Creating a Network
Photo of ladies and men playing at Katanning Golf Course in 1890
Just as small groups of people were playing golf in the Perth metropolitan area by the 1890s, so they were in larger country towns around the State. During that era, the construction of the Great Southern Railway line extended the possibilities for agriculture, with towns along the line such as Katanning developing recreational facilities. With the increased population in the State and the new railway link to Perth, Albany became a popular holiday destination and by 1900 the Albany Parks Links were opened. Although only a few Albany women actually played at that time when "ladies were mainly noted for providing the requisite afternoon teas during competitions" (Albany Golf Club notes), those first female competitors included family members of Grace Hassell, who later became one of the founding members of the Western Australian Ladies Golf Union (WALGU).
Towns within the long established Avon Valley had also started golf by the turn of the Century. Both men and women played on the Northam course, which were formed in 1901on flood plains of the Avon and Mortlock Rivers. Northam ladies could join their own associates club from 1914, on the proviso that they did not play in boots or shoes with heels higher than one half inch. Heavy rains caused Northam's links to flood, which remained a serious problem until after WWI when they were moved to higher ground. (Notes from Northam) Another early golf course built on the banks of the Avon River was Avondale between Beverley and York. George Leake Broun laid down grass greens on a 9-hole course, which according to accounts in the paper, compared very favourably with some of the major courses in the metropolitan area. Broun often invited golfers from the city who would travel by train to Avondale for golfing weekends. Many competitions for both men and women were played at Avondale until 1916 when Broun went to the war. His wife, Connie Broun raised funds for the war effort by inviting Beverley ladies to play at Avondale.
The Broun family also competed on a less sophisticated golf course built in the town of Beverley in 1905. A farmer who kept pigs owned the land, and when the pigs developed a taste for the gutta-percha balls used at that time, the golfers had to race to their ball and hit it before a pig ate it. In 1912 Connie Broun began a Beverley tradition of women opening the season by driving the first ball. There were 100 people present and she was presented with an inscribed golf club.
Most of the golf played by ladies took the form of match play and they would often travel to nearby towns such as Yorkto compete. York women were recorded by the "Beverley Times" as having played at the opening of Beverley"s course. It is not known whether golf had been played in York prior to 1901 when a match between York and Northam was recorded in the "Eastern Districts Chronicle".
York's first golf course was between Ford St and Ulster Road with a gravel pit in the vicinity forming a natural hazard.