Unexploded World War II shell might be buried under golf course

Royal Sydney Golf Club
Don't take too deep a divot at Royal Sydney, say two historians, because a bomb might be buried under there.

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Friday, February 01, 2013 | 4:05 p.m.

To most of us, bombing away on the golf course is a good thing. Unless, that is, you’re playing at Royal Sydney Golf Club.

After researching a new book, historians Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers believe that an unexploded Japanese World War II shell might be buried under the eighth hole of the Centenary Course at the prestigious Australian golf complex.

Japanese submarines shelled Sydney back in 1942, and the researchers unearthed a photo of a golf course superintendent holding the live nose fuse of a Japanese shell discovered at the course in 1996, according to the Wentworth Courier newspaper. However, the paper said, bomb disposal records indicate that the search for the shell was abandoned.

"That's what triggered our research, our journey," Carruthers told the newspaper. "If the nose fuse is there, where's the shell?"

Club officials notified the explosives ordnance division of the Australian Defence Department, but they said no action was needed at this time.

"The club has sought expert advice in this matter," Royal Sydney said in a statement. "If the club is advised that underground exploration should be undertaken, the club will act immediately."

Carruthers, a navy historian by trade, agreed that the odds of anything happening with the shell, should it be buried on the course, are small.

"There is no reason for people in the eastern suburbs or for the club to be panicked about this research work," he said. "The chances of anything happening with that shell are incalculable."