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Kimberley Golf Club House in 1955

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 10 APRIL

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UPDATED: 10/04/2018

10 April 1902, A 336½ carat diamond found at Otto’s Kopje mine.
10 April 1940, Foundation stone of the Salvation Army church laid.
10 April 1941, Mesdames Gouldie and Hodgson win the GW Bowls doubles title.
10 April 1960, Last golf competition played at the Kimberley Golf Club “Old Course”.

(Pictured is the Kimberley Golf Club house in 1955 prior to the move to its current position).

DID YOU KNOW

The affluent suburb of Monument Heights is where the Kimberley Golf Club (KGC) had its humble beginnings in 1890. The very first clubhouse was a disused laundry and in time a new clubhouse was built near the Honoured Dead Memorial, at what is now the MOTH Centre.

The pioneers of golf in Kimberley were David Skirving (first club captain) and Stephen Stokes (honorary secretary) who approached John Blades Currey of the London and South African Exploration Company to ask for land for this purpose. The company owned most of the property in the area and Currey gladly conceded that the links be constructed between the Halfway House and the race course (opposite the Diamond Pavilion).

A committee was formed even before the first meeting was held in the Queens Hotel, with Currey serving as president of the club until he left Kimberley. The fairways and greens were not as lush as those at St Andrews, but served the purpose.The fairways were cleared of bushes and the greens were actually browns, consisting of sand. Later the greens became “blues” as washed kimberlite gravel was utilized.

It was decided early on that juniors would play at half price and women were allowed to play free of charge, but were not allowed to play on Wednesdays, Saturdays or match days.

In 1892 Kimberley hosted the South African and International Exhibition and KGC was encouraged to organise a golf championship which included players from across the country. In 1897 Cecil John Rhodes presented a trophy to the club and the annual competition for the Rhodes Challenge continues to this day.

Grass was never an option because of the climate and scarcity of water, until it was decided in 1912 to plant patches of grass on the course, but it was only in selected areas that the grass was to be seen.

In 1907 it became clear that the KGC needed a larger clubhouse, £650 had been pledged by members and £350 by De Beers. Daniel W. Greatbatch designed the structure free of charge and the contractors were Harris and Sanderson who completed the task for the price of £963. It was officially opened by C.E. Nind on 1 January 1908 and consisted of a large hall, ladies room, tearoom, lavatory, store room, professionals work room, kitchen and caretakers living room.

The Women’s Golf Club was also founded in 1908 and they had their own nine-hole course which linked up to the bottom end of the regular course. In October 1920, the Women’s Golf Club amalgamated with the KGC and formed the Women’s section.

After the game of dominoes was introduced, it became very popular and eventually went hand in hand with golf. Players would spend the day on the links and the evening at the Queen’s Hotel to play dominoes. It was said that “a golfer’s invitation to join a four ball rested to a large extent on that golfer’s ability to play dominoes”. It became so popular that an extra room was added to the clubhouse to accommodate players.

The KGC in 1951 began looking at the idea of establishing a golf course with grass-covered fairways and greens. The clubhouse on the new 220 acre site was designed by Cliff Timlin and work on the course began in 1958. The course was designed by golf architect Robert Grimsdell, a Delville Wood survivor.

The last competition was played on the old course on 10 April 1960 before the club officially moved to the current course.

 

UPDATED: 10/04/2017

10 April 1902, A 336½ carat diamond found at Otto’s Kopje mine.
10 April 1940, Foundation stone of the Salvation Army church laid.
10 April 1941, Mesdames Gouldie and Hodgson win the GW Bowls doubles title.
10 April 1960, Last golf competition played at the Kimberley Golf Club “Old Course”.

DID YOU KNOW

PT-Salvation_Army_Church_Foundation_Stone-Ernest_Oppenheimer-1940

Foundation Stone Laid by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer

Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and Commissioner J. Cunningham of the Salvation Army laid the two foundation stones of the Salvation Army building at 13 and 13a Crossman Road on Wednesday 10 April 1940, the 111th anniversary of the birth of the founder, General William Booth.

PT-Salvation_Army_Church_Foundation_Stone-J_Cunningham-1940

Foundation Stone Laid by Commissioner J. Cunningham

Cunningham had been the Kimberley resident Captain in 1895. Sir Ernest said that the building “…stands for what the Allies are fighting for – religious freedom and democracy.” Commissioner Cunningham opened the building on Saturday 13 July 1940, having cost £4300 to erect, some £500 being donated by the De Beers Company, £100 from the Orr family and £100 from the city council. The architect of this building, which included four bedrooms for the use of ‘wayfarers’, was Cliffie Timlin. The site had always been used by the Salvation Army, and was commonly known as the Metropole.

 

 

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

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