There are reports of the first club being formed as early as 1900 and, today, the province has 25 courses from Te Anau in the north to Ringa Ringa Heights on Stewart Island. However, the best-known and most-used layouts are located in and around the main provincial centre, Invercargill. In fact for a city of 51,000 it’s remarkably well blessed with golf courses – four of them.

The first balls were smote at what was then called Victoria Park, nowadays Queens Park. That was where the Invercargill Golf Club was formed at the start of the 20th century. But the city’s movers and shakers didn’t want the golf club on land owned by the city council, so the Invercargill Club decamped out to its own freehold property at Otatara, on the way to Oreti Beach, and a separate Queens Park Golf Club was formed in 1916.

A hundred years on, the club in the park is the biggest in town with 430 members, but the combined membership of the Queens Park, Invercargill, Southland and Greenacres clubs is just 1141, hardly sustainable for maintaining such large amounts of real estate. The word ‘amalgamation’ is often mentioned in Southland golf circles these days, but for the purposes of this story we’ll put that fraught and difficult issue to one side and concentrate instead on some of the courses themselves.

The late Bert Low - patron at Queens Park

Queens Park Golf Club celebrated its centenary last year, and for over 60 of those years at least one member of the Low family has been playing and administering at the club, often doing both very successfully.

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