A unique re-discovery: The old Kameruka Golf Course

A long since abandoned kiosk, right beside the 1st hole at the Kameruka Golf Course, out on the Kameruka Estate. Photo Adrian Logue/Golf Australia Magazine
A long since abandoned kiosk, right beside the 1st hole at the Kameruka Golf Course, out on the Kameruka Estate. Photo Adrian Logue/Golf Australia Magazine

A long forgotten gem has been re-discovered at the back of Candelo on the Kameruka Estate.

Golf enthusiasts have uncovered a 106 year old golf course - albeit overgrown and used as pasture for cows - that was one of estate's many projects orchestrated by late owner, Sir Robert Lucas-Tooth.

"It's one of the oldest, intact golf courses in NSW and probably the only intact example of Victorian penal golf course architecture in Australia," president of Society of Australian Golf Course Architects, Harley Kruse said about the style.

The old golf course is no mystery to locals, however its value and unique structure has recently been unearthed and investigated by golf industry professionals.

The nine hole golf course was built during the outbreak of World War I and seven of the holes were named after World War I battles.

The golf course constructions were overseen by British golf professional Mr Ernest Banks, who was commissioned by Sir Robert and had travelled from England to build it.

Sir Robert lost two sons in the first months of the war in 1914 and then lost his third son in February the following year.

As tribute to Sir Robert's sons and the fallen men from the local district, different holes were named after the battles where many Australian lives had been lost during WWI.

Pictures of the current overgrown paddock where the old Kameruka Golf Course was. Photo: Adrian Logue/Golf Australia Magazine

Pictures of the current overgrown paddock where the old Kameruka Golf Course was. Photo: Adrian Logue/Golf Australia Magazine

The re-discovery of the 'long lost' golf course

While on vacation in Merimbula, Paul Carter a retired financier and avid golfer, was looking through a golf index for new courses to discover, when he stumbled across Kameruka.

Having heard a rumour that a long lost golf course may be sitting somewhere out behind Candelo, Mr Carter was excited to find out more.

Tathra man Rob Owen assisted him in his endeavour to discover the overgrown golf course.

Upon receiving permission by Kameruka Estate owner, Barry Moffitt, Mr Owen took Mr Carter for a drive around the paddock where the old golf course used to be.

Mr Carter said he was blown away by what he saw and excitedly called Mr Kruse.

"When I rang Harley I said 'Harley you wouldn't believe me, this golf course is just like Britain, it's amazing',

"And so Harley jumps on a plane with Adrian and they come down," Mr Carter said.

"There was this mystery and excitement about it before getting there and upon getting there, its like nothing I've ever seen in golf in Australia, and I mean that in a good way," Mr Kruse said.

After visiting the course, Mr Kruse began collating all the history he could find about the golf course.

He collated information from the Bega Valley Genealogy Society, The Australian Golf Heritage Society, as well as going through old articles about the estate on Trove.

"To find an intact original 100-year-old layout is extremely rare in Australia, let alone elsewhere in the world," Mr Kruse said.

Mr Kruse has been designing golf courses for over 30 years and said that most golf courses in Australia are modern or have been re-touched.

He said this course is a gem that has been 'sitting there', untouched and unchanged since when it was first built and ought to be preserved.

The fourth hole known as Shrapnel Valley, out at the old Kameruka Golf Course on the Kameruka Estate. Photo: Adrian Logue/Golf Australia Magazine

The fourth hole known as Shrapnel Valley, out at the old Kameruka Golf Course on the Kameruka Estate. Photo: Adrian Logue/Golf Australia Magazine

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This story A re-discovery of the old Kameruka Golf Course and its unique structure first appeared on Bega District News.