Having merged from The Hutt Golf Club and The Boulcott Golf Club, Boulcott’s Farm Heritage Golf Club is reflecting a clear awareness of its place in history.
In 2010 the former Hutt Golf Club and Boulcott Golf Club merged to form Boulcott’s Farm Heritage Golf Club. The two previous clubs had provided golf between them for 200 years – the Hutt Golf Club having been established in 1892.
The Hutt Golf Club – with which Boulcott amalgamated – has enjoyed a long history, being formed on June 4 1892 after a meeting of a group of mainly business and professional men. Hutt thereby had the distinction of being the first club established in the North Island.
A lease was arranged of the Wellington Racing Club grounds at Seaview, Lower Hutt and subsequently nine holes were laid out in the centre of the Racecourse. An adjoining section was purchased and a clubhouse, measuring 14 feet by 12 feet (4.27 metres by 3.65 metres) was planned with the cost estimated at 30 pounds ($60).
By the time of the first tournament the nine holes were ready for play varying in length from 160 to 400 yards (146 metres to 365 metres). Development work exhausted most of the club’s funds and while there was room on the course for extra holes, any extension had to be delayed until funds were available.
It was a hard struggle for the club to maintain the course in good order and its suitability was put to a severe test during the third New Zealand Golf Championships in October 1895, the only time Hutt hosted the country’s premier tournament.
In 1897 the course was extended outside the area enclosed by the Racecourse and by 1902 some 15 holes were available although the ground was frequently sloppy and the greens inferior. Poor drainage meant rain left the low-lying ground very heavy and prone to flooding.
It became obvious that a new site needed to be found and after looking at various options, including Gear Island, now the home of Shandon Golf Club, it was decided to look for some land north of Lower Hutt township.
In late 1908 the club purchased 108 acres of river flat land for three thousand pounds. In an ideal location, it was bordered on both sides by bush-clad hills with the Tararua Ranges as a backdrop. The land was basically flat, gently undulating but very stony where the western boundary followed the Hutt River, and was covered in gorse.
The club completed its first season on its own links in 1909 and the course (initially nine holes) was formally opened on 29 May of that year. There were 13 holes being played regularly by 1911 but it would be another 10 years before the full course was ready for play.
Alterations and improvements continued gradually, though the Second World War hit Hutt hard as it did many clubs.
A major fire in October 1965 caused considerable damage. The Members subsequently voted for a rebuilding scheme and the present two-storey complex was officially opened on the club’s 75th anniversary in 1967.
In 1987 the decision was taken to install an automatic sprinkling system to all greens, tees and fairways, the most ambitious project since the clubhouse reconstruction, with all 18 holes being completed in one operation and allowing for excellent year-round playing conditions.
With the Championship-length Hutt course long being regarded as one of the best manicured in the country it has hosted many significant events over its long and proud history. More recently the club has hosted the Junior Tasman Cup (2006), and the NZ Secondary Schools Championships (2007).
Since 1892 at the old Racing Club grounds, and then from 1908 at the current site, the Hutt Golf Club has certainly made its mark on the Wellington golfing landscape. The club through establishing itself as a premier golf and leisure facility continues to stand out as a course of Championship quality with facilities to match.
Boulcott Golf Club was one of the Hutt Valley’s most well-loved sporting clubs, its members priding themselves on their friendly approach and love of social occasions. In October 1937 the club had its beginnings when a group of local golfers who up until that point had played on a “rough little track” on top of a riverbank, negotiated with a local landowner to lease an area of land which would then be developed into the nine-hole course.
In February 1938 the first annual general meeting was held while the following year the matter of flooding was first apparent when the then Greenkeeper became marooned out on the course for a number of hours after the Hutt River burst its banks.
Finally in 1950 the club had the chance to purchase the land and at a special general meeting on 20 July 1950 the 54 members attending were told of a make or break situation – act then or lose their course.
The 1950s and 60s saw continued development on both the course along with the clubhouse construction, this continued through into the new century until the flood waters again visited the course – not once but on two occasions. Both these challenges were overcome and the club continued to prosper.
But when it was proposed to run the Hutt Valley stopbank through the nine-hole Boulcott layout, members had to bow to the inevitable.
In September 2010, 170 current and past members gathered at Boulcott Golf Club for the last time, to celebrate with a dance, ceremonial lowering of the flag and sealing of a time capsule recording the club’s history.
Club officials in determining the new name for the merged club were very mindful that golf in New Zealand’s North Island had its origins with the Hutt Club while both the former clubs were located on one of Hutt City’s most historic sites in Boulcott’s Farm. In 1846 the Battle of Boulcott’s Farm took place between the British forces and the Wanganui Maori.
The significance of the site and the fact that golf has been played there for more than 200 years also resulted with the word Heritage being included in the new name – it came with a promise to never forget how two great clubs had the foresight to come together as one.