The early years
Trentham Golf Club occupies 39 hectares (98 acres) on the northern edge of the small township of Trentham, about 100 km north-west of Melbourne. The Stony Creek meanders along the club's eastern boundary, shortly after which it joins the Coliban River and plunges over the famous Trentham Falls, Victoria's highest single-drop waterfall.
The golf course was farmland from the 1850s. The original titles show five crown allotments of 19-20 acres each.
There was some goldmining near the creek, and a depression to the left of the 15th hole, known as 'Tin Pan Alley', was originally an old mining slug.
In April 1926 the titles were purchased by the Trentham Co-operative Society, and they commenced operation of a slaughterhouse, with associated yards and paddocks.
Being quite some distance from the nearest course at Kyneton, Trentham townsfolk were keen to establish golf in the district, and the Trentham Golf Club was officially established in 1937.
An agreement was made to lease land from the Co-operative, and a 9-hole sand green course was constructed which wandered its way around and through the Co-operative's operations. Golfers crossed the fences using stiles.
The first clubhouse was a tin shed that stood just south of what is now the 11th tee. The inside of the shed was dominated by a wood boiler and a smoky stove. Lady members dispensed cups of tea and biscuits through a servery to the gentlemen members standing outside in the smoke (and sometimes rain and snow!). Members brought their own crockery, cutlery, milk and sugar!
Post World War II
As a result of World War II, the Trentham Co-operative Society encountered financial difficulties and was wound up. With the help of a 3% debenture issue, the Golf Club purchased the land in October 1949 for £2482/15/3. The rich red volcanic soil was excellent for agriculture, but even better for a golf course, growing good turf with excellent general drainage. But right up until the early 1990s, potatoes were grown in the area now occupied by the 2nd hole, to help raise funds for the club.
During the 1950s the course was extended to 18 holes, covering the whole of the Co-operative's original land. In the early 1960s, the tin shed clubhouse was replaced by a 'new' one. The club purchased the old North Blackwood school building after the school closed, and re-located it to the site. In subsequent years this clubhouse was extended with change rooms, a small kitchen and bar.
Grass greens replaced the original sandscrapes in 1963, but play was often abandoned during the dry summer months. In 1976 a dam was constructed on Stony Creek, allowing the greens and tees to be watered year-round.
Disaster struck at 4 a.m. on Christmas Day 1981, when the 'old school' clubhouse burnt to the ground. The committee and members rallied and quickly began plans to rebuild. Work commenced in April 1982 on a new brick clubhouse, using voluntary labour in conjunction with the builder.
The new clubhouse was completed in August 1982, and officially opened on September 4th.
The drama was not quite over however. In a violent storm in May 1983, the new clubhouse lost half its roof, which ended up near the first tee. Fortunately no-one was hurt and the one occupant at the time said that like a good golfer he saved himself by 'keeping his head down'. Repairs saw the building back in weather-proof shape.
In 1995 the club made a decision to undertake a major renovation of the whole course under the guidance of architect Kevin Hartley.
This program commenced in the summer of 1995-96 when six new greens (1st, 2nd, 5th, 10th, 16th and 18th) were constructed to USGA standards, a new par-3 2nd hole was added, the 3rd (previously the 2nd) was lengthened to a par-4, and two par-3s were combined to make the par-4 16th. Several other holes were altered or lengthened. The course became par 70 for men and par 71 for women.
In 2001 the 3rd and 11th greens were re-constructed, again under the supervision of Kevin Hartley.
The club undertook further course renovations in 2006, with the re-construction of the 12th, 13th and 15th greens. These greens were open to play on May 6th 2006.
Over the summer of 2009-10 three further greens (6th, 8th and 14th) were rebuilt. These greens opened for play on May 11th 2010. Their completion brought to fourteen the number of new greens reconstructed since the commencement of the redevelopment plan.
The course was re-rated in 2011 to AMCR71 for men and AWCR71 for women.
During 2012 the club rebuilt the remaining four greens (4th, 7th, 9th and 17th) to USGA standards. They were opened on September 1st 2012.
The work signalled the end of the greens program that had taken 16 years and resulted in every green on the course being rebuilt, a wonderful achievement for a small country golf club.
As a result of all its improvements, membership has held firm while other clubs are losing members, and green fee numbers have increased by nearly 400%. While the club attracts many members from both the Trentham and wider Macedon Ranges district, a large proportion travel from Melbourne.
With the renovations of the last decade, and being in the midst of a popular weekend tourist destination, the course is becoming increasingly popular with social golfers, including veterans groups. The club has acquired a reputation for good conditioning and quality greens in a picturesque setting.