The first golf club opened in Australia back in 1839 when a wealthy merchant called Alexander Brodie Spark and his friends played a game at Grose Farm, located on an area of land that now forms part of Sydney. The group went on to found the New South Wales Golf Club at the farm in June of that year but it didn’t last long and it closed shortly afterwards. It is believed the golf course that Spark and his friends created was influenced by the English Royal Blackheath Golf Club.
Since then, the sport has gone from strength to strength, with some clubs claiming to be in continuous operation since the late 19th century. Just some 60 years later, in 1954 Peter Thomson became the first Australian to win the Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Since this victory, there have been 26 other victories in major championships by Australian men and women.
As popularity of the sport has grown, golf has also become a popular sport to wager on, with betting companies providing attractive offers to new customers to persuade them to sign up. Websites such as Oddschecker provide a comparison of these offers to allow customers to find the best option.
Here is a look at some of the all-time greatest golfers from Australia:
Eleven Australian men have won a major golfing tournament in the game’s entire history. Three of those men have won more than one tournament, but only Peter Thomson has won five! He is also the only golfer to have ever won a major in three consecutive years, which he achieved by winning The Open in 1954, 1955 and 1956.
At the time, some questions were raised about his true ability when compared to some other international players as his Open wins in 1954-56 were in competitions held in the United Kingdom. At this time, professional players from the United States were not generally entering competitions in the UK because the prize money was not sufficient enough for them to be able to cover their expenses for entering. This, therefore, meant that Thomson did not compete against the top American players when he won.
However, in 1965 Thomson silenced these critics by winning again, but this time against a field of players that included ones from the US. He had also had great success in competitions within the United States, including a fourth place finish at the US Open and victory in the Texas International Open in 1956.
He later went on to win the Senior PGA Tour in the US and the British PGA Seniors Championship. Between 1962 and 1994 Thomas was the president of the Australian PGA, he was a golf writer for over 50 years, and he has designed more than 100 golf courses, both in Australia and throughout the world. In recognition of these extraordinary achievements, Thomson was awarded the Order of Australia and a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II.
David Graham is one of the two other male Australian players to win multiple major championships, with a victory in the 1979 PGA Championship and the 1981 US Open Championship. He also won another 6 tournaments on the PGA Tour before retiring in 2004. Graham is a truly international champion, winning events on six continents, including nine Australian Tour Wins, 1 European Tour win, and a Japan Golf Tour Win.
Outside of individual competitions, Graham also entered a number of team competitions. He represented Australia at the 1970 and 1971 World Cups, and for three years at the Dunhill cup in 1985, 1986 and 1988, where they won two of the three years. He also represented the continent of Australasia in both 1985 and 1986.
Like Thomson, Graham was awarded the Order of Australia in 1988 in recognition of his services to sport. He has also been inducted to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Peter Thomson may be the most decorated male player from Australia, but the player with the most major wins is Karrie Webb. She has a total of seven major victories:
- 1999 du Maurier Classic
- 2000 Kraft Nabisco Championship
- 2000 US Women’s Open
- 2001 LPGA Championship
- 2001 US Women’s Open
- 2002 Women’s British Open
- 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship
Having had a lot of success as an amateur, Webb began her professional career in 1994 when she played on the Ladies European Tour, and the US Futures Tour. The following year she won the Weetabix Women’s British Open, becoming the youngest ever winner.
Her success meant she qualified for entry to the World Golf Hall of Game in 2000, but had to wait until 2005 to be able to be inducted as she had not yet played ten LPGA Tour events in ten seasons. She entered the Hall of Fame aged 30, the youngest ever living person to do so, although she lost this title to Se Ri Pak two years later. With an impressive total of 41 LPGA Tour Victories to her name, she currently ranks joint 10th on the all time list of career LPGA tournament wins.
Like her male colleagues, Webb was awarded the Order of Australia in 2018 in recognition of her service to golf, acting as a role model and mentor, and her help in the development of female golfers. It was also granted in recognition of her contribution to charitable and community organisations. She was recently given the William and Mousie Powell Award. This award is given to the player who exemplifies the values and spirit of the LPGA, with the winner selected through a vote by LPGA Tour members.
There are many great Australian golfers, with players on both the men’s and women’s circuits achieving great success. With a total of 7 major victories to her name, Karrie Webb is the most successful Australian player of all time. Peter Thomson is close behind, but over his longer career made a broader contribution to the sport. This saw him writing about golf, playing golf, leading the governing body in Australia and designing courses throughout the world over a span of 50 years.