On 2nd October 1939 a meeting of delegates from golf clubs affiliated to the New Zealand Council, within a radius of thirty miles from Wellington, was held in Nimmos Hall, Willis Street, Wellington with a view to forming the Wellington Golf Association.
It is of interest the move to form the Association was made at a time when New Zealand was standing beside Britain in the war against Germany, declared on 3rd September 1939.
A bold move in such troubled times in New Zealand’s history.
Twenty five delegates were present at the meeting representing the following clubs:-
Boulcott, Judgeford, Karori, Manor Park, Miramar, Mornington, Paremata, Pukerua Bay , Shandon, Taita, Tui Glen, Waiwhetu and Wellington. Mr P.J.Burke, representing Shandon, was elected to the Chair and Mr T.P Davis Secretary for the meeting.
When the motion “ That the Wellington Golf Association be formed “ was moved a number of delegates advised they had no power to vote on such a motion and the meeting was adjourned to 16 October when 27 representatives attended representing the following clubs:
Athletic, Boulcott, Hutt, Judgeford, Karori, Manor Park, Mornington, Paekakariki, Paremata, Pukerua Bay, Rangimarei, Shandon, Te Marua, Tui Glen, Waiwhetu.
Only eight of the eighteen clubs represented at the two meetings still operate to-day under their 1939 name.
The motion put to the meeting was changed to incorporate the word “ Metropolitan “ to read
“ That the Wellington Metropolitan Golf Association be formed “
The motion was lost 9 votes to 8. Prior to the meeting a suggested set of Rules had been distributed to the to the Clubs and while there was clearly a move to establish an Administrative body for Wellington Golf Clubs the delegates were very cautious about placing too much governance power in the hands of the proposed Association. The vision was there but the possible loss of Club identity was a concern.
In those days there were A grade and B grade clubs and each group competed for various trophies.
An opinion was voiced that all trophies should be “ thrown in the river “ to avoid golf reaching the competitive spirit as shown in Rugby Football. At this time there was no structured interclub fixtures and games were arranged on an ad hoc basis by the various clubs. A far cry from the sophisticated interclub programme in place to-day which is the envy of other Associations throughout New Zealand.
Subsequent meetings followed but as all clubs had not agreed to joining the Association there was not a total commitment to form such a body.
However, notwithstanding the various objections the Association was formed and the first meeting was held in room 32 Parliament Buildings, courtesy Hon. Vincent Ward M.L.C on 10 April 1940. By this stage many golfers had enlisted in the various services and were already serving overseas. Only fourteen people attended and a Management Committee of seven was elected with Mr P J Burke as Chairman and Mr T P Davis Secretary.
Among item discussed were standardising handicap calculations, players entering tournaments who were not bona fide members of any club, the possibility of obtaining more exposure in the press for fixtures and results and the holding of Open Days to raise funds for the National Patriotic War Effort.
The war had a major effect on all sporting activities and clubs and the Association managed to continue, with difficulty, until the armistice in 1945. During the early war years V A Ward was Chairman followed by R A Whyte from 1941 to 1944 inclusive.
The return of service personnel rejuvenated clubs and the need for better governance for golf enabled the Association to become firmly established as the Administrative body for Wellington golf. In 1945 the name was changed to Wellington District Golf Association with V A Ward the first President. Following the Committee meeting on 2 March 1948 the name was changed to Wellington Golf Association Inc , a new Constitution adopted and H A Hansen elected President.
In those early days the Association had no “ home “ and meetings were held in various places in and around Wellington such as the Commercial Travellers Club and the Automobile Association Rooms, DIC Building and in 1969 the meeting was held at Manor Park Golf Club. The following two years Shandon and Hutt clubs hosted the meeting and in 1972 Manor Park become the regular meeting place.
The Association continued to grow and the whole structure of inter club golf was changed and formalised providing competitive golf for all standard of players. The A grade and B grade groups were merged into one and the trophies were allocated to the various Divisions that were subsequently established.
When the current format was introduced there were three 36 Hole Divisions and six 18 hole Divisions, then increased to seven Divisions and now at 11 Divisions. This competition provides golf for over 700 players all playing at various courses on a given day.
The Association has also enjoyed success in many Inter Provincial Fixtures including the Masters.
In 2009 Men's and Women's golf in Wellington merged to form Wellington Golf Incorporated and this is now the Governing body for golf in the Wellington Region.