Brisbane’s 1896 Club Reciprocals


Planning to take a well-earned trip to the United Kingdom and Ireland, and thinking of taking the golf sticks but baulking at reports of expensive rounds of golf at some of the more historic clubs?

Well, hesitate no longer. Not about making golf the highlight of the adventure, anyway.

By virtue of its date of birth and top 100 ranking, The Brisbane Golf Club has recently become a member of Club 1896, a reciprocal arrangement between participating golf clubs, all of which were founded in the year 1896.

And the agreement means that as a member of BGC, golfers will be extended the same rights to these reciprocal clubs as they are entitled to at home – which means no extravagant green fees are paid.

But not only are green fees waived, but a reciprocal member is entitled to invite guests who will be required to pay guest rates, yet at the cost of member-introduced visitor green fees. In fact, a visiting member is even eligible to enter minor golf competitions conducted by the host club.

The only proof of membership required for a visiting member is an introductory letter and identification. However, it is preferable that a letter of introduction is sent to the visiting club prior to arrival.

BGC was invited to join CLUB 1896 just prior to COVID-19, and member clubs – in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, The Isle of Wight, USA and Australia – numbers 19.

Former BGC Board member Gerry O’Shaughnessy led the review, and recommended BGC join Club 1896 after exploring what was the ‘brainchild’ of Alan Thompson, then Captain of Northern Ireland-based Helen’s Bay Golf Club.

“Alan had written to our club inviting us to join, and because I hail from Ireland our CEO Geoff Kuehner entrusted me with the responsibility of investigating,” Gerry revealed.

“As fate would have it, shortly after we received the invitation to join, I attended the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush, and while there caught up with Alan. He hosted myself and two other BGC members, Tim Buckett and Steve Kluss, and we played the first game under our new reciprocal arrangement at Helen’s Bay.”

Gerry explained that the fallout from Covid had restricted progress of the agreement on both sides of the world, but said several BGC members had recently taken the opportunity to utilise their reciprocal rights in the UK.

“And I am heading back for a visit in a few weeks. I will be taking my clubs and hope to play at a couple of our reciprocal courses,” he added.

Member clubs of CLUB 1896 are:

Scotland – Aberdour Golf Club (Fife), Gourock Golf Club (Paisley); England – Baildon Golf Club (Shipley), Came Down Golf Club (Dorset), Edgbaston Golf Club (Birmingham); The Herefordshire Golf Club, Leeds Golf Club, Rawdon Golf and Tennis Club (Leeds), Shipley Golf Club (Bingle), Stone Golf Club (Staffordshire), Maidenhead Golf Club (Berkshire); Northern Ireland – Enniskillen Golf Club (Fermanagh), Helen’s Bay Golf Club (Down); Ireland – Greenore Golf Club (Louth); Wales – Pennard Golf Club (Sweansea); Isle of Wight – Newport Golf Club; USA – Country Club of Greenfield, Bass Rocks Golf Club (Gloucester) ; Australia – The Brisbane Golf Club. – TONY DURKIN