Glenburn Golf Club,
Rothesay, Isle of Bute. Founded 1896. A 9-hole private course set up by Glenburn Hydropathic on fields on the East Burgh. The course was planned by Old Tom Morris and constructed by Donald Bremner, the first professional/greenkeeper. Closed in 1908 when the club and part of the course was absorbed into Rothesay Golf Club.
Glenburn Hydropathic golf course
The Buteman and General Advertiser for Western Isles
April 11th, 1896
Notes by the way
It is stated that the new golf course to be formed behind the Skipper’s Planting will be open to the public as well as to Glenburn visitors. It will be about the same size as the Westlands course, and will prove a formidable rival to it.
September 26th, 1896
The new course behind Glenburn is rapidly approaching completion. The course extends round the base of the hill, thence to the summit, and by an easy circuit finishes behind the Hydropathic.
The first tee is only seven minutes from the Hydro, and about fifteen minutes from Rothesay Pier. The principal hazards are whins, roads, and hedges.
Much labour has been entailed in getting the course, and especially the putting greens,into order. Sevearl of the latter had to be banked up, levelled and re-turfed. The turf is naturally light and after a few months play it will compare favourably with most of the inland greens on the firth. From every point on the course the player is rewarded with a magnificent view of the Firth Of Clyde, extending from the Cloch to Ailsa Craig, while the Cowal hills form a picturesque background.
Buteman January 16th, 1897
From Rothesay Town Council Meeting
The Golf Course At Glenburn
The minutes of the Burgh Land committee recommended the signing of an amended agreement with Glenburn Hydropathic Company.
Mr Burness, in moving the adoption, said the amendments had reference to the right of the general public to use the course, the company having powers to charge double the rates at present payable on Westland course, but this was only to safeguard the season ticket holders and residents, and it was not anticipated that the maximum rates would require to be charged. It was the interest of the directors to make the charge as low as possible to attract people to the course. He understood further that the directors intended to ask the local golf players to come in and act as a committee along with them.
Mr Johnston. In seconding, remarked that as one who had recommended a conference with the directors he was glad on amicable arrangements had been come to.
Buteman April 3rd, 1897
The golfers of Rothesay are proposing to form a club in connection with the new Glenburn course.
Buteman April 10th, 1897
New club in connection with Glenburn Course.
Formation Of Club
At a meeting held in Glenburn Hydropathic last Wednesday evening it was resolved to form a club in connection with the new course. A considerable number of local ladies and gentlemen have already given in their names, including Mr and Mrs Neill. Ardencraig ; Miss Pippercorne, Ardencraig ; Dr and Mrs Marshall, Mr and Mrs R.D. Macmillan, Miss McMillan, Bailie McIntosh, Mr Carse, Mr John Mackhirdy, Mr D. Munro. The honorary office-bearers are not yet elected, but Mr Munro was elected Captain, Mr McMillan, Vice Captain ; Dr Philip, Treasurer ; and Mr John Mackhirdy, Secretary ; Committee, Dr Marshall, Bailie McIntosh, Messrs Carse and Sweet.
Buteman June 5th, 1897
Opening of the New Glenburn Golf
The formal opening of this new newly-formed course takes place this afternoon at 2.30pm., when a competition for several prizes will take place. The course is a nine-hole one, within seven minutes walk from the Hydro, and about fifteen minutes walk from Rothesay and Garigmore Piers. It commands lovely views of the firth, and there are plenty of hazards in the shape of hedges, cross-roads, dykes, &c. The new course has been laid out by Old Tom Morris. An open competition ( in which all golfers are cordially invited to take part ) will afterwards be held, for the following prizes :-
1st Prize – 1 dozen carbon photographs of the winner, presented by Mr Charles Sweet of the studio, Rothesay.
2nd Prize – 2 dozen silverton golf balls
3rd Prize – 1 brass handed putter.
Competition will be by medal play over two rounds of the course ( 18 Holes ) and partners will be balloted for at 2 o’clock, when players who intend taking part should be present.
It is expected that Mr Sweet will be on the ground with his camera.
Scottish Referee June 7th 1897
The new golf course at Glenburn Hydropathic, Rothesay, has many claims for the golfer. He can here persue his game amid surroundings that in points of beauty would be difficult to equal in Scotland. Nor is the course mere child’s play. There are nine hole, some of them long, and the hazards take the shape of hedges, a road, and a wood. One of the holes is 350 yards, from which it may be gathered that the strong driver has an opportunity of getting in his fine work.
A large number of players did the round at the opening on Saturday, and some excellent scores were returned. Amongst those present, in addition to the gay company of ladies, were Mr Addison Smith, Edinburgh ; Mr Campbell Dewar, Edinburgh ; Mr MacLaren, Miliken Park ; and Dr Marshall, Rothesay. It may be added that in Bute golf, aided and abetted by cycling, has almost killed the once all-popular Bute pastime, tennis.
Buteman June 12th, 1897
The New Glenburn Course
Was opened on Saturday last, when there was a good attendance. The course, while primarily intended for the visitors at Glenburn Hydro, is open to the public for a small fee, and should prove a convenience to residents and visitors in the Craigmore district.
Bute, with its three golf courses – Kingarth, Westlands, and Glenburn – may now be said to be well equipped with facilities for the Royal and Ancient game. At the opening, Dr Philip was in charge, assisted by Mr John Mackirdy, the Hon Secretary, and a number of the local players. Mr Charles Sweet was on the ground with his camera and photographed the company.
An open competition was engaged in, the 1st prize being a dozen carbon photographs by Mr Sweet ; the second 2 dozen Silverton balls and the third a brass headed putter. At the close it was found that Messrs Munro and Esplin – two of our keenest local players – had tied for first place. Mr Hay was the winner of the third prize. The sweepstake for the last single round was won by Mr Munro with a score of 46.
There are at present on view in the window of Mr Munro, Grocer, Albert Place, two handsome prizes – a silver cup and medal – to be competed for over the new Glenburn golf course at no very distant date. The cup, which is very beautifully designed and chased, has been presented by the directors of the Glenburn Hydropathic, and the medal is the gift of Mr R. Addison Smith, chairman of the company. The prizes are both of great value and should produce some smart competition among the local players for possession.
Glasgow Herald December 27th 1897
Glenburn Hydropathic Club
Open amateur scratch and handicap competition
January 1st and 3rd 1898
3 prizes – Value £5, £3, £1 10s
Entry money 2s 6d to be sent, with note of handicap
( restricted to 18 strokes ) to Dr Philp,Glenburn Hydro
Rothesay, on or before 29th inst. – advt.
Buteman January 8th, 1898
Open Amateur Competition on Glenburn Course
On Saturday and Monday last this competition came off in excellent weather . There were 28 competitors for the three valuable prizes offered, and a large attendance of ladies and gentlemen watched the play with interest. The trophies were won as follows :- D. Munro ( Captain of the club ) carried off the scratch prize – a beautiful silver gong – with a score of 184 for 36 holes. W.T. Esplin ( Captain of the Rothesay club ) was winner of the first handicap prize – a handsome silver cup – with a score 191 less 12, 179. Mr Lowe, the crack Millport player, won the second handicap prize – Silver fish carvers in case – with a score of 193, plus 4, 197. The best of the other scores were :- Mr Clark Reid, Glenburn, 213 less 12, 201 ; Mr Watson, Glenburn, 239 less 36, 203 ; Mr McLaurin, Glenburn, 218 less 12, 206 ; Mr Harper, Glenburn, 236 less 20, 216. Owing to the success of this open competition the club propose to have another at Easter.
Buteman April 9th, 1904
The Glenburn Course.
Notwithstanding the boisterous weather, the number of visitors on Saturday last constituted a record. The new putting green, just formed at the last or ninth hole on the course by McAuley brothers, was used for the first time.
Buteman August 27th, 1904
Donald Bremner, the local professional, playing over the Glenburn course on Friday in a three ball match, did the round of 18 holes in 74, establishing a record for the green.
Buteman December 10th, 1904
A match between teams of 12 players a side, representing Glenburn and Westland clubs, took place on the Glenburn course on Saturday last, and resulted in a win for Glenburn by 9 matches to 3. The match was a very enjoyable one, and Mr Brermner was heartily congratulated on having the course, at this season of the year, in such very good order. Tea was served in the clubhouse, over which Miss Henderson presided. A return match will be played on Westland course on 17th inst.
Buteman December 24th, 1904
Rothesay and Glenburn clubs had their return match ( 11 players from each club ) over Westland on Saturday last, which resulted in Glenburns favour by 7 matches to 3, one of the matches being halved.
After partaking of tea in the clubhouse ( Mr Wm. Stewart being the caterer ) foursomes were engaged in, and although the course was very soft, the players enjoyed their game, and a desire to have a repetition of the matches was expressed by members of both clubs. The usual monthly competition for the boys medal came off the same day, and resulted in Jack McIntosh again being winner. E. Leith coming next, with 1 stroke more.
Donald Bremner and wife with friends outside the small clubhouse
Buteman January 28th, 1905
This club has been re-constituted with the following office bearers :- Presidents, Mr J. Windsor Stuart and Dr Marshall ; Captain, Mr R.D. Macmillan ; Vice Captain, Mr McBurnie ; Secretary, Mr C.H. Nutton ; Treasurer, Mr Mr R. Henderson ; Committee, Dr Marshall. Messrs Henderson, W. Whyte, E.G. Lawson, J.L. Masterton and G. Smith.
The prizes offered include Mr Addison Smith’s Jubilee Medal, Mr R.D. Macmillan’s medal, and Dr Marshalls prize. The preliminary competition is for prizes presented by Mr Henderson.
Buteman March 18th, 1905
The club committee, at a meeting held on Monday night, arranged that the Addison Smith Jubilee medal should be played for monthly, commencing in April ; that Captain Macmillan’s medal should be a hole and hole handicap to begin on April 29th, and that Dr Marshall’s prize should be a foursome hole and hole handicap to follow on Captain Macmillan’s.
Buteman April 8th, 1905
The first competition for the Addison Smith medal handicap took place last Saturday, when, notwithstanding the inclement weather, there was a large number of competitors. Mr Thomas McBurnie proved the winner for the month after a keen contest.
Buteman August 12th, 1905
The Addison Smith monthly medal has been won by Mr John Jack, Hillside,with a score of 97 less 18 – 79.
The Buteman June 9th, 1906
Glenburn V Rothesay
On Wednesday evening a match was played between the Glenburn and the Rothesay clubs on the Westlands course, resulting in a win for the latter. There is a talk of having competitions between the two clubs more frequently.
Buteman September 8th, 1906
The competition for the monthly medal on Saturday last was won by Mr Alex M. Taylor with a score of 97 ( less 18 ) 79.Owing to the sweltering hot weather, only four competitors turned up.
Scotsman November 13th 1906
Golf At Rothesay
Moves Are Afoot
At Rothesay Town Council yesterday, the report of Bernard Sayers, the North Berwick expert, on the proposed eighteen-hole municipal golf course was submitted. Sayers reported that he had gone over the proposed Eastland course, which includes the existing Glenburn course of nine holes, and found that it would make an inland course equal to any in the country. The total acreage was 76.244 and the length 4073 yards. The estimated cost of formation was £185, with £200 for yearly upkeep, and £65 for tools and implements. If the work were begun in December the course could be ready by Easter. The land chiefly belonged to the Marquis Of Bute and the Burgh, but there was one small portion which belonged to the Ascog estate. The matter was remitted to a special committee to ascertain on what terms the ground could be acquired.
Buteman December 8th, 1906
The monthly medal competition came off on Saturday last, when Mr Thomas Aitken again proved the winner. The scores were as follows : - Thos. Aitken ( 12 ) 78 ; Alex. Taylor ( 18 ) 80 ; R.D. Macmillan ( 4 ) 82 ; J.J. Murray ( 8 ) 84.
The Buteman December 22nd, 1906
In the final for the Captain’s medal, presented by Dr Marshall, Mr John Park, Carmyle, was successful on Friday last, beating Mr T. Aitken by 2 holes. Both had a handicap of 12, and thus were equally matched. The game was extremely keenly contested, the players being even at the 16th hole, Mr Park, however, taking the other two, and winning the medal outright.
The Buteman February 9th, 1907
Glenburn golf course record
Sir, It was far from my intention to start a discussion when I ventured to correct what appeared to me to be a mistake in the article you recently quoted from the “ World Of Golf,” nor did I mean to question Mr Nuttons ability to hold the amateur record for our course. I quite believe he is capable of making a 74, but the fact remains that no card was handed in by Mr Nutton showing such a score. The matter is easily settled. Let the gentlemen who signed the card, supposing there was one, come forward under his own name and I shall be very glad to admit that I have been mistaken. In the meantime I am at a loss to find any one of the members whom “ Golfer,” in his letter to a contemporary refers to as being aware of Mr Nutton’s alleged performance. – I am, &c
Donald Bremner 7/2/07
Note : This course would eventually be taken over and extended by Rothesay Town Council in 1908, and the existing Rothesay golf club, who had been playing at their Westland course since their formation in 1892, would also move to this course. The course would now be known as the Rothesay Municipal golf course. The opening of this course was a grand affair with the four big pro's of the day playing an exhibition match as follows :-
The Buteman May 29th, 1908
Opening of the new Municipal Golf Course
Arrangements For To-morrow’s Ceremony
Plan Of The Course
The ceremony of opening the new 18 hole golf course takes place to-morrow at eleven o’clock, when the company will muster at the clubhouse at the head of Minister’s Brae, and the proceedings will commence by the firing of a gun by Capt. McNair, Harbourmaster.
Thereafter the Provost will introduce Mr Norman Lamont M.P., for the county, who will drive off the first ball. This ball, it may be mentioned, will be secured, mounted in silver, and placed in the clubhouse as a memento of the auspicious occasion.
Afterwards, Bailie Harvey, convenor of the golf course committee, will present Mr Lamont with a silver cleek as a souvenir of the event.
The company will then be photographed by Mr Charles Sweet, and with more gun firing the formal part of the proceedings will then close.
Thereafter a four ball foursome will be played by the champions, Massy, Braid, Vardon, and Ben Sayers, the company following round the course to watch the game, which is for a £50 purse. Subsequently the company will proceed to the Royal Hotel where luncheon will be served at 1.30pm. Among those who have already accepted invitations to the luncheon are Mr Norman Lamont, M.P., Provost Cockburn and Ballie Cunningham of Millport, Sheriff Martin, Capt. Butler, Mr R.D. Macmillan, Captain of the new golf club which is to play over the municipal course, Mr White, Postmaster, and a number of others. The guests will also include the Captain and one officer each from the three warships in the bay – “ The Sentinel” “ Circe” and “ Hebe” – who will also take part in the opening of the course. The four professional players will also, of course, be among the guests.
The toasts will include “ The King” by the chairman ( Provost Burness ) “ Success to the new course” by Mr Lamont, responded to by Baillie Harvey ( Croupier ) “ The Burgh Of Rothesay” by Provost Cockburn, Millport, responded to by Provost Burness ; “ Golfing” by Mr R.D. Macmillan, responded to by Mr Ben Sayers ; “ The Chairman” By Mr J.J. White.
Thereafter the company will return to the course, at about three o’clock, when a stroke competition will take place for a £5 prize, at the close of which, Massy, Braid, and Vardon leave for London.
The New Course
The new course, which has been laid out by Ben Sayers, of North Berwick, at an estimated cost of about £1200 including a commodious clubhouse, absorbed the old Glenburn nine-hole links and the extra ground required was obtained by including certain fields on the Burgh Lands, also Bute estate ground which has been given by Lord Bute on very favourable terms.
The club-house and teeing ground are at the head of Minister’s Brae, which can be easily approached either from High Street or Bishop street from the pier.
There is an abundance of those hazards dear to the heart of every golfer and the Rothesay course will, it is claimed, be equal to any inland course in the West Of Scotland. The first hole is 280 yards and is a natural green. The second – 316 yards – is a fine sporting hole, and is in direct line with the Cumbraes. The third and fourth, are natural greens, and the distances to them are respectively 333 and 240 yards. At the fifth, which is 257 yards, the old Glenburn course is entered. The sixth – 163 yards – is a natural green, and though short, is of such a nature as should afford good sport. The seventh green is 217 yards, and brings the player on to the top of Canada Hill, which commands a magnificent view of the Firth of Clyde from Dumbartonshire to the Ailsa Craig, which is visible on a clear day. The eighth- 175 yards – faces Loch Ascog, and is a very picturesque hole. At the ninth – 177 yards- which is the turning point of the course, the player faces Loch Striven and the entrance to the Kyles, another very fine prospect.
The tenth – 180 yards – is a good sporting hole, which remark also applies to the eleventh – 223 yard. The twelfth is 260 yards, and calls for no special description. The thirteenth – 184 yards – is a tricky hole, with a natural green at the top of the hill. At the fourteenth – 178 yards – the player passes from the old Glenburn course. The fifteenth hole – 187 yards – is regarded as an easy one, while the sixteenth, is the longest one – 360 yards – is a very good hole. The seventeenth and eighteenth are 220 and 210 yards, and are fairly easy.
The turf is good and no pains have been spared in the construction of the artificial greens, which are each 20 yards square.
The work has been carried out under the direction of Mr Donald Bremner, who has been appointed keeper of the course.
The club-house comprises a large room for gentlemen with suitable appointments ; A workshop for the clubmaster, and caddies shelter. A luncheon-room, with kitchen and offices for the convenience of visitors. The arfchitect for the house is Mr George McLintock, Rothesay. The contractors were J. McCallum & Son, Joiners, James Pinkerton, Mason ; Miller & Son, Slater ; A.R. Peacock, Plumber ; W. & J. Stewart, Painters.
The Buteman June 5th, 1908
Opening Of Municipal
Fine Weather And Record Crowds
Speech By Mr Lamont, M.P.
Interesting Foursome By Vardon And
Braid, Massy, And Sayers.
The formal opening of the new 18 hole Municipal golf course took place on Saturday last in splendid weather, and before a record gathering of spectators, the number being estimated to be about 2000.
The charge of a shilling for admission did not deter the crowds of spectators, a large proportion of whom were visitors.
The arrangements were in the hands of Mr J.C. Sinclair, Burgh Chamberlain, and there were also on the ground Mr R.D. Macmillan,President of the Rothesay golf club ; Mr James McLay, Secretary, and most of the local exponents of the game.
The fine new club-house was handsomely decorated with flags and bunting. The proceedings began at eleven o’clock by the firing of a gun by Capt. Macnair, Harbourmaster. Immediately after, Provost Burness, accompanied by Mr Norman Lamont, member for the county, who had specially journeyed North to perform the opening ceremony, took up their places at the first teeing ground. Among others present were :- Ex-Provost Thomson, Bailies Harvey and Cunningham, Ex Balies Brown, Cunningham, Fisher, Fife, Squair, McBride, and Muir. Treasurer Buchanan, Dean of Guild Macmillan. Councillors Burnie, Thomson, McKinlay, Rankin, McColl, Lawrie, and Capt. Miller ; Mr James Rose, Interim town clerk ; Mr R.D. Whyte, County Clerk ; Chief Constable McKay ; Bailie Cunningham, Millport, &c., &c.
The Provost said they were met here today under very favourable circumstances. The weather was all that could be desired and he had to thank them for coming here in such large numbers. It was very gratifying to the town council of Rothesay to see the inhabitants and visitors coming forward so well to patronise their new course. He trusted it would not only be an attraction to Rothesay but a benefit to the residents in the way of health and exercise.
No expense had been spared to make it as perfect as possible, and they trusted it would be a success. They as a council did not wish to reap any benefit from the course – if there should be a surplus at the end of the year it was their intention it should be spent for the comfort of those taking advantage of the course – ( Applause ) – and everything would be done to make the course a pleasure to those who patronise it. ( Applause ) He thought they were entitled to acknowledge that they had got the ground for it from the Marquis Of Bute on the most reasonable terms, and he believed it would be difficult to find a better place for a course. The scenery was all that could be desired, and he was quite sure would be appreciated by those who had never seen it before. He called upon Mr Lamont to open the course.
Mr Lamont, who was received with applause, said he had been placed under a very great temptation, to which many of his colleagues were accused of constantly giving way, to give a speech of inordinate duration in order to defer the evil moment of having to drive off the first ball. He must plead guilty to being here on false pretences, for he was not a golfer. It was a popular belief that all politicians were addicted to golf, but in this matter he was in the minority. He read in to-days paper the result of the great contest for the Amateur championship, and was obliged to confess that he had never heard the name of the Amateur Champion before, and was only sorry he was not a Scotsman. The mystic word niblick, conveyed nothing to him ( “ Oh,” and Laughter,) he did not know what the difference was – if there were a difference – between a Brassy and a Stymie ( Laughter )
The word Bogey certainly had a sort of home like familiarity, but there was one word in the golf vocabulary which had been burnt in on his mind in letters of fire that morning, and that was the word “ Foozle,” ( Laughter )
There was another phrase which they constantly heard in use amongst their golfing friends – “ A good Lie,” – and was an expression on which he thought, they might all find common ground – ( Laughter ) and which seemed to be familiar alike to all pursuits of their fallible humanity. He did not know whether the frequent occurrence of that expression, was because the golfer – like the fly fisher – was addicted to the embroidery of his exploits in elegant language. Perhaps that was a matter which might be judiciously left to the local newspapers now that they had settled the burning question of “ where are the dead ? “ On a beautiful morning like this, and with the prospect of seeing four of the most brilliant players of the day, they would not desire to be detained by the merely formal part of the proceedings, so he would like just in a word to congratulate the provost and town council, and not only the inhabitants but also the visitors upon the successful issue of this new undertaking, which he believed would be of the greatest benefit not only to the residents, but also to the sojourners in their midst for recreation, exercise, and enjoyment. He hoped it would long continue to be an additional attraction to this town, which, for more than a century now, has been one of the favourite health resorts of Scotland. Many years ago people were content to come here merely for change of air, but nowadays people going down to the coast wanted to have something to do when they got there, and he thought the town council were wisely advised in undertaking this new venture, which he now had pleasure in declaring open. ( Applause.)
Bailie Harvey, in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr Lamont for declaring the course open, referred to his public services, and to his readiness at all times to meet with the wishes of his constituents, and presented him with a silver mounted cleek, bearing the following inscription, as a souvenir of this very interesting occasion :-
“ Presented to Norman Lamont, Esq, M.P., on the occasion of the opening of the Rothesay Municipal Golf Course – 30th May, 1908.”
The Bailie concluded by calling for three hearty cheers for Mr Lamont, which were heartily given.
Mr Lamont, in responding, thanked them for the most beautiful gift which they had presented to him, and said that it was more his misfortune than his fault that he was not a golfer, as there were no links on Loch Strivenside, but their kindness to him and the provision of this splendid course, would be an encouragement to study this great science of golf.
The company were thereafter photographed by Mr Charles Sweet, with the member in the attitude of driving, and the four professionals – Arnaud Massy, French and Open Champion ; James Braid, Ex Champion ; Harry Vardon, Another Ex Champion ; and Ben Sayers of North Berwick, under whose direction the new course was laid out – standing on the teeing ground beside him.
Mr Lamont then drove off the first ball, amid loud cheers, and the formal part of the proceedings were brought to a close by the firing of rockets.
In the foursome which followed, putting was difficult, owing to the newness and dryness of the greens, but the driving was excellent. The first two holes were halved, Vardon and Braid getting level at the third. At the tenth, Massy squared the match, but at the twelfth, the others got ahead again, increasing their lead to two at the fourteenth. Massy won the fifteenth, and Braid the seventeenth, and the last hole being halved, Braid and Vardon won by two up. The players all through were hampered by the crowd pressing in upon them. An attempt was made to keep the spectators back by means of a rope stretched across the course, but while such an arrangement may be of use on level ground, on a course with so much up and down on it, it proved comparatively useless, and was abandoned in the afternoon.
Public Luncheon – Presentation to Bailie Harvey.
After the first round of the links, the company adjourned to the Royal Hotel, where luncheon was served. Provost Burness presided, supported by Mr Norman Lamont, M.P., ex provost Milloy, Bailies Harvey and Cunningham, Ex Bailies Brown, Cunningham, McBride, Fisher, and Fife, Treasurer Buchanan, Dean Of Guild McMillan, Councillors Thomson, McColl, and Captain Miller ; Bailie Cunningham, Millport ; Commander Skipworth, Lieut Shearmie, Lieut Phillips, and Staff Surgeon Craig of H.M.S. “ Sentinel”, Commander Mausel, H.MS. “ Ciree” Commander Willing, H.M.S. “ Hebe”, Messrs George Halliday, J.J. White, George Smith, R.D. MacMillan, A.W. Herbert, G.M. McLintock, Donald McCallum, J.C. Sinclair, James Rose, D. Bremner, J. Scott ( Glasgow ), W. Kerr ( Glasgow ), and D. Bone ( Glasgow ), In addition to the four professional players, Messrs Massy, Braid, Vardon, and Sayers.
Apologies for absence were intimated by Mr Guy Spier, Rev. Dr Hewison, Sheriff Martin, Provost Cockburn, ( Millport ), Provost Dobie ( Dunoon ), Councillor McKinlay, Mr Charles Turner ( Innellan ), and Col. MacInnes ( Glendaruel ).
After an excellent repast, the chairman proposed “ The King” which was loyally responded to.
Mr Lamont, who was cordially received, proposed “ The Rothesay Municipal Golf Course.”
The difference in weather like this, between supporting the burden of existence in London and experiencing the joy of living in Bute was so patent to anyone that he felt he ought to start by passing a vote of thanks to them for having given him this admirable excuse for escaping for a couple of days from his customary avocations in the South, and making a special visit to Rothesay. In the next place he must certainly congratulate the Provost and the Town Council on the site they had chosen for their municipal golf course. He did not mean from the golfers point of view – from that side he was not entitled to speak, and he remembered the controversy as to the rival merits of the Eastland and Westland courses, on which the opinions of experts differed. Besides, they had in the four distinguished players whom they welcomed here today the first and highest opinion as to whether it was a good course or not, and he felt confident that from the two winners at any rate they would have no difficulty in obtaining a favourable verdict.
But from the artistic point of view for picturesqueness and scenery, he felt sure no golf course in Scotland could be lovelier, while the view also had the advantage of extending on the North from the Kyles Of Bute, the gateway of the highlands, past the fertile slopes of their own island and the heather-clad hills of Argyll, to this noble firth of theirs on the South, the highway of Scotland’s commerce, broadening to the ocean, and girt in by such a variety of landscape that to a newcomer it appeared to be one great landlocked lake, from which it was impossible to find access to the open sea. He rejoiced that they had taken this matter in hand, and had carried it so successful a conclusion. Municipalities were sometimes criticised from various points of view when they entered untrodden paths, but they, he was certain, would not be accused of any tendency towards municipal socialism in opening this municipal golf course. No effort was more legitimate, more desirable, or more praiseworthy than this, catering for the recreation of the residents and the visitors to their community.
Other municipalities, perhaps not any very great distance off, might direct their energies and their funds towards the erection of pavilions – ( Laughter ) and the provision for indoor amusements for their people, while they, placing confidence – he hoped not misplaced confidence – in the superiority of their climate and the comparative smallness of their rainfall ( A Laugh ) – had preferred to make their playground out of doors – ( Applause ) – and he hoped this municipal golf course would minister to the exercise, to the health, and to the enjoyment for many generations to come, not only of their own citizens but also of the strangers within their gates. Whom, indeed, this new attraction at Rothesay ought to do very much towards increasing in numbers.
And among the strangers at present within their gates he would like to say how heartily they welcomed the gentlemen of the Royal Navy – ( Loud Applause ) – whom they were all glad to see during these last few years paying more frequent visits to their bay than was at one time the case. He knew they were all anxious to get back to the links and he merely wished to add that it gave him the greatest possible pleasure to be with them to-day, and to have had a small share in declaring the course open ( Applause ). He had to thank Balie Harvey again most cordially, and all of them for the magnificent gift they had given him to commemorate his part in the day’s proceedings, which he hoped would be an encouragement to him to take up the study of this great science of golf in the future.
He had only in conclusion to propose for their acceptance the toast of “ Success to the municipal golf course,” coupled with the name of Bailie Harvey, to whom untiring efforts the success of the movement was so largely due. ( Applause ).
Bailie Harvey, in responding, thanked the company for the hearty response to the toast, and Mr Lamont for the very kind and encouraging remarks he had made in regarding the future of the course. He would like to say at this time that the kindness and courtesy with which Mr Lamont performed the duty of opening the course to-day demanded the esteem and appreciation of the whole community.
He could assure them that every member of the town council had the interests of the town at heart, and it had been their privilege and their duty to further these interests and to make the town as attractive as they could, to induce the visitors to come to their shores.
Judging from the turnout to-day, and the number of spectators who came to their opening, he thought he was quite safe in saying that they had added another powerful attraction to Rothesay. ( Applause ). No doubt the council had been very much indebted, as the Provost had said already, to their most generous landlord, who leased them a good portion of the ground required on very reasonable terms, and the town council and the community appreciated Lord Bute’s generosity very much.
Ex-Balie Fisher said they had with them to-day certain gentlemen who made it imperative that a certain toast usually honoured at such gatherings should be given to-day. He ment the toast of “ His Majesty’s Navy”. ( Applause ) They rejoiced that they had with present with them to-day a number of officers of His Majesty’s warships, and he could assure them they were delighted to see them every time they came to Rothesay Bay, which was adorned with such vessels. He had pleasure in coupling the toast with the name of Commander Skipworth, of H.M.S. “ Sentinel.”
Commander Skipworth, in responding, expressed the pleasure he and his brother officers had had in going over the new golf course, and in visiting this lovely place. He had never been here before, but he could assure them it would not be his last visit. ( Applause.)
Bailie Cunningham, Millport, in proposing “ The Royal Burgh Of Rothesay,” said he thought the event of to-day gave Rothesay one more right to claim – as she had always done – to be the premier watering place of the Firth Of Clyde. He thought the town council had shown a wise regard for the best interests of Rothesay in providing this municipal golf course. It might be a little late in the day ; still, it showed that the town council had the best interests of Rothesay at heart, because no watering place could claim to be an efficient recreation ground for visitors without a suitable golf course.
He thought to-day they had opened a golf course which for situation and view was equal to any on the Firth Of Clyde. In doing so he thought the local authority recognised that there was a wider scope for its activities than merely sanitation and keeping the town clean. There was, for instance, the prevention of trouble and disease, and he thought such a golf course would be a great preventive of disease, both among residents and visitors.
Provost Burness, in responding, said since he came to Rothesay 34 years ago there had been a transformation of the whole scene through the wisdom of their predecessors, which had made Rothesay, though not an extensive burgh, one of the wealthiest burgh’s in Scotland. Some people thought it was a poor burgh, but that was a great mistake. If they looked at the columns of the leading newspapers, they would see the leading cities of Scotland advertising for loans at ¼ per cent more than Rothesay needed to give. If they were not in a thoroughly good financial position that would not be the case. Year by year they were getting richer, they had a very rich Common Good, and to-day they had added another substantial asset to it. ( Applause.) Their valuation was increasing by leaps and bounds, they were paying off their debt rapidly, money was flowing in to the coffers of Rothesay, and he believed there might be reduced taxation by judicious management. They should always remember that every penny added to the rates reduced the value of property, while, correspondingly, every penny they took off the rates added to the value of property, and consequently to the wealth of the burgh.
Mr R.D. MacMillan, in proposing “ Golfing,” said he was sorry the Provost had commanded them to be brief, because he could speak on this subject for any length of time, and he had made extensive notes from the various handbooks, including Vardon’s and Braid’s. ( Laughter ) but he would just say that the toast was addressed to two classes of people – those who golfed, and those who didn’t. Those who golfed did not need his remarks, while to those who didn’t he would just suggest that they should begin at once. After the inevitable golf anecdote, Mr MacMillan went on to say that this meeting would be memorable in their recollections inasmuch as to-day they has sat down to luncheon with four gentlemen who amongst them could claim to be eight times champions in the world of golf. ( Applause.)
He thought on behalf of this company he could wish them every success and prosperity, and that when the closing stage of the open championship came, whoever came out in the end would be from amongst these four. ( Applause.)
He coupled the toast with the names of Messrs Sayers and Vardon.
Mr Ben Sayers in responding, returned thanks on behalf of the professionals for the kind remarks made, and said he could assure them it was a pleasure to be here to-day among such a lot of nice people. At the same time he begged to thank the Rothesay Town Council and people for giving him the honour of laying off the course. ( Applause.)
Mr James Braid, in the course of some remarks, said he found it more difficult to make a speech than to play a game. He congratulated the council of Rothesay on the magnificent golf course they had laid out, and Mr Sayers for having made the most of a difficult situation. He also congratulated Balie Harvey and Mr Bremner on the way in which they had carried out the work.
He was sure anyone visiting Rothesay and playing on the course would very soon come back again. ( Applause.)
Mr J.J. White proposed “ The Chairman,” and the Provost briefly replied.
Mr G.M. McLintock, on behalf of the architect and contractors then presented Bailie Harvey with a handsome gold scarf-ring as a memento of the occasion. Bailie Harvey acknowledged the gift in a few appropriate words and the gathering was brought to a close.
The Afternoon Game
The company afterwards returned to the course, where before an even larger crowd the foursome was resumed. The first hole was halved. Braid and Vardon won the next, and were thus three up, counting their lead. Massy won the next two holes, and the fifth was halved in three. At the sixth, Vardon won with a splendid putt, and increased the lead to two. The other pair won at the seventh, but the eighth was halved. At the ninth Braid and Vardon increased their lead to two. The tenth fell to the other pair, and at the eleventh Sayers, with a fine pitch on the green, squared the match. Halves followed to the sixteenth, at which Braid and Vardon were one up. At the seventeenth the game was again squared, and at the eighteenth, amid considerable excitement, the first three players took four each, while Braid, on the last shot, holed in three, thus concluding the game, with Braid and Vardon, who had lead nearly all along, one up on the day’s play.
Note : More information can be had by looking at Rothesay Golf Club