maddock, Bill Wiggins and lady member Lorna Thexton.


The Champions:

The paramount and most captivating golfer in Sale from the 1920s to the early 1950s, was Alister Lyon. In 1928, age 19, he was elected to the Club’s General Committee, and soon after, to the Match Committee, the Greens Committee, and the Handicap Committee. His golf sparkled. In 1932, he won the Victorian Country Championship, the Gippsland Championship and the Club Championship, and he was then only 23.


Lyon was Club Captain for years, and for 12 years, Club Champion. He was also one of only three Sale Golf members to win both Country Week tennis and Country Week golf in the one year.


Then in 1965, a young Jack Darby exploded onto the golfing scene with his first championship. Further triumphs followed in 1969,70,71,72,76,77,78,79,80,81,82,83 and 84. Fourteen in all. No-one before or since has won so many at Sale and although golf clubs, balls and courses had improved dramatically from Lyon’s day, it is impossible to displace Darby’s eminence as our greatest golfer so far. Just one example, Jack has eagled our par 5 fifteenth, 97 times!


Peter Mogridge, with nine Club Championships, is third in our pantheon followed by Brian Cashman resting on 6 at present.


Ladies champions to date, have been Gwen Geddes and Marion Hibbins each with 12, and Ethel Tuckey, 11 and Joanne Ballinger, 8. However, in the year 2004, Joanne Ballinger, in winning the Ladies championship again, became the all time winner of the most championships for a lady member, 13 in all. It is possible that Joanne, in her early thirties, could go on to be the club's most prolific winner of club championships.