The Early Days 1924 - 1958
The Augusta Golf Club has its origins in the foresight of two men. The first was Harry Stanes, who owned the Augusta Hotel and was committed to showcasing the tourism potential of the little township of Augusta. The second was Peter Corsair Anderson (known as P.C.), headmaster of Scotch College from 1904-1945, and an exemplary golfer who had won the 1893 British Amateur Championship in Prestwick, Scotland.
The discovery of the site for our golf course is imbued with romance. Harry Stanes was a keen horseman, who took his horses on long, solitary rides through dense forests of karri and jarrah, through the Leeuwin Ridge to the coastal hills that overlook the Indian Ocean. Harry’s son, Bill, recounts that as early as 1924, Harry saw the potential of the rolling “open country, consisting of peppermint trees and blackboys.” According to Bill, Harry proposed that this “is where the golf links will be, and just adjoining it, a landing ground for aeroplanes.”
Around that time, P.C. Anderson would bring his wife and six children to Augusta for the school holidays. They would stay at the Augusta Hotel. As a result of their mutual love of fishing. P.C. and Harry became friends.
P.C was, literally and figuratively, a giant of a man. At 6ft 4 inches, his easy golf swing not only won competitions in his native Scotland, but on coming to Australia, he dominated the courses at the historic Geelong and, later, at Cottesloe. In 1902, he tied for runner-up in the Australian Amateur championship at Royal Melbourne.
P.C. had laid out the Cottesloe (now Seaview) course, and the first nine holes of Royal Fremantle. As a founder of the WA Golf Association, he was elected president in 1913. During his time as president, eleven rural clubs were admitted to the WAGA as associated clubs: Albany, Katanning, Narrogin, Pingelly, Wagin, Beverly, Northam. York, Boulder, Coolgardie, and Kalgoorlie.
Given P.C.’s stature as a golfer, as well as his influence in the WA Golf Association, it seems likely that Harry would have taken P.C. to the undulating country to the west and discussed his dream for a golf links. Furthermore, it seems likely that P.C. would have approved of the wild, untamed terrain that had resonance with the windswept beauty of the links courses of his homeland. His encouragement would have fuelled Harry’s vision.
Despite this initial enthusiasm, little progress was made for another thirty years. In the intervening period, there was the Great Depression, World War II, and the ongoing need to earn a living and raise a family in difficult times. Moreover, the task of creating this specific course was truly daunting: a formidable challenge had to be faced—a road had to be built to the site through dense karri forest.
Nevertheless, once the desire for a golf course truly took hold, nothing was allowed to block the way. The first official meeting of the “proposed club” was held on 11th June 1957 and the motion was moved, seconded, and carried that a new organisation would be given life. Its name was to be Augusta Golf Club.
Ahead of the new Committee were countless challenges—money was needed, an access road through the forest had to be created, a course design was required, fairways needed to be disc-harrowed, sand spread, and water needed to be carted. It was a mammoth job requiring heavy machinery, experienced operators, and a multitude of hard-working volunteers. External contractors, including well-known course designers Murray and Eileen Dawson and Maxine Bishop were engaged, along with local suppliers who worked in conjunction with tireless Club members.
Thoughts concerning the building of a clubhouse came after the initial administrative and financial preparation was in place, and after the heavy earth work had begun. It was Harry Stanes, now an elderly man, who had the honour of turning “the first sod” on the clubhouse site. The date was 2nd February 1958. Sadly, Harry died shortly after, but all present at the ceremony remarked on the gleam on Harry’s face, knowing that his dream was in the process of being realised.
The official opening day of the of the club as a sporting entity, was 17th May 1958. It had taken just eleven months to change a coastal wilderness into a nine-hole golf course.
It has been more than sixty years since the first Member hit off from the first hole at Augusta Golf Club. We now boast 18 beautiful holes, each of which has been lightly managed, rising and falling with the sunlit contours appreciated first by Harry Stanes and P.C. Anderson. We have a modern clubhouse that boasts of panoramic views of forests rolling down to the Blackwood River. And we have sheds filled with mowers, tractors, and carts. Underpinning all this, of course, we have our golfers.