The game of golf had its beginnings in the Illawarra District towards the end of the 19th century. However, it was not until June 15, 1932 that officials of the four existing and active clubs in the area, namely Kiama, Nowra, Port Kembla and Wollongong, met at Tory's Hotel at Kiama to form what was to be known as the Illawarra District Golf Association.
The first President was Dr Jackson, a member of the Wollongong Golf Club, which is the oldest golf club still a member of the association, being established in 1898.
In the Southern Highlands, research has revealed that the Moss Vale and Bowral Recreation Club was formed in 1894 with a course at Burradoo.
The Illawarra District Golf Association was extended in 1975 to cover the four clubs operating in the Southern Highlands, at that time.
In 2013, the Illawarra District Golf Association changed its name to Golf Illawarra.
Currently, there are 22 golf clubs affiliated with Golf Illawarra which, in turn, is an affiliated member of Golf NSW.
The oldest competition still conducted is the White Horse Cup which commenced in 1934 with a cup donated by Dalgety & Co. for interclub competition. The first competition was won by the Kiama Golf Club.