In 2008, New Kuta Golf Club’s General Manager, Stephen Banks, started a Saturday afternoon competition with the aim of selling memberships for the recently opened golf course. This later changed to a game on Friday afternoon.
The regulars in the early days included Banks, Tony Smith, John Sampson, Putu Mahendra, Craig Steeples & David Campbell – several of whom are still members of our Club.
Sir Stamford Raffles had a significant association with Indonesia before becoming the founder of modern Singapore. His name adorns many landmarks and edifices in SE Asia, including streets, schools, an MRT station, parks, a hotel and city squares. So the name Raffles Golf Club was deemed appropriate for this new initiative.
Raffles was not really a constituted Club in the early days, it was more of a gathering of players getting together to enjoy some golf and amber refreshments at the end of each round (and during the round as well). At the end of that first day, Stephen presented the winner with a small prize (worth about Rp20,000).
The weekly winner thereafter would provide the next week’s prize. The first ever winner was current Club stalwart Putu Mahendra, whose substantially better trophy for the second week set a higher bar for following winners.
In early 2009, the numbers of Raffles players grew as more people joined NKG Club, and the need was felt for a more structured association. As a result, John Sampson, Tony Smith, Jon Dean, Mark Watson, Roland O’Neill and Risto Poskiparta moved to set up a slightly more organised weekly event and started selling Raffles memberships costing about Rp200,000.
There was no official committee in those days, but player numbers were growing by ‘word of mouth’. The core organisers decided to formalise the group.
Raffles Golf Bali was begun with an inaugural Annual Meeting in July 2009. The elected Board was headed by Risto Poskiparta as President and Mark Watson as Club Captain.
A Mission Statement, By-Laws & a web site followed. More games weekly were held at New Kuta & discounted rates were negotiated at other Bali golf clubs. In 3 years the Raffles Membership base grew to over 700.