Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland
 Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland


Portsoy  Golf Club. Instituted 1896. A 9-hole course on the Muir of Arnbath, about a mile from the town. 

Aberdeen Journal December 26th 1895

Part of Article


Portsoy, as a coast town, attracts a large number of summer visitors, and last year the demand for accommodation was at times exceedingly brisk. The inhabitants, however, fully realise that provisions must be made for the comfort of their visitors, and a public committee, under the chairmanship of Provost Grant, has been appointed during the year to have seats erected at suitable places, and to improve the bathing stations near the town. It may be mentioned that a very successful series of entertainments given by the Literary Society this season has been the means of contributing largely to the funds of the Improvement Committee. Next year a bazaar is to be held to provide a lawn tennis court, a bowling green, and a golf course, and there will doubtless offer further attractions for holiday hunters.

Formation Of Club


   "At a public meeting held on Thursday night in Portsoy it was resolved to form a golf club.

   The following office bearers were appointed:- Captain, Provost Grant; Treasurer, Mr George G. McRobie, Merchan ; Secretary, John Rattie, Accountant; Committee – Messrs William Ewing, James Young, W.D. Murray, James Angus, Rev. A.M. Gibson And Dr Stewart.

   It was resolved to improve the course during the winter months. 

  (AJ 3. 10.1896)

   “Yesterday  Portsoy  golf course was formally opened in changeable weather in presence of over 700 people. 

   The course has been formed by public subscription as part of an improvement scheme to attract visitors.  It is one of nine holes, situated at Arnbath Hill, a mile from town.

   Mrs Gibson, the Manse, Portsoy, struck off the first ball, and was presented with the club used. 

   A competition took place, for which nineteen entered.  The local gold medal went to Mr Clark with 58 strokes.  Best scores in open competition:- W. Duffus, Cullen,49; J. Simpson, Cullen, 50; W. Macdonald, Buckie, 54.”    (S 23.7.1896)

Opening Of Portsoy Golf Course


   “Portsoy was en fete yesterday on the occasion of the opening of the new golf course on the Muir Of Arnbath, which is situated about a mile from the town. The golf course, it will be remembered, has been provided through the exertions of the improvements committee, presided over by Provost Grant, as an inducement for visitors to take up their residence in Portsoy during the summer months.

   The course, which has nine holes, has been laid out by a well known professional, and, although there may be some difficulty in the future in checking the growth of the “ Whins” upon it, which have this season been bent close to the ground, it will be a pleasant one to play over. Being situated on high ground, and not far removed from the sea, the air is bracing, and a magnificent view of the Moray Firth, with the Caithness Hills in the distance, is obtainable.

   The opening ceremony took place in the afternoon, when a procession of inhabitants, old and young, was marshalled in the square, and to the strains of the town brass band, under the leadership of their bandmaster, Sergt – Major Russell, marched to the Hill Of Arnbath, where a number of people had already gathered. The morning had been somewhat showery, and it was feared that the afternoon would not be at all fine. However, the weather cleared, and the march out was enjoyed by all who took part in it. On arriving at the course, the opening ceremony was performed by Mrs Gibson (wife of Rev. A. Gibson) driving off the first ball.

   Among those present at the ceremony were:- Provost Grant, Portsoy; Ex Provost Clark, Portsoy; Rev. A.M. Gibson and Mrs Gibson; Mr W. McLean, the Schoolhouse, Porstsoy; Mr J. McLean; Mr James Young, Solicitor; Mr James Macdonald, Enginee ; Rev. J.W. Street, F.C. Manse; Rev. W. Simmers, U.P. Manse; Rev. G. Sutherland, The Parsonage; Rev. Mr Wood, Buckie; Mr G. Seivright, Cullen; Dr Stewart, Portsoy; Mr and Mrs Gillan, Mountpleasant; Mr J. Peterkin, Mr J. McDonald, Solicitor, Buckie; Mr G. Innes, Schoolhouse, Fordyce; Captain Jack, Portsoy; Mr A. Ballie, Supervisor; Mr J. Guthrie, Portsoy; Mr James Smith, Grain Merchant; Mr R. Milne, Portsoy; and Mr and Mrs McRobbie, Portsoy.

   Provost Grant in asking Mrs Gibson to perform the ceremony, said that they had now completed the first item in their improvement programme of three events. Having referred to the fine bracing situation of the course, he went on to say that there were those present who knew already whether that was a good course or not.

   The reasons why Mrs Gibson had been asked to perform the ceremony were, first, because she had been convenor of the ladies committee at the recent bazaar, where she had done so much ; and, secondly, because she was the wife of one of their secretaries, Rev. Mr Gibson. (Applause)

   Mrs Gibson, then, amid loud and continued applause, drove off the first ball.

Provost Grant again stepped forward and asked her to accept of a ladies golf driver, as a memento of the ceremony which she had just performed.

Mrs Gibson gracefully accepted the club, and bowed her acknowledgement of the gift.

   A number of golfers residing in Portsoy then entered a competition for a gold medal, while a number of outsiders took part in a tournament. The wind and weather were favourable, and the players had an enjoyable afternoon, although, as already mentioned, it was found that the course would require a good deal of playing over before the turf would be sufficiently hardened. At the conclusion it was found that the medallist was Mr Clark, Portsoy, with a score of 58, while the second was Mr McLean with 66 ; and the third, Provost Grant with 74.

   For the outsiders tournament, Mr W. Duffus, Cullen, was first with a score of 49, and Mr Simpson, Cullen, second with a score of 50, while Mr Macdonald, Buckie, was third with 54, and Mr Wood and Dr Duffus, tied (Fourth) with 55.

   During the afternoon athletic sports took place in a field adjoining the course, and about five o’clock, an excellent tea was served. Music was supplied by the string band of Mr Pirie, Hilton. At the conclusion of the picnic, the gold medal won by Mr Clark, was presented to him by Provost Grant.

   It is estimated that no fewer than 700 persons were present during the afternoon.”

   (AJ 23.7.1896)

Aberdeen Journal June 4th 1902

Our Summer Resorts



This small item was taken from a much larger article with the above heading.

Chief among the attractions by way of sport in the town are the three rink bowling green, and tennis court, laid out at great expense by an expert ; the use of these may be procured by applying for a ticket to the secretary. A pretty pavilion and clubhouse are close by, and every convenience is provided for players.


Golf may be engaged in but at a short distance from Portsoy – at Glassaugh, where there is the nicest little six-hole course it was ever anyone’s good fortune to play upon.


The course was located in the grounds of Glassaugh House.

Note : It appears, according to the golfing annual, that Portsoy club were playing or about to play at Cullen in 1905.

   “The course, of nine holes, varying in length from 200 to 300 yards, is about one and a quarter miles from Portsoy station.”    (GA 1899-1900).

Aberdeen Journal July 27th, 1911


Portsoy as a holiday resort

Sale of Work


The committee all along had done their level best to make Portsoy attractive. What with the golf course, and other sources of amusement in the Sutherland Park, the sea breezes, and rock scenery. It was no wonder that many eminent men connected with science and art, found Portsoy a splendid place for a summer holiday. Sales were then proceeded with, concerts were held at different times during the afternoon.

Aberdeen Journal February 14th 1930


Golf Course Project.


A representative meeting of those in favour of forming a course at Portsoy was held in the council chambers. Councillor Ingram presided, and the committee reported that Mr Dornan, of the Duff House Royal Club, had inspected the various possible places and strongly recommended the Sutherland Park as the best. The meeting resolved to form a club provisionally, and a committee was appointed to meet the Town Council and discuss the project with them on Monday night.

Aberdeen Journal May 2nd 1931


Golf At Portsoy



Six-Hole Course To Be



At a meeting of Portsoy golf club and those interested in the game in Portsoy, held in the Town Council Chambers last night, it was decided to construct a six-hole course in the public park and to commence this season.

Mr P.L. Duncan, Bank Agent, who presided over quite a good attendance, stated that Mr R. Dornan, of Royal Tarlair golf club, Macduff, had given considerable assistance, and would be glad to advise further with the construction of the course.


Could Be Extended


Mr Dornan had drawn up a plan showing how six holes could be laid out on the ground meantime available in the public park. If the adjoining four acres were acquired, the course could be extended to nine holes. The total length meantime of the course would be 955 yards.

On the motion of Mr Jack Lyon, seconded by Mr A. Ingram, it was agreed that a six hole course be laid out in the public park, and this became the unanimous finding of the meeting. It was remitted to the executive committee to make the necessary preparations for getting the course laid out.

Aberdeen Journal May 30th 1931


Portsoy and Golf



Provost Declares New Course




In presence of a large company, Provost McLean opened the newly-made golf course in the public park at Portsoy.

At present it is a six hole course.

Mr J.C. Johnstone, Headmaster, Captain of the club, presided, and, introducing the Provost, referred to the difficulties the club had met in getting suitable ground for a golf course, and to their expectations of extension in a short time. The enthusiasm of the club was guarantee of ultimate success. ( Applause.)

Provost McLean agreed with all Mr Johnstone had said as to the value of golf to a community.

In these days of much greater leisure than formerly, it was the duty of all public bodies, and all influential individuals to make healthy recreation possible for everyone, and places to which city dwellers went for rest and change should be equipped with attractive forms of recreation.


Portsoy’s Charms


Portsoy had many charms, but nature had not given her good ground for golf. He congratulated the club in achieving so much, wished them every success in their worthy object to get ultimately a complete course, and declared the course open.

The Captain then drove off the first ball, which was declared by everyone to be “ A Beauty.”

In a four ball match, which the crowd followed with keen interest, Mr Johnstone and Father Bonnyman won by a narrow margin over Mr Davidson, North Of Scotland Bank, and Mr Eric Ross.

Aberdeen Journal March 10th 1936


Portsoy’s Golf




Important to Attract Visitors


The golf question was again before Portsoy Town Council last night.

Arising out of the question of grazing, councillor Leys said that the moment might be opportune to explain the position of the golf club.

The club he said, had made repeated efforts to obtain ground for a golf course, but had failed, but he believed that the burgh, without a golf course, would never attract visitors. He might say that the club had money for the acquisition of land, but the Seafield Trustees could not sell. He would like to know if the members had any thoughts or suggestions on the matter.

Provost McLean said it was a problem with which he had every sympathy, and he had tried to overcome it for the past thirty years. After discussion it was agreed to continue the question.

Aberdeen Journal September 14th 1937


Council to confer with golf club.


Ground for golf course


Baillie McDonald reported that he had been approached by a local gentleman as to the steps the Town Council had taken in regard to getting suitable ground for a golf course, in view of the reply given by Provost McLean to the question at the ratepayers meeting last December.

Provost McLean said that at the moment there was nothing he could submit. At the present the position seemed impossible, although he had every sympathy with the idea to get a golf course. Baillie McDonald said he understood that the Provost gave it as his answer at the ratepayers meeting that he would look into the matter provided the golf club paid all expenses.

Dean Of Guild Hay – Was it not a question of getting the Town Council to use their powers to acquire the land for a golf course and the club to bear the expense ?.

Councillor Wood – Can we not take the initiative if it is not going to cost the council anything ?.

He did not see any point in taking over the matter and then letting it drop. If any gentleman was public spirited enough to provide money, he thought they should all be agreed, and he suggested that the Council should appoint a committee to confer with the golf club.

Councillor Leys said it would be a great attraction if the scheme would mature.

Baillie McDonald said he understood the golf club had ample funds to meet any obligation.

Provost McLean said no one felt stronger than he did the need for a golf course, and he had held such views since he came to Portsoy. If the Town Council got a guarantee in writing that all legal expenses would be met he would not be against anything in the question.

After a general discussion it was agreed to have a meeting with the golf club on the whole question.

Aberdeen Journal August 16th 1938


State Of Portsoy

Public Park



Town Councillors Voice



Criticism of the state of Portsoy Public Park was voiced at a meeting of Portsoy Town Council held last night – Ballie Robertson in the chair. The question of the future of the Sutherland Park was debated at length, and it was agreed that until the lease expired little or nothing could be done in the matter.

The Treasurer, Mr R. Thow, submitted a statement of the parks finances, which showed that last year there was a debit balance of £45. The extent of the park was fifteen acres, he said, and the lease with the Seafield Trustees did not expire until 1944.

Councillor Wood said that there was too much ground, and asked if any part of it could be let. Baillie Robertson said they could not do that without asking the Seafield Trustees, and he doubted whether it was worth putting a part of it in crop. He was of the opinion that it should be left as it was.

Councillor Wood said extra ground had been taken in for the golf club, but that club had now left the park. He maintained that they should keep only part of the present park as a public park and not, as at present, like a wilderness. Dean of Guild Hay said the whole thing appeared to him at the moment to be at a deadlock. They had a lease, and until it expired, little could be done, but he thought if the rough grass was cut it would go a long way towards improving the place.

The Council agreed to take the course suggested by Dean Of Guild Hay.

Aberdeen Journal November 15th 1938


Portsoy Offer Of Ground


Council remit back on negotiations


The offer by Mr William Ewing, Durn Road, to acquire ground for recreation, including a golf course, was again before Portsoy Town Council at their greetin’ meeting held last night – Provost McLean in the chair.

It was reported that the tenant of part of the ground required after consideration could not see his way to give up from his farm the ground required.

The tenant’s agents wrote that their client, Mr Stevenson, had gone over his farm to see how he could alter the shifts to bring his farm into line with the proposals, but he could not see his way now to give the ground required for a golf course. The letter added that they were trying to arrange a meeting on the ground with Mr Ewing and their client.

A reply from Mr Ewing’s agent was read at the meeting, pointing out that Mr Ewing did not see any reason for such a meeting. The amount of ground, as shown on the plan submitted to Mr Stevenson, was the minimum required for the golf course. Mr Ewing thought it was for the Council to take the necessary steps to make the proposed gift effective.

After discussion it was agreed to remit the matter back to the committee for consideration and report.


Note : What happened next, we have no idea until we research more. The club appear to be still active but without a golf course ?

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