The idea to form a golf club in Nelson Bay was mooted by the then Proprietor of the Shoal Bay Country Club Hotel in neighbouring Shoal Bay, Len Randall.
Subsequently in 1959, three local businessmen, Len Randall, Benjamin Norburn and John Carroll, formed a company titled “Tomaree Golf Links Pty Ltd” with the object of acquiring suitable land and creating a golf playing facility. A lease of land on the Club’s present site was obtained from the Lands Department and work commenced, with the first 7 holes completed and the first ball played on 26th January 1961.
The course was described at the time as “pretty rough, lots of sand patches but the greens are good.” It is also noted that at the time, many players used coloured balls to more easily find them on the sandy fairways. The original club house was a fibro shed which was eventually replaced with a permanent Club House in 1963.
In 1972 Tomaree Golf Links shares were purchased by The Tomaree Golf Club which then changed its name to the present Nelson Bay Golf Club. Initial membership was 103 men and 68 women. The course became 18 holes in late 1971.
Nelson Bay Golf Club proved extremely popular with locals and visitors and to accommodate the increasing demands on the course it was decided to add a further 9 holes to increase the course to the present 27 holes. The additional holes opened in 1998 allowing it to become one of the busiest golf courses in the country.
Although original attempts to introduce kangaroos to the course were unsuccessful, nature has over the years decided to provide a resident ‘roo population along with wallabies, the occasional koala, abundant bird life and fauna. The setting in natural bushland provides native flora including the iconic Gymea lily and abundant Christmas bush on the course.
The Club House underwent a major reconstruction in 2006 and features a restaurant with panoramic views over the course as well as balconies, function facilities and members bar.
Nelson Bay Golf Club has evolved from those small beginnings in 1961 to the well-recognised and ‘must experience’ golfing venue for visitors to the Port Stephens area as well as a source of enjoyment and pride to today’s large membership.