Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland
 Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland

 Baldovan House Golf Course

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.” (GA 1907-08)                                   

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." (ET 4.11.1895)

Proposed Golf Course For Downfield

"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." (DC 13.11.1895)

"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."

(ET 31.12.1895)

"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."

(DC 24.11.1896)

"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." (DC 20.12.1897)

"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

(DC 18.12.1899)

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

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 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 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.” (ET 25.6.1919)

 

In the event, the Corporation opted for Caird Park, which opened in 1923 including the Camperdown 18-hole course. Golf did not return to Downfield until 1933 when the present course was opened.

 

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

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