Vern Morcom

Full Name
Hedley Vernon Morcom
Year of Birth
1900
Year of Death
1976 (aged 75)
Place Born
Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
Place Died
Beaumaris, Victoria, Australia

In 'A Round Forever' by John Scarth, Mike Clayton wrote in the foreword: “Vern Morcom was clearly one of the most highly regarded men in Australia’s golfing community and aside from his full-time employment at Kingston Heath, was a prolific consultant to golf clubs and was engaged to design, modify or construct numerous golf courses throughout Australia.”

Michael (“Mick”) Allen Morcom was born in 1876 then raised in the Victorian gold rush town of Stawell, He was married in his early 20s to Alice Kleeberger and in 1898 their first son, Afton, was born. Two years later, after moving to Bendigo, Vern became a younger brother to Afton.

Mick was working for J.W. Horsfall, who was appointed head greenkeeper for Royal Melbourne in 1902, and he brought Mick with him to the club as an assistant. Horsfall only lasted three years in the position, which was then offered to Mick. He would remain in post for thirty years.

By the end of World War I, Vern was working for his father at Royal Melbourne during the day and studying at night for a Diploma in Electrical Engineering. He also played golf to a high standard, playing off a handicap of +1, winning the club championship at nearby Royal Park Golf Club in 1924 and 1925.

On completing his Diploma, Vern worked as a building and fencing contractor, taking on jobs where possible for his father’s firm, M.A. Morcom and Son, with local councils and golf clubs which needed help regarding course design, construction and maintenance.

He never saw himself as a course architect as that was never his primary occupation. His full-time job – one that lasted four decades – was as head greenkeeper at Kingston Heath, which Dan Soutar had designed. Alister MacKenzie drew up a bunkering plan for the course in 1926 and Mick Morcom’s company won the contract to implement the changes.

As Mick was busy at the time with the new West course at Royal Melbourne, Vern was enlisted to work on the Kinston Heath bunker project in June of 1927 (the same year that he was married to Dorothy Agatha Wall...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Vern Morcom

Anglesea

79th Victoria - Best in Area

The original 9-hole course at Anglesea Golf Club was designed by Vern Morcom in 1953, with another nine added eight years later. When a further 82 acres were acquired, Gus Jackson and Jock Whillans redesigned the new layout in 1968.

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Barossa Valley

20th South Australia - Best in Area

Located 5 kilometres north of Nuriootpa, the 18-hole layout at Barossa Valley Golf Club is a Vern Morcom design from the early 1960s which was built when the club moved from its previous location.

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Blackwood

15th South Australia - Best in Area

Blackwood Golf Club was founded in 1920 with members having use of a 9-hole course at McTaggerts, around two kilometres south of Blackwood. The course closed in 1959 and the club moved to temporary accommodation at the National Park in Belair pending a permanent relocation.

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Average Reviewers Score:
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Cobram Barooga (Old)

28th New South Wales - Best in Area

Located north of Melbourne on the Murray River, Cobram Barooga Golf Club is a 36-hole operation featuring the Old course and newer West course. The club offers extensive stay and play packages for visiting golfers using the on-site facilities.

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Curlewis

35th Victoria - Best in Area 91st Australia Ranking

Situated on the Bellarine Peninsula, just over an hour’s drive from downtown Melbourne, the sandy soiled fairways at Curlewis Golf Club overlook the sparkling waters of Corio Bay.

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Devonport

10th Tasmania - Best in Area

Devonport Golf Club was established in 1921, with golfers playing around the area of Victoria Parade, next to the mouth of the River Mersey. The club then moved a couple of kilometres across the river to East Devonport, where the first official monthly medal was held on a 9-hole course in 1925.

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Gisborne

97th Victoria - Best in Area

Gisborne Golf Club moved in 1946 to “Brady’s Paddock,” where Vern Morcom set out a new 18-hole course for the club. Although major alterations were made to the layout in the late 1960s and early 1970s, thirteen of the original holes remain.

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Glenelg

3rd South Australia - Best in Area 40th Australia Ranking 57th Oceania Ranking

Today’s course at Glenelg Golf Club has been completely transformed to keep pace with the demands of the modern game and the set of holes around the turn are probably the strongest...

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Grange (East)

5th South Australia - Best in Area 59th Australia Ranking 63rd Oceania Ranking

The East course at the Grange Golf Club came of age twenty years after it opened when a fresh faced, 21 year old professional named Greg Norman won the West Lakes Classic...

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Vern Morcom Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Peter Wood Courses Played 22
= Geoffrey Steer Courses Played 22
3 Brendan James Courses Played 16
4 Scarlett Courses Played 15
= Gregory Kuriata Courses Played 15
6 Kevin P Courses Played 13
7 Ian Greenwood Courses Played 12
8 Wayne Moriarty Courses Played 10
9 Rita Petrovs Courses Played 9
10 Peter Martin Courses Played 7