auckland golf club
Did you know there once was a golf course that spanned across Cornwall park and Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill Domain? Read on to discover it's rich history.
The Auckland Golf Club 1901 - 1909
The Auckland Golf Club (A.G.C.), including its female contingent, the Auckland Ladies Golf Club was established in 1894 and played on a Greenlane property. In 1901, it was then relocated to occupy 37 ½ acres at Cornwall Park/One Tree Hill Domain.
The A.G.C. began and ended its time on this site by hosting the 1901 and 1909 New Zealand Golf Championships. The course was well enjoyed, described as providing “…a variety of hazards including stone walls, sheep pens and outcrops of volcanic rock.” The stone wall which divides One Tree Hill Domain from Cornwall Park still exists, running from the Sorrento restaurant, past the Auckland Archery Club and the park manager’s house near the start of Twin Oak Drive.
Despite many success' at Maungakiekie, A.G.C. continued to look for a new site that would offer long-term security. In 1909 they found a suitable location at Middlemore, “a permanent golf course within a reasonable distance of Auckland".
The course was certainly striking. The two most famous holes of the club were the Ampitheatre and Jacob's Ladder. Six of the holes were located in Cornwall Park's tramway paddock, formerly used to house the horses which pulled the trams along Manukau Road. The courses in One Tree Hill Domain instead faced a unique challenge in that cattle grazed there freely, with a local rule being adopted to permit a free shot if the ball was “lying on or touching dung.”
Golf was very much a winter sport at this time, with no watering of the greens over the summer months resulting in courses drying out and becoming unplayable. In 1903, the Ramparts and Pa holes were forced closed because of the perceived risk to members of the public using the track leading to the summit. Some conflict arose around this, as some golfers believed that the general public “would get in the way, often purposely.” Two additional holes were formed in Cornwall Park to replace them. The Club was also troubled by boys stealing golf balls.
Maungakiekie Golf Club 1912-1942
Succeeding the A.G.C., The Maungakiekie Golf Club occupied the Cornwall Park/One Tree Hill site from 1912. The existing courses continued to be played with subtle alterations to meet the needs of the new members.
Among the eager golfers to play a round of golf at Maungakiekie was the 25 year old, Edward the Prince of Wales on Friday 30 April 1920. The Prince went on to become King Edward VIII in 1936, but within 9 months abdicated the throne to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson.
Cornwall Park's golfing narrative was brought abruptly to an end in 1942 however. Under wartime regulations, Sir John Logan Campbell's trust agreement was overridden and The Cornwall Park Trust Board was asked to relinquish majority of the eastern side of the park (64 acres) to house the 39th US Army General hospital. The hospital went on to treat 23,411 patients during its 21 months of operation, many of whom were sick and wounded from the Soloman Island campaign of 1942.
The removal of the Maungakiekie Golf Club allowed a through-road system to be put in place, which improved accessibility to everyone come the end of the war in 1945.
The Maungakiekie Golf Club lived on however, dividing to form the club of the same name based at the Mt Roskill golf course and the present Titirangi Golf Club.