Newcastle Golf Club was founded in 1905 on the site of the old racecourse at Broadmeadow in Newcastle, but was not incorporated as a public company until 1906.
In 1913-14 work commenced on the Newcastle Golf Club 9 hole layout on a remote stretch of sand dune country at Fern Bay, then called North Stockton. Play began in 1915 with the golfers travelling by chartered ferry from Newcastle. In the 1930s, when a vehicular ferry service made the course more accessible, Eric Apperly was commissioned to design an 18 hole course. It is a tribute to the vision of the pioneers that 7 of the original 9 holes have been incorporated into the 18 hole design. The current 1st, 2nd, 10th (original 3rd hole), 13th (original 5th hole), 14th (original 6th), 17th and 18th were all part of the 1915 (9 hole) layout. The course was constructed by Fred Popplewell Senior (father of the Club’s first Professional Fred Popplewell Junior). This history is recognised by Popplewell Road in Fern Bay, adjacent the 4th and 5th fairways. Long standing Captain and President, Archibald A. Rankin was also recognised via Rankin Road, Fern Bay.
Despite being taken over by the Army during World War II, when the course was covered with barbed wire entanglements and tank traps, the course quickly recovered and established a reputation as one of the best tests of golf in Australia. Professional golfers of the callibre of Bobby Locke and Norman Von Nida, and more recently Terry Gale, have praised the course as world class.
With greatly improved road access, Newcastle is now no longer a “hidden gem”, and like Royal Dornoch in Scotland, is a mecca for golfing pilgrims who relish the challenge of an unspoiled links.