In the beginning

Elanora is an Aboriginal word meaning “home by the sea”. It is true that the original inhabitants of this country seldom made a fixed abode, but the name is appropriate for the Country Club that has acted as a home from home to its members for seventy five years. A golf course, and especially a Country Club holds something that is precious – a bond of union and friendship that one associates with a happy united family. The members of Elanora are conscious of a family pride in its origin and early development.

The Elanora Country Club was formed on 19th October 1928 when the first meeting of the Committee took place. The first nine holes were opened on 29th May 1929 and the second nine in 1930. Elanora was developed as a Country Club with social and recreational facilities but golf was to provide the main sporting interest. As part of a real estate development it was anticipated that many members would choose to live nearby so as to enjoy the facilities of the Club especially in their retirement.

A special place

The founder, Brigadier T. A. (John) Playfair built his home in this area and the Club remains as a memorial to his enterprise and personality. An old wooden house was leased to serve as a temporary Clubhouse until the new and present Clubhouse was built and opened on 7th May 1938 . The site chosen for Elanora has panoramic views of the coastline north of Sydney but the original land was rocky and hilly and covered with stunted vegetation. The Members came mainly from the Eastern Suburbs and the long journey did not deter them especially on the weekends. The social functions and Sunday luncheons were overflowing. The concept of having a Country Club associated with residential homes for its Members attracted great interest but the developers and the Club were soon faced with a great economic depression and only two homes were built. During the later years of the War Elanora became a popular resort for the officers of American forces and for those of the British Navy stationed in Sydney.

Water conservation

On the Course, water has always been essential. Perhaps never so much as at present. Originally water was pumped from Powder Works Creek on the Club’s property to storage tanks and reticulated there. From dams like the extension of Powder Works Dam (1946), 2nd green dam (1958), 7th fairway dam (1971) all provided water along with the Clubhouse being connected to the Water Board in 1958.

The new 86 megalitre dam built in 2000 was designed to meet Elanora’s requirements even under the most severe drought conditions and has served the Club well under the current unpredictable weather patterns. As part of the new course reconstruction a number of wetlands, 5th and 14th, were constructed to meet environmental requirements associated with excess run off and chemical breakdown. Further fairway drainage has been installed to assist with both overall drainage and better catchment.


At the Annual General meeting in July 2000 the members of Elanora voted for and approved the Master Plan which addressed the major safety issues of the course with the inclusion of a completely new 17th hole and a different order of play for the second nine holes. The significant changes on the first nine, were that the 6th hole became a par five while the 7th became a par three with the intent of creating more balance between the front and back nines. All fairways were grassed with couch and all greens rebuilt and grassed with a hybrid A1 bent grass. A substantial practice facility was also included which saw the first and ninth holes being reversed. Environmental wetlands were also part of the plan.

Work began on the back nine in March 2002 and opened for play in May 2003. Work on the front nine began in December 2003 and opened in April 2004 and became the focus of the Club’s seventy fifth anniversary celebrations in May 2004. The members celebrated with great enthusiasm and the new course has allowed them to enjoy even further the natural beauty of Elanora’s special setting or a Home By The Sea.