NSW Golf

The Last Hurrah at Krambach

Krambach Golf CLub

In the rolling hills off the Buckets Way with Taree to the North and Gloucester to the South, you’ll find Krambach Golf Club, one of the jewels of the game on the mid-North Coast of NSW.

Krambach was forged out of the friendship between George Paterson and Tom Lynch over 65 years ago. George, a non-golfer, had the property and Tom and a small band of friends locally had a keen interest in golf.

The 9-hole course sits on 40 acres of land owned by the Paterson family at the edge of the village of Krambach. A quarter-acre lot was donated for club facilities and a house from Tom Lynch’s property 12 km away was moved on site in 1962.

The club house is now full of history and memorabilia from it’s sixty-five years.

Krambach is a course like no other. A condition of the lease was the continuing right of the Paterson family to graze cattle on rotation on the block.

The greens are fenced with four-strand barbed wire which intrigues first-time visitors. There’s a local rule allowing a free drop from a cow pat and the compulsory replay of any shot that strikes a fence. Golfers do appreciate it when they find the fence gates are placed facing the next tee.

Think about it; Never a wait on the fairway while inconsiderate players retrieve carts and buggies in front of the green. Now, isn’t that a good idea?

Another feature of Krambach is the hospitality of the club and its members. The atmosphere is like no other course I have experienced across metropolitan and regional New South Wales. My first experience of this was at the 2016 Charity Open Day with a field of 70 or more golfers.

Krambach Golf Club

The hour or so before the shot-gun start was an atmosphere closer to a country show than that a golf club event.

Carts were decked out in ways beyond description. Tractors and quad bikes were converted into two and four-person carts and a carnival atmosphere for an hour or so before the start left me regretting I had left my camera at home.

Thousands of dollars were raised that day for the Westpac Air Ambulance.

For all sorts of reasons, the club will close on June 30th, and the last Men’s Open was held on Sunday 21 May.

Open events attract a wide field of visitors and this year was no exception with players from 14 clubs represented: Krambach, Gloucester, Wingham, Taree, Tallwoods, Denman, Walcha, Everglades, Bulahdelah, Karuah, Forster-Tuncurry, Stroud, Kew and Kiama.

Krambach Golf Club

The winner of the Krambach Men’s Open for 2017 was Mark Johnson from Karuah with a scratch score of 67; runner-up was Rod Brown from Wingham (72).

The winner in B grade was Dan Hansen from Forster-Tuncurry (76) two shots ahead of Franz Schubert (Wingham) on 78. In C grade, Michael Coleman (84) from Bulahdelah was the winner taking a count back to edge out David Munday (84) from Stroud.

The honours in the nett events were: A grade: Geoff Matherson (Bulahdelah-66) and Terry Overhall (Forster-Tuncurry-68); B grade: Glen James (Everglades-66) and Paul Muir (Wingham-67); C grade: Rick Hansen (Kiama-62) and Andrew Badham (Krambach-65).

Lining up at the start, I ran into Michael White, a former junior golfer at Krambach and club champion on three occasions. He won the NSW Junior title and represented New South Wales.

He was a contemporary of Jack Newton and Greg Norman at the school for professional training missing the cut there but proceeding to 42 open wins in NSW including wins in the Kogarah Open 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978 and an invitation to the British Open in 1975.

Michael is just one small but significant part of the tradition at this beautiful club.

It was a day not just of good golf but great nostalgia.

Tom Paterson, son of the owner of the land, is now 86 and still plays good golf at Krambach. He has some wonderful memories of the club’s 65 years. Playing in Wellington boots during an unusually wet season in the 1980s, a temporary green created during the few weeks a plover nested on the 5th green, and his first golf lesson from professional Bill Bolger, a former winner of the Australian Open.

Secretary Pam Paff recalled whenever she missed a round of golf she was called at home to see if she was OK!

This kind of concern and welcome was a big part of why she and her husband Ric, the current president, decided to stay in the area.

Krambach’s “last day” will be celebrated on Sunday 25 June with a member’s only day of golf and hospitality for all women, veteran and men golfers.

I am saddened by the thought of the course’s closure, but uplifted by the experience I have had there and heartened by the way the game can adapt to meet the needs of people interested in golf in a multitude of circumstances.

Our great game is to be enjoyed, within the Rules of Golf, in a multitude of ways not always precisely matching that of our metropolitan colleagues.

Vale Royal Krambach!

Update: 

The real “big event” of the final year’s play at Royal Krambach was the Krambach Women’s Open held Friday 9 June.

It seemed that fortune favoured the brave as the course seemed to be the only spot on the mid-north coast without heavy rain overnight and on the day.  Golf NSW Vice Chair Michele Adair, a former resident of Krambach in the sense that she was born there, attended among a throng of women from neighbouring clubs and district associations making it an [almost] full field for the day.  Michele’s association with Krambach extended beyond her initial view of the world to her family’s close relationship with the Paterson family through Verna Paterson, herself a fine single handicapped golfer, and a lifelong friend of Michele’s mum. 

The results of the final women’s open at Krambach were:  In A grade the winner was G Randall of Gloucester with 33 points on a count back; runner up was B Gordon [Bulahdelah] (33) and in 3rd place E Moore[Krambach] (32); in B grade B Bisbey [Wingham] (34) was winner with Secretary P Paff [Krambach] (31) runner up and A Jones[Forster-Tuncurry] (29) was third.  In C grade the winner was C Jennens [Harrington Waters] with 33 points with K Sellings [Harrington Waters] (31) runner up on a count back from P Burrows [Gloucester] (31).

20 November 2018
ANTILL PARK: Medley: Stableford 2B Agg: White: K Mcgreavey (20) A Buchan (36) 79. 2B Scr: J Warren D Tindall 62. A: N Warren (7) 40. B: H Sewalt (18) ... more
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