The Port Sorell Golf Course was originally designed by a Devonport orchardist, Kelly Wilson and his associate, and built by locals Col Richards and Jim Dick. It began as a 6 hole course and at the time, finding funds to develop the course was very difficult. In the late 1950’s, the Shearwater Golf Club (SGC) was formed.
In 1980, the majority of SGC members decided to pursue private course ownership and purchased some land at Thirlstane from local farmers. Well known golfer Peter Toogood, of Hobart was commissioned to design their new course.
The SGC relocated to Thirlstane and played a 6 hole temporary course whilst building their 9 hole course. They continued trading under the Shearwater Golf Club name until the 1990’s when they renamed their club to “Thirlstane Golf Club”.
At that time, a number of the SGC members were of the opinion that a separate club could be created on the existing links and a public meeting was held on 30 September 1980 to gauge interest. Those members who instigated the move were; Mick Halley, Malcolm Clark, Reg Oliver, David Reeves (Snr) and Leo Haintz.
The public meeting was confident of achieving success and as a result, the formation of the Port Sorell Golf Club (PSGC) took place. The PSGC commenced operations with nothing but enthusiasm and a lease on the course. The first competition was held on Saturday 4th October 1980 with the Associates asked to support the Saturday competition. The Associates held a meeting on the 22nd October 1980 to elect office bearers for their committee thus forming the official Associates Committee of the PSGC.
Initially all maintenance equipment was either donated, borrowed or hand made to fit the purpose. For a while the fairways were mown by domestic lawnmowers and handmade rakes serviced the bunkers. Over time, greens mowers and tractors were acquired either by donation or purchased second hand.
Early benefactors to the Club were Mick and Pat Halley, Malcolm Clark and Garry Green. Mick Halley made the flag poles and flags. Mick has continued to make the flags ever since and is still doing it in 2013. (As at 2011 and at the ripe old age of 80, Mick has made in excess of 600 flags for the Club). Mick and Pat also donated the Club’s first green’s mower and Garry Green donated a gang mower.
The first greenkeeper for PSGC was Harold Skledar who stayed with the Club for 25 years until he pursued other employment in 2005.
Initially, match day presentations were made in the function room of the Shearwater Country Club until a temporary clubhouse was completed in the basement of the hotel. In summer months the presentations were made around the complex’s swimming pool. In 1984, two Melbourne businessmen purchased the Shearwater Country Club and as a result, the complex was converted into a Timeshare Resort. The PSGC was encouraged to remain as part of the complex and a clubhouse was purpose built and leased to the PSGC. The new facility was officially opened on 24th June 1988.
From humble beginnings, the PSGC has grown from 37 interested people to a peak membership in excess of 300 members. The club now provides its members with a resident Professional and Pro Shop, modern clubhouse facilities, a greenkeeper and appropriate course maintenance equipment. That said, it’s the volunteers who are the unsung heroes of a successful golf club and the PSGC is no exception.