Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland
 Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland

 Baldovan House Golf Course

The house is now demolished 2003

Dundee

Downfield Golf Club. Instituted 1895. “The course, of nine holes, varying from 90 to 370 yards (par33), is on the banks of the strea, Dighty, in the policies of Sir Reginald Ogilvy, Bart. The hazards comprise the burn, trees, a mill-dam, and a cart road. Baldovan station is a quarter of a mile

off.” (Golfing Annual 1907 - 1908 )                                   

The land was returned to agricultural use at the beginning of WW1, and the Club was never revived after the war.

Formation Of Golf Club

 

"A meeting was held in Downfield Public Hall on Friday last to consider as to the advisableness of forming a golf club in connection with the village and district.

After discussion, it was unanimously agreed to form such a club, and Mr William Smith was appointed President, Mr George Tarbet, being elected secretary ad interim. It was decided to approach Sir Reginald Ogilvy, Bart., for the purpose of securing ground for practice on the Home Farm of Baldovan, and a committee was appointed to wait upon Sir Reginald with this object."   (Evening Times, 4.11.1895)

Proposed Golf Course For Downfield

 

Dundee Courier, November 13th, 1895

 

"When the idea of securing a golf course near the village was first spoken about doubt was expressed as to the likelihood of sufficient ground being available for the purpose, and for this reason the proposal received rather half-hearted support.

Some of those favourable to the project, however, took the matter up with much energy, and the result was the formation of the Downfield golf club. A deputation from the club waited on Sir Reginald Ogilvy, and the result of that interview is distinctly encouraging to golfers.

Sir Reginald expressed himself as in full sympathy with this movement for acquiring facilities for recreation, and pointed out several large fields over which the club might secure the privilege of playing. At a meeting of the club held on Monday evening it was decided to take measures for obtaining possession of a portion of the ground offered, which would admit of the laying out of a nine hole course.

The extent of the projected course would afford scope for long driving, while there would be no lack of natural hazards. As the number of members must be restricted, those who wish to enjoy a game of golf within easy reach of their homes should at once get their names enrolled, and the prospects of a large membership have been anticipated by a resolution to the effect that after the expiry of the present month an entrance fee will be necessary for admittance. Those intending to join should therefore communicate at once with the secretary of the club, Mr Tarbet, Camperdown Villa." 

Evening Times December 12th, 1895

 

"The Downfield members experienced the worst of weather on Saturday afternoon in their attempt to introduce the game of golf into the suburbs of Dundee.

The formal opening duly came off by the driving of a ball from the first tee by the Hon. President of the club – Sir Reginald Ogilvy, Bart. – but subsequent play was simply out of the question on account of a heavy fall of snow. From some remarks which fell from the President, it seems there is plenty of elbow room in the vicinity of Downfield for golf extension. The wonder is, that the treasure has lain so long undiscovered, for the golf fiend, like the company promoter, is ever on the warpath.

When once “ The niceties of the game” are understood out Baldovan waythe question of a course at Hillhouses may soon engage the attention of the Downfield residenter.

The course which was played on on Saturday for the first time is not without the hazard which unquestionably gives additional charm to the sport. The greens are perhaps not quite so smooth as will ensure accurate putting ; but the remedy for this is very much in the hands of the members, as attendance at the course will help to harden the turf."

Dundee Courier, November 24th, 1896

 

"The Downfield Golf Club has just secured their present course for another year. The Council was anxious to secure a lease for a period of years, but the proprietor, Sir Reginald Ogilvy, could not see his way to agree to that in the meantime. This year the right of fencing the greens and keeping down the heavy patches of grass has been arranged with the grazier, so that next summer more pleasure in play should be experienced than was the case during the past wet season, when the grass was unusually long. Just now the course is in excellent order, and is much in use. At the annual general meeting the other evening the Treasurers report showed that the membership of the club, as restricted, was complete, and that, notwithstanding the heavy expenses incidental to the commencement of the club, there was a substantial balance in the hands of the Treasurer.

Downfield, like most of the other inland clubs, has arranged a conversazione and dance. Most of the members have accepted invitations, and the affair promises to be a big success. An excellent programme has been prepared for the Conversazione."

Dundee Courier, December 12th, 1897

 

"A tie between G.D. Smith and John Laing to determine the winner for the year of the clubs monthly medal was played off on Saturday, and resulted in a win for Mr Laing, who has thus gained the honour of being the first member to have his name inscribed on this handsome medal. The new years day tournaments of lady and of gentlemen members of the club are creating much interest, and given a fine day a large gathering is anticipated.

Many handsome prizes – several of them of a very seasonable character – have already been gifted. The Council has not yet determined all the conditions of play, but one or two of the donors have stipulated that their prizes are to be awarded to those who have not as yet gained a prize at any of the matches of the club." 

Dundee Courier, December 18th, 1899

 

Match V Kirriemuir

 

"The Downfield club engaged on Saturday in a friendly encounter with the Kirriemuir Golf Club on the course of the former at Baldovan. Earlier in the year the Downfield club sustained a rather severe defeat at the hands of the Kirriemuir on their course. This time the result has been reversed, the Downfield club winning by nine holes. The conditions of play at Downfield and Kirriemuir are somewhat different, and this, no doubt, accounts for the severe defeat of Kirrie’s scratch men. These players did not appear to pick up the course until far on in the game, and it is difficult to understand how such formidable opponents on their own course should be so completely off unless for the cause referred to. The following is the result :-

 

                                      Kirriemuir                                                       Downfield

 

H. Black  ………………………….   0          James Mellville  ……………………….    8

A. Black  ………………………….    0          Rev. M.N. Rice ………………………..   12

W. Wilson  ……………………….    0          William Laing  ………………………..    0

P. Graham  ………………………    0           William Eckford  ……………………     3

A. Crerar  ………………………….   2           John Laing  ……………………………    0

G. Kyd  ……………………………..   5           D.C.C. Laing  ………………………….    0

A. McLaren  ………………………   7           James Anderson  …………………….    0

A. Phyn  …………………………...    7          J.B. Taylor  ……………………………..   0

H.E. Peacock  ……………………... 0           William Sellar  ………………………..    7 

                                                         21                                                                       30

Dundee Courier, April 28th, 1913

 

Immense Progress Of Baldovan Golf Club

Is Crowned By Opening of

Handsome New Clubhouse

 

Since its inception eighteen years ago Baldovan golf club has progressed immensely, but there was always one blot in the picture – no clubhouse adorned the beautifully situated course.

But Downfield golfers are a pushful lot. For a number of years past the only meeting place was an out of date tramcar, but on the site of that old relic of the steam car system there stands to-day a modern clubhouse. It is a pretty erection, and very commodious indeed, it is far beyond the wildest dreams of the enthusiasts.

The “ House” is built of wood upon brick foundations. Messrs Dargie & co, Downfield, were the contractors for the brick work, the erection being in the hands of Messrs W.R. Thomson & co, Edinburgh. The architect was Mr George Ford of Messrs Mann & Ford, Dundee.

The building consist of two large rooms, with two cloakrooms and a kitchen.

The members reached their ambition on Saturday, when the new “ House” was opened by Mr John Mitchell, editor of the “ Courier.” The torrential rains caused the opening ceremony to be held indoors, the scene being thus shorn of much of its gaiety.

Dr A.M. Hardie, the captain of the club, presided over a large audience, which included a big coterie of ladies.

 

The first meeting

 

Mr Mitchell said it was on the 1st November, 1895, that the first meeting of the club was held. It was attended by only eight residenters, and, curiously enough, three were school teachers – Mr George Tarbet, Mr James McAsh, and Mr William Eckford.

There also present Mr James Anderson and the late Mr William Smith, and just immediately after, Mr D.Y. Preston, and Mr Frank Boyd joined the club. There was never anything truer than that Downfield had made immense progress during the twenty years that had elapsed since the golf club was initiated. There were public streets where there were at that time agricultural lands. They had cricket and football pitches, and even a public park. They had also this great feather in their cap that they were the first to start a real Dundee golf course. They did so at a time when Dundee had not the faintest intention of stretching its tentacles in their direction, and they had no gifts from any wealthy citizen of Dundee. They did it entirely off their own bat. These facts showed that a village, like a great city, had no lack of community of interest, no lack of enterprise, foresight, and perseverance. He thought they would admit that no more beautiful situation could have been selected for a golf course, and he did not know of any inland course that was prettier than this. He congratulated them upon the prosperity which had attended them during the past eighteen years, especially upon the erection of that beautiful clubhouse,which he declared open.

On the call of Mr Frank Boyd, Mr Mitchell was heartily thanked.

Mr J.M. Nairn and Mr A.B. Crichton also addressed the gathering, and congratulated the club upon it success.

After tea, a delightful concert was held in the new clubhouse – Dr Hardie presiding.

The contributors to the programme were Miss Mary Dawson, Miss B. Munroe, Mr James Barnet, and Mr James Aitken. Miss Isabella Tarbet was a capital accompanist. A dance followed.

Downfields New Pavilion Evening Telegraph April 28th 1913 Mr Spark Driving off  At First Tee. The opening ceremony was performed by Mr J. Mitchell.

Evening Times, June 25th, 1919

 

Should the Downfield Golf Course Be Acquired

By The Corporation ?

Passing Of The Private Club

( Special To The Telegraph and Post )

 

      “The passing of the Downfield Golf Club should not be lost sight of by Dundee Corporation. For over Twenty Years the Downfield, Baldovan golf links have afforded recreation for the residenters of the Northern suburb of Dundee, and the course was as good an inland course as could be desired. The members of the club spent a lot of money of putting the fields into proper trim for their sport, and they had a most successful career.

      There were nine holes of a fine sporting nature, ranging from a short hole of about 100 yards to one of 450 yards. The ground was perhaps somewhat flat, but with the introduction of plenty of hazards, together with a stone dyke and fences, variety was introduced into the play. . The demand for the cultivation of all land for food purposes led to the course being ploughed up in 1916, and, as it proved, this was the end of the Downfield, Baldovan Course.

      It may be argued that the corporation are to lay down a course at the Mains, but this is by no means so certain as many people think, as several of the present members of the Town Council do not favour a large part of the ground gifted by Sir James K. Caird, being given over to golfers; but even although a course is provided, still the old Downfield course will prove a fine auxiliary and relieve to some extent the Mains Course. The Town Council should certainly consider the proposal

In the event, the Corporation opted for Caird Park, which opened in 1923. The sad fact is that one of Dundee's other courses is now to close in 2020 ( See Camperdown )

 

Nisbet’s Golfing Year Book of 1914 has it as Baldovan GC.

 Dundee Courier, June 26th, 1919

 

Baldovan Club Disbanded

 

The Baldovan golf club has been disbanded. A meeting of the members was held in Lambs Hotel, Dundee, last night, when this decision was come to. Mr W.C. Lamb presided. It was also decided that £165, the amount standing to the credit of the club, should be equally divided amongst the members. The question of the disposal of the club’s medals was considered and it was agreed that these should be retained in the possibility of a new club being formed, otherwise the medals should be handed to the Corporation for competition on the new Caird Park course. At the close of the meeting, the founding of a new club was discussed, but no decision was come to.

Dundee Courier, May 22nd, 1923

 

Baldovan Golf Club Resucitated

 

A meeting of the former members of the defunct Baldovan Golf Club was held in Ingram’s tea room, Dundee, last night, when the advisability of resuscitating the club was under consideration and finally decided upon.

Play will be on the new course at Caird Park, and the Town Council will be approached with a view to securing locker accommodation.

Owing to the large number of applications for memberships which have been received, it was decided to give priority to applications from former members received during the next fortnight. New members will also be admitted up to a stated number, and afterwards a waiting list will be opened.

Office-bearers were appointed as follows ;- Captain, Mr W.C. Lamb ; Vice Captain, Mr William Bruce ; Secretary, Mr W.M. Dickson, Claverhouse ; Treasurer, Mr B. Gibb Irons ; Committee, Messrs A. Fernie, J. Russell Taylor, and W. Sellars.

It was decided to hold a match – Captain V Vice Captain – at an early date, on any available course.

The Downfield golf club web site states that the club did not Re-appear until 1932 when the new Downfield golf course was opened and the club changed its name to Downfield golf club. The above information shows that the club re-formed at Caird Park first before moving to the new Downfield course later. I also have another resucitation file for 1929 which i still have to research further.

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