The Barwon Heads Golf Club clubhouse was built in 1923-4 to the designs of the architectural firm Klingender & Hamilton. The club had been first established north of the township in 1907 and moved to its present site in 1920. The new course was designed by Vic East, the professional at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, and was built in 1920-22. In 1922 it was decided that a new clubhouse should be built. The Geelong architects Buchan Laird & Buchan were appointed supervising architects and a competition for the design was won by the Melbourne architects Klingender & Hamilton. A tender was accepted in 1923 from John Smith of Meredith for £12,500. The new building was described at the time as Australia's first country club, built on the nations' first links course. It was an exclusive residential club whose members included many of Victoria's prominent citizens, and it was used for summer holidays by members from Geelong and the Western District. As well as the golf links facilities included three tennis courts and the nearby beach for swimming. By 1925 almost £20,000 had been spent on the clubhouse, including furniture and plant, and £5,000 on the course. The clubhouse has undergone a number of alterations, and in the 1990s the rear wings were rebuilt in a sympathetic style to the original to designs by the architect Neil McGlashan of McGlashan & Everist.
The Barwon Heads Golf Club is a three-storey asymmetrical gabled timber building in an inter-war California Bungalow style. It is located on a sloping site with views over the golf course and the coast. It was originally painted white with black hatching to imitate Tudor half-timbering on the upper portion but is now painted dark green with white window frames. The main entrance is through a parapeted arched tapestry brick entrance porch on the first floor, leading into a foyer with flanking dining and lounge rooms. All of these first floor rooms remain much as when built, retaining their original country club atmosphere and some of the original furniture. Brass plaques above the two fireplaces in the foyer and the main lounge commemorate the driving force behind the establishment of the course, Thomas Bostock of Geelong, and S F (Barney) Mann, who was responsible for the initial construction of the course. The bedrooms on the upper level have been reconfigured to incorporate ensuite bathrooms and the rooms on the lower level have been redecorated. The rear wings have been rebuilt and contain no original fabric.
This site is part of the traditional land of the Wathaurung people.
How is it significant?
Barwon Heads Golf Club is of historical and architectural significance to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Barwon Heads Golf Club is historically significant for its association with the history of recreation in Victoria. It was the first country club in Victoria, and an early example of a private residential golf club which was the first to provide accommodation, which was unusual then for being for both sexes. It was a prestigious holiday retreat for a privileged Western District graziers and wealthy sports-loving members from the Riverina and Geelong as well as prominent city players. The resort helped put Barwon Heads on the map and influenced the development of the town.
The Barwon Heads Golf Club is architecturally significant as a fine example of an inter-war residential golf club, which retains its original clubhouse atmosphere and some of its original furniture, especially in the dining and main lounge rooms. It is an unusual example of the use of the California Bungalow style, more often a domestic style, for a large clubhouse. It is significant for it association with the architectural firm of Klingender & Hamilton.