The history of Ipswich Golf Club
The club was founded in 1895 on common land at nearby Rushmere Heath. It was not until 31 years later that legendary golf course architect James Braid designed the course at its present site at Purdis Heath.
The official opening of the course took place on Saturday, June 16, 1928 with an exhibition match between Braid himself, fellow founder member of the PGA J.H Taylor, Abe Mitchell and a talented young golfer by the name of Henry Cotton - who went on to win three Open Championships.
A large gallery of spectators gathered to watch the event, including a Daily Telegraph reporter who was struck by 'this beautiful heath and heathery course.'
The orginal site of Ipswich Golf Club remains and is now occupied by Rushmere Golf Club and the two remain friendly rivals, reflected in an annual contest for the Queensland Cup - affectionately dubbed The Friendship Cup.
The club was incorporated on 1st January 2017.
Founding father and petrol pioneer
James Edward Ransome (1839 - 1905) made a name for himself in more ways than one. Not only was he elected founder chairman/captain of Ipswich Golf Club in its inaugural year of 1895, he was also the man behind the first petrol-driven lawnmower and agricultural tractor.
Ransome, along with two others, Arthur Pearce (1850 - 1915) and Alexander Gibb (1840 - 1925), did so much to get the club off the ground, securing the lease for the land at Rushmere for the first Ipswich course.
The club's first trophy - played for on Boxing Day 1895 - bears his name and, as the Ransome Cup, is still an annual Boxing Day fixture on the Ipswich Golf Club men's calendar.
The name Ransome is also known the world over as the manufacturer of high-quality grass-cutting machinery. Now part of the Textron group, the company still operates in Ipswich and is a key player in turf-care equipment.
The founders of Ipswich Golf Club seem to have taken a more enlightened view of the lady golfers than many others of their generation.
Not only were women welcome to join the club at half-price but, right from the start, they were given their own room, forward tees were built at the long holes after the first men’s monthly medal in September 1895 the first mixed competition was held in October. These mixed events have become established as a traditional element of the Purdis Calendar, with a dozen or so such competitions continuing to be held each year.
In the early days, however, the formation of a ladies section was not immediate and there was some dismay among the men at the apparent reluctance of the ladies to form their own section – despite repeated invitations.
Finally, in January 1901, the ladies formed a committee and Miss Winifred Hicks was elected as the first Lady Captain.