Judgeford  Ara Totara - Pathway of Totaras
The Early Settlement
The first settlement in the area began in the 1840's when two families who were passengers on the first five immigrant sailing ships to leave England for New Zealand, decided to settle there.  One of the first permanent homes built in the area stood close to Pauatahanui Stream and was owned by Alfred Judge, an Englishman who settled in New Zealand in 1848.
There were no bridges in those early days and the nearby ford quickly became known as 'Judges Ford'.  The area and its surrounding valley was originally named Pauatahanui Small Farms District but the simplicity of the new name caught on and 'Judgeford' was born.
In the 1870's Judge sold the property to Steven Flighty who renamed the Homestead 'Flightys Homestead', a name which endured for many years.
In the late 1800's Judgeford supported a school, cricket, tennis and golf clubs, a creamery, a rest home and two saw mills.  The Flighty family set up a registered AA camping ground bringing in some old buses and tram bodies which became permanent batches.
The Beginning
In 1932 Alfred Flighty developed a public golf links and clubhouse on his property.  He set green fees at two shillings per round and employed an all purpose caretaker and green-keeper.  Interest in golf at Judgeford grew rapidly amongst locals and Wellingtonians who wanted a golfing day out in the country.  The camp ground and especially the batches were extremely popular with families who would spend regular weekends golfing at Judgeford.
Inevitably, it didn't take too long before a group of serious golfers got together and rented the land from the Flighty family to form the Judgeford Country Golf Club.  The club prospered, becoming a popular weekend retreat.  Mrs Flighty's delicious afternoon teas, usually served from the Homestead or in the garden during the Summer months, fast became a highlight of the special hospitality offered at Judgeford.
The War Years
The outbreak of war, combined with petrol rationing, had a profound effect on the Country Club's membership. The clubhouse was pressed into military use as a headquarters for the New Zealand Homeguard.  The Third Wellington Regiment was the first unit stationed there with officers quartered in the clubhouse.  The company was described as GVPS - guarding vital points.
The site was used as a military camp for 3,800 American troops destined for service in the Pacific theatre.  Separate camps in the local district at Titahi Bay, Plimmerton, Paremata, Moonshine and Judgeford housed 5,000 marines.  The 18th Engineers and the 10th Marine Auxiliary continued to use the camp and training area at Judgeford until they were repatriated in 1946.
A simple plaque, located on the left just inside the main entrance to the club, provides a permanent reminder of the American presence. It reads: "On this site stood a major camp for the Armed Forces of the United States of America, engaged in the Pacific during World War II".
The "new" Golf Club
As life returned to normal following the war, people's thoughts slowly turned to the prospect of playing golf again.  Alfred Flighty took the initiative and suggested to campers and friends that they should consider the formation of a 'proper' golf club to be located on his property.
A foundation meeting of the club was held on 17 April 1949 and the decision to form the New Judgeford Golf Club was taken.  The prefix 'New' was deliberately used in the title to differentiate the 'new' club from any pre-war clubs which had existed in the district.
Initially membership remained static at below 200 until the early 1960's when golf and membership of golf clubs exploded. This boom was the result of people watching the skills of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. These three players internationalised the game with their achievements beamed into homes through television coverage.  The explosive growth of golf during this period resulted in most of the major Hutt Valley clubs having to close their membership lists.  Judgeford attracted many aspiring golfers who had been wait-listed at these clubs.  The club introduced a unique disc draw system that allowed players to play in competitions without the need to pre-arrange playing partners and to arrive ten minutes prior to the start of the round. This proved to be a powerful magnet in attracting new members to Judgeford and remains in place today.
It was some years before the club's dream of sole ownership of the land was realised. In 1983 the accounts of Judgeford Holdings and Judgeford Investments were combined and the club effectively took one hundred percent ownership of the land.
How the Course Developed
To the credit of a small band of loyal volunteers, a nine hole course was constructed from the ravages of nature and the military occupation of the space during the war years.  Volunteers spent endless hours clearing debris to enable the real work of laying out the course to commence. Originally the natural terrain included swamps, bull rushes, knee high grass and manuka presenting strong challenges in terms of moulding a course layout.

Clearing of the remains of the military camp had left a legacy of concrete foundations from permanent buildings with pieces of concrete and stones littering the land.  Today, some of those concrete foundations remain in use as buttresses for the banks of the creek at various points around the course.

Some advantage was taken of the pre-war layout in developing new tees and greens. Once installed, greens were protected by wire fences to save them from wandering sheep from nearby farmland and balls were teed up on most fairways.
The course opened with a par 4, followed by five par 3's.  The seventh hole introduced some distance, played as a par 5 similar to the current Longlands hole off the White tees.The course was completed with two par 3's.
Although compact and short by today's standards, the nine hole course provided a real challenge in the immediate post-war era when golf technology didn't provide the average golfer with the same benefits players enjoy today.
However, it wasn't long before a full 18 hole course was under development and the fact that this transition to an 18 hole course was made so quickly is testament to the energy and drive of the early members of the Club.
To achieve this transformation, working bees armed with scythes, sickles, cutters and various agricultural implements spent endless weekends digging drains, marking and cutting out the tees and greens and clearing new tracts of land.  However, drainage and sump holes, combined with residual metal that had provided parade grounds, roads and concrete floors for the Military Camp during the war years were in evidence around the proposed course layout - these man-made hazards presented as obstacles that had to be overcome.
Despite the conscientious efforts of members, it soon became apparent that the club needed permanent greens staff to continue further, more advanced course development work.
For the first thirty years or so of the Club's existence, progress in course development relied heavily on sheer hard physical work. Modern technology has made available a range of mechanical, chemical and scientific aids to the modern green-keeper which his counterpart from years ago could not have envisaged.
There have been many subsequent changes to the course layout since those pioneering days, but the pattern of the course layout of 12 holes on the South side of SH58 and the other 6 holes across the road had been set then and remains to the present day.
Today's course is approximately 5,582m long with plenty of scope for further growth. Over the past twenty years pure quality has been added to the course layout in terms of improved teeing grounds and better fairways and greens.
Course beautification is an ongoing project that relies heavily on the members who volunteer their time and expertise to create an enjoyable golfing environment. We are fortunate to have a growing number of members who are prepared to become involved in this area and we are grateful for their continued efforts to ensure Judgeford delivers a truly special golfing experience for members and visitors.
Our Reputation
The Club is renowned as being one of the most hospitable clubs in the Wellington Region with an extremely friendly atmosphere, both on the course and in the clubhouse. This has remained one of the key characteristics that has ensured continued growth of club membership throughout the past sixty years.

Since the opening of the Club, members have donated a range of trophies which make up the playing programme. Many of the people who contributed to our trophy cabinet have passed, but their history and contribution to Judgeford lives on in these trophies which  remain an integral part of the Club’s program today.

The history and photographs shown here were compiled for the website by Lyn Farnsworth with contributions from Kevin Arthurs, Fay Johnstone, Enid Turner and John Wilce. The Club is very grateful to these members for creating the content which allows us to preserve our history in this way.