Australasian Golf Museum
Our golfing journey through Australia brought us to Bothwell. There are two reasons why any golfer must include Bothwell on their itinerary. The first is to play golf at Ratho Farm. And second, to visit the Australasian Golf Museum!
Being keen travelers, we are captivated by history. We are fascinated with the story of a place, or of a person. And being keen golfers, we like to search for the oldest golf courses. So, it is no surprise that our 4-month journey through Tasmania lead us to the small town of Bothwell. After all, Bothwell is home to Ratho Farm, the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere. But Bothwell is also home to the Australasian Golf Museum, and we were eager to have a look!
Why is there Golf in Bothwell?
After our round at Ratho Farm, we had the pleasure to have a chat about the history of the golf course with the engaging and entertaining host Mr. Greg Ramsay. He told us that the property has been in his family for four generations. In addition, he said that there are over 150 years of documented golfing history on the property!
According to the book Golf Architecture: A Worldwide Perspective Volume Three by Paul Daley, Mr. Alexander Reid brought hickory clubs and feathery balls with him when he moved from Scotland to Tasmania. Now recognized as the Father of Australian Golf, Mr. Reid “brought golf to the flourishing colony of Van Dieman’s Land”.
At the age of 96, his grandson, Alex Reid (1861-1960), told historian Karl von Stieglitz in 1957: “I think my family must have been one of the first to introduce golf out here, and I can remember seeing some very old-fashioned clubs and golf balls in the early seventies before I went to school. They were kept in a long box with some croquet mallets but were given to a schoolmaster who afterward went to live in New Zealand, and I have no idea where they are now. They could have been brought out in 1822 with my grandfather’s things, but I think more likely they arrived in 1842 when my people returned from a trip to Scotland.”
Our Visit to the Australasian Golf Museum
Located directly in town, we happily paid our 5-dollar entry and were excited as we entered the museum.
According to their website, the Australasian Golf Museum “was instigated by legendary Tasmanian golfer Peter Toogood”. Mr. Toogood was an exceptional golfer. He won the Australian Amateur in 1954, and the Tasmanian Open an incredible eight times. He was awarded the Silver Medal as low amateur in the 1954 Open Championship, which was played at Royal Birkdale and won by the legendary Mr. Peter Thomson, the first of his five Open championships.
The museum is housed in the same building as the town’s visitor center. There are 2 large rooms full of old clubs dating from the 1800s, old golf balls, bags, headcovers, and flags. The museum is divided into exhibits that span the long history of the game.
Among the many fascinating golf treasures, we spotted Mr. Reid’s golf clubs. We marveled at the long and adventurous trip these clubs took, and the role they played in Australia’s golf history.
The exhibit about Australia Professionals was also wonderful. It was full of names that are well-known, as well as names that were new to us.
We took our time admiring the collection of hickories, bags, balls, and the Scottish origins of this marvelous game.
A visit to the Australasian Golf Museum is a must for any student of the game, golf history buff, or just general golf nerd!
Australasian Golf Museum
Address: Market Place, Bothwell 7030, Tasmania, Australia
Phone: +61 03 6259 4033
Email for inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org