By the late 1800s the tourist potential of the Portsea and Sorrento areas had been realised. Paddle steamer trips from Melbourne were frequent through the summer season leading to the development of cottages, guesthouses and hotels.
Holiday makers came by rough roads, a four hour drive, or by steamer from Melbourne. Sportsman and businessman Arthur Relph happened across the splendid golfing land stretching from Quarantine to the ocean and set about acquiring it. Eventually some 90 acres were set aside by the Portsea Lands Company on June 18th 1923 and design of a preliminary nine hole layout was commenced. The links was first opened for play from December 1924 to Easter 1925.
The first committee meeting of Portsea Golf Club was held in the temporary clubhouse on 31st December 1925. A tenth hole was added in early 1926 and “Harlequin” of The Morning Post enthused:
“The Length of the course is 2715 yards and the bogey for the 10 is 40. The third and final 430 yards is the longest on the course… A player is compelled to play with great accuracy to record bogey 5. Abe Schlapp, who is a member of the club considers the land excellent golfing country, especially the phort piptn.[sic]… This hole is from a plateau tee to a green of 130 yards below and is a bogey 3″.
By 1926 the fledgling Portsea Golf Club leased ten holes from The Portsea Lands Company, clubhouse construction was underway and Portsea Golf Links Estate had been born.
By the end of the 1920s, Portsea Golf Club appeared to be well established and financially secure, albeit supported by a number of its wealthier members. The club boasted a membership of over a hundred, with most members commuting from Melbourne. The course consisted of eleven holes in play and three very successful open events had been organised, putting the Club on the golfing map.
A further two holes were added in 1930, another one in 1934, two in 1955 and finally in 1965 the course was again extended to encompass eighteen holes.
Today members and visitors enjoy playing on a course set amongst sand dunes, which consistently rates as one of Australia’s finest. Recent design improvements in bunkering and greens have further enhanced the course. The natural drainage qualities of soils found in the Portsea area also ensures that golfers enjoy a firm footing all year round.
The Club holds several tournaments throughout the year for amateurs and professionals alike.