Avondale Golf Club is located in a quiet, secluded part of the Upper North Shore of Sydney. Although within walking distance of Pymble railway station, there are no roads on the boundaries, few houses are visible from the course, and only a distant view of Macquarie University betrays its position in the outer suburbs of the city.
The Club was formed in 1926 by a group of leading businessmen who wanted to establish a private club for themselves and their families. They purchased over 200 acres of rugged bushland in Pymble adjoining Presbyterian Ladies College, which the same men were instrumental in founding. Along with other holdings, a parcel of land was purchased from the college, and to this day there is an allocation of seven membership places available to the school.
The decision to build a temporary clubhouse and nine holes to start with was made by the founders at a committee meeting held on the train to Milsons Point on 27 February 1927.
With George Mayo, the first greenkeeper in charge, and five men, the land was cleared using axes and horses. The potential Members gave freely of their time to assist in clearing stones from the fairways. The original membership comprised 100 Members and 50 Lady Members.
Two months later, on 18 April the first ball was struck to celebrate the opening of the first nine holes, but it was decided to wait until the completion of the permanent clubhouse for the official opening. Eric Apperly, noted architect and golf course designer, submitted plans within a month. An allocation of £7000 for building and £400 for furnishing was approved.
With the 18-hole golf course completed and the new clubhouse built, Sir Dudley de Chair, the Governor of New South Wales, officially opened the Avondale Golf Club on 17 December 1927. The original clubhouse building still stands proudly today, and although there have been several extensions, the same architectural style has been maintained. There have been many improvements internally. This has produced a modern and comfortable building, which amply provides for the needs of the golfing Members and for the entertainment of Members and their guests in attractive and pleasant surroundings.
Today’s membership of 1491, enjoys a Grade One course developed to modern standards, with the original blue couch fairways now converted to Santa Ana and the greens refurbished in the past few years with Penn G-2 Bentgrass.
In 2001, the Club and the course became a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the only one to date in New South Wales. The aim of the Audubon International Society is to ‘conserve and restore natural eco-systems, wildlife and habitat for the benefit of humanity’. It is a tribute to all concerned that this prestigious award was presented to Avondale.
In 1991, a devastating storm swept through the area and destroyed many 200-year-old trees including one Angophora costata which had given its common name, Redgum, to one of the original holes.
A series of bushfires broke out in Sydney in 1994 and one of them burnt a swathe through part of West Pymble. It swept through a large area of the Club bushland and threatened the clubhouse. Happily the wind changed, the building was safe and the bush recovered.
Through drought, flooding rains, bushfires and storms Avondale has survived and, with luck and good management, should do so for many years to come.