The formal organisation of golf began in Hastings in 1898, when a group of men got together and formed the Frimley Golf Club.
It appears there was a golf club existing already, as the newly formed committee decided to "recommence play on the old golf grounds". The membership was anticipated to be "about 40".
In order to capitalise on the popularity of golf, Mr A Hyde advertised that his Station St (now Russell St North) store would be selling golf goods specially selected by "Mr Wilson, one of New Zealand's champion players".
While drivers and putters are still terms used today, other golf clubs for sale by Mr Hyde were described as Niblics (nine iron), lofters (eight iron), brassie (wood no 2 golf club), Mashie (irons three to seven), Cleek (driving iron).
Ladies were catered for with a supply of "mashies".
Caddie's bags (golf bag) were also listed for sale, and it appears based on an advertisement by the golf club, that people were sought to carry clubs around the course for the players.
In 1901, the course shifted to Whakatu.
As many early golf courses relied on the generosity of land owners, Mr Crosse gave use of the land for a course in Whakatu. At that time, the club's name was changed to the Hastings Golf Club, which remains today.
In 1908 the course shifted to the Southland Rd area due to the generosity of Charles Mackersey to use his land. The club removed the club house from Whakatu and placed it on the new course.
When Charles sold his land the club in 1909 once again looked for a new location.
William Nelson, meat baron and local benefactor, came to the rescue, and gave the use of his land for a course in the Twyford area.
The club, looking for stability in developing a course, were in 1911 offered land to purchase on easy terms from Edward Watt from his Longlands estate. They agreed to his easy repayment terms for 156 acres (63ha). This land was then described as a "howling wilderness of sand and pumice".
Edward Watt would also finance the clubhouse for the course that would become known as the Bridge Pa.
Napier Golf Club's "professional" Mr H Steward was asked to design the course and be supervised by leading New Zealand golfer W B Shrimpton, who would be employed as the "coach".
In May 1912, club president John Beatson hit the first ball off the number one tee.
Before irrigation was installed, the golf course was a dusty track and unplayable during the summer months.
However, with hard work from greenkeepers and club members, by 1947 the Hastings Golf Club's course at Bridge Pā was able apply to host the New Zealand Golf Championships.
In September 1949, the club hosted this tournament with the pā 73, 6219-yard (5687m) course described as "lying on light pumice country". The fairways were "almost entirely of goose grass".
The course, however, was then described as one of the best in New Zealand.
A national first occurred at this tournament when the Hastings Golf Club became the first in New Zealand to have a liquor licence granted for a national championship. For the six days of the tournament, a bar was set up in a "large marquee" near the club house.
In the early 1960s, Sir James Wattie was asked by friend, and noted Australian golfer, Peter Thomson, to sponsor a golf tournament in the name of his company at the Hastings Golf Club course.
Established players like Bob Charles and young and yet unknown players, such as Tony Jacklin from Britain, Graham Marsh and Bruce Devlin from Australia, would play in the tournament which went from 1963 to 1970 (1969 played in Gisborne).
Bob Charles of New Zealand, who had the won a major championship at the British Open in 1963, would win the tournament four times, including the year of this his most famous victory.
His best form would be at the 1966 tournament.
During the final round, news filtered through to Bob on the 10th green that Tony Jacklin of Britain was "burning up the course" after completing nine holes, and now had a one stroke lead over him.
Shooting a 28 with seven consecutive birdies on the back nine holes by Bob left Tony Jacklin six shots behind. Tony Jacklin would later describe Bob's seven one putt birdies by saying "He's a freak."
Hastings Golf Club member the late Stuart Jones, described as New Zealand's greatest amateur player, won the Wattie's tournament in 1965 for a popular win when he won the tournament by two strokes in a field including top professional golfers.
In 1970, president Roy Skittrup initiated a plan to alter the course to provide the two even nine holes of golf which exist today.
The course was continually improved since that time and has hosted very major national championship and today remains one of New Zealand's top golf courses.
(Disclaimer: Michael Fowler is a Hastings Golf Club member).
Michael Fowler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a contract researcher, and writer of Hawke's Bay history.