What is Australia’s Oldest Golf Course?

Quick quiz, where is the oldest existing golf course outside of Scotland?Ratho-LoCHouseHoles

If you’ve been reading Aussie Golfer for some time, you may remember this question from golf trivia a while ago and you may have guessed it is in Australia.

It is no surprise to learn it is Australia’s oldest golf course too and it is in Tasmania in a place called Bothwell about 70 kilometres north of Hobart.Ratho Golf

Ratho Golf Links was established soon after the arrival of European settlers to the region in 1821.

There are strong Scottish connections all around the area and the first game of golf was played on a property called ‘Ratho’ in the 1820’s, well before golf had established itself outside of Scotland.

The course is still very much in use and it can be played for a $15 green fee with all money going towards course restoration and maintenance.

The course is unique with square greens surrounded by fences to protect them from grazing sheep. These square greens are reminiscent of the greens at St.Andrews and other old courses in Scotland.

It is a fascinating journey back to golf in the 1800’s. From the Ratho Golf website:

Another legacy to be found on early golf courses, certainly at Ratho, is that tees are hard up against greens. This originated from the rule of grabbing a pinch of sand out of the hole after putting out, and teeing off within two club lengths.

I’ve lost track of the number of golfers heading south to Tasmania to go and play the increasingly popular Barnbougle Dunes Golf Course. The Ratho Golf Course should also be on your itinerary if you’re heading to the Apple Isle. There is a real ‘slice’ of golfing history in this place.

6 thoughts on “What is Australia’s Oldest Golf Course?

  • December 15, 2009 at 06:17
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    Should have to play the course with hickory shafted clubs and an old feathery ball!

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  • December 16, 2009 at 01:21
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    I believe they do have hickory club days down there. Perhaps keep an eye on the website for details.

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  • September 6, 2019 at 20:11
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    Please check your grammar. You wrote “your heading to the Apple Isle” when it should have been when “you’re “

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  • September 6, 2019 at 20:11
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    Please check your grammar. You wrote “your heading to the Apple Isle” when it should have been when “you’re “. Maybe it was auto correct so edit better.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 20:12
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    Please check your grammar. You wrote “your heading to the Apple Isle” when it should have been when “you’re “. Maybe it was auto correct so edit more carefully.

    Reply
  • September 9, 2020 at 19:17
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    The Ratho Club actually opened in 1912. The current course is not totally the original layout as it has has had several changes to it subsequently.
    The oldest unchanged layout of a golf course in Australia is the Kameruka Golf course on the far south coast of NSW whose unchanged layout opened in 1915. The layout was designed by the renowned Scottish golfer Laurie Auchtelonie who won the US Open in 1903 and whose brother Willie Auchtelonie won the 1893 British Open.

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