Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland

Ayr Municipal. ( Old Racecourse ).

Ayr Municipal Golf Club.  Instituted 1904.  (Called Ayr Burgh GC GA 1907-08)


The corporation of Ayr have laid out a new nine-hole course on Ayr racecourse, the property of the common good of the burgh. For some years golf has been played on an improvised short nine-hole course, the course being free to all, but some months ago the corporation took the matter into their own hands, called in Charlie Hunter, Prestwick, who , with the valuable assistance of Mr John Young the burgh surveyor and by treasurer Tart, convenor of the committee, himself an enthusiastic golfer, had the ground laid out in a much longer course, and will impose a charge. Good greens have been made, and a horse mower is to be used for cutting the grass throughout the round. John Cowan, of Prestwick, has been made groundsman, and the course was formally opened on Wednesday afternoon in presence of the provost, magistrates, and town council, when John Hunter, Prestwick, and David Kinnell, Prestwick St Nicholas, played an exhibition game. The sketch shows how the nine- hole golf course, varying from 240 to 330 yards, is to be laid out. The dotted lines indicate an alternative course for Saturdays, in order that a larger area may be left free on that day for football or cricket. The turf is of the golfing quality but the course is rather flat and entirely devoid of bunkers. A little variety, however, will be given to the play by the hilly nature of the greens at the southern end. (Glasgow Evening Times)

      “This eighteen hole course, covering about three miles, is nicely situated on the old Racecourse, near the sea, and ten minutes walk from the station. There is a commodious and well appointed clubhouse with tea rooms etc. Tickets can be had at the greenkeeper’s box on the course or at the Town Chamberlain’s office, Town buildings.” 

Sketch from the Glasgow Evening Times, October 8th, 1904

Ayr Municipal Golf Course


Formal Opening


Ayr Advertiser November 17th  1904


The nine-holes golf course laid out by the Ayr Corporation on the Racecourse at Ayr was formally opened yesterday in presence of a fairly large assemblage.  The course, which has been laid out by Mr Charles Hunter, of Prestwick Golf Club, covers almost the entire ground, extending to about ninety acre, but, having regard to the claims of footballers, two alternative holes have been placed to allow of the pursuit of that game on Saturday afternoons.  The course is for the most part level ground, and as yet nothing in the way of hazards have been introduced, but, with the majority of the holes fairly long good opportunity is afforded of enjoying the game.  Yesterday the ground was found to be lacking in the qualities desiderated for good “ lies”, the grass being mostly long and in some parts tangled but a short treatment with the mower and roller should easily bring it into excellent condition.  The greens also, being new, offered considerable difficulty in the matter of putting, but they too should in a short time come to be quite good.  The opening ceremony was performed by Miss Allan, daughter of Provost Allan, and an exhibition game of 18 holes was thereafter played between John Hunter, Prestwick, and D. Kinnell, Prestwick St Nicholas.

    Provost Allan, after expressing pleasure at seeing so large an attendance,went on to say that the corporation had entered upon this project with somewhat of a feeling of fear and trembling, but, thanks to the engineering of the scheme by the convener, Treasurer Tait (applause) it was to-day ready for opening, and he was sure that it would prove not only a source of enjoyment and pleasure to the community but also a considerable attraction to the town itself.  (Applause.).  He was sure they would all be waiting to see the contest that was to take place, and he would therefore call on Treasurer Tait to proceed.

    Treasurer Tait said before calling upon the young lady who had kindly consented to strike off the first ball and declare the course open there were two things he would like to say.  Two things had always struck him as peculiar  about Ayr of late years with regard to golfing.  The first was that while neighbouring towns had all been doing something for the furthering of golf and the attractions of their towns Ayr had hitherto been doing nothing.  The second thing that struck him was that they had here and had had so long a most beautiful park in beautiful surroundings of which they had made so little use hitherto.  For many years with the exception of the three days of the Races, and, perhaps, the Yeomanry and Militia training, there had been no use made of it at all.  Lately footballers had enlivened the Saturday afternoons by their presence and their playing and the cricketers came in and helped a little, and then a few enterence to the rich.  They had been fixed as low as possible, keeping in view that the course would have to pay its way, because with a sixpenny rise in the rates this year they cou’d not go to the rates and ask for any deficiency to be made up. (laughter.) He trusted therefore that all would take advantage of the course.  Golf was a game for old men and matrons, for young men and maidens, and all ranks of society could indulge in it with enjoyment and with excellent results as to health. The course had been laid out by Mr Charles Hunter, of Prestwick, a man who had had a great deal of experience in laying out courses, and one who was an Ayr man himself and knew their wants. It had been laid out to the best advantage possible and so as to secure the minimum amount of danger with the greatest amount of pleasure, and the interests of all using the course already were thoroughly preserved.  After  complimenting Mr John Young, burgh surveyor, on the part he had taken in the work, and acknowledging the courtesy and kindness of Mr David W. Shaw, secretary to the Western Meeting, who were tenants of the course, in meeting the corporation and in granting the use of some of their premises for storage purposes, Treasurer Tait went on to say that to-day they were to have an exhibition game by two friends from Prestwick, Mr David Kinnell, of Prestwick St Nicholas, and Mr John Hunter, of Old Prestwick links.  He noticed that their neighbours on the course were also showing their interest in the event, Mr Smith, of Shalimar, showing that he wished them well by having his flag erected.  In calling upon Miss Allan to strike off the first ball, Treasurer Tait in the first place thanked her for her presence, and expressed the appreciation of the committee at her coming forward.  They had thought of having Mrs Allan, but seeing she could not come it was very kind of Miss Allan to come.  He had been asked to present her with a beautiful golf club (a cleek), bearing the following inscription:- “Presented to Miss Allan on the occasion of opening the Ayr Corporation golf course at the Racecourse- 16th  November, 1904.  He wished her very great happiness in using the club.  He hoped she would become an enthusiastic golfer and have many a pleasant game over this course, and that the club would enable her to make many a straight stroke and perhaps enable her to win some of the medals in connection with the course, or perhaps win or be won in a suitable match. (Laughter and applause.)

    Miss Allan having struck off the first ball, Provost Allan returned thanks on her behalf.

    Messrs Hunter and Kinnell then set off on an exhibition game, followed by a large crowd.  At the end of the first nine holes Kinnell stood two holes up, the following being the scores:-

Kinnell – 4 5 7 4 4 4 4 4 4  -40.

Hunter -  5 4 5 4 4 5 5 4 5   -41  


Scotsman December 14th 1904



Racecourses as Golf Links


The laying out of a golf links on the race-course at Ayr appears to have come as a revelation to some people, who have seized upon the idea as something entirely novel.  They have evidently forgotten that golf and horse-racing have gone hand in hand at Musselburgh for many years.  The movement for throwing open the racecourses in England to golfers will naturally raise a question as to whether the golf club should be under the management of a club independent of the racing club.  Discussing the question in the current issue of The field, a writer says:-“there is little doubt that in any case the plan would meet with support, for it is quite evident that golf belongs not to the genus Ephemera.  There are plenty of days on which the courses of all racing clubs are lying idle, when they might be put to the suggested purpose as a profit, while even on race days the golfer need not necessarily be an absentee, for except in the winter, there is plenty of daylight both before and after racing hours, and an arrangement as to duration of the golfer’s spell could easily be settled, as, indeed, could other matters, such as clubhouse accommodation and catering.”


Note : Ayr racecourse moved location from this site in 1907.

Galloway Journal January 16th  1908


Golf .   The motion to be moved by Councillor Copland in the February meeting of Ayr Town Council, that the Council approach contiguous proprietors at the old race course with a view to acquiring ground by lease or purchase for the purpose of extending the municipal links to eighteen holes may raise hopes within the race course golfers which there is no reasonable prospect of being realised.  The only direction in which ground could possibly be got lies within the policies of Belleisle, and it is difficult to conceive the proprietor being agreeable to a public golf course extending right up the walls of his mansion. Even were Mr Coats agreeable to this it is more than doubtful whether the Town Council would feel justified in incurring the expenditure involved in purchasing the necessary ground at its market value.  However, inquiry will show.

Ayr Advertiser May 26th 1910



Extension Of Ayr Municipal




On Saturday afternoon the Ayr Municipal Golf Course, as extended from a nine hole to an eighteen hole course, was formally opened in presence of a fairly large assemblage. Within the area formerly occupied by nine holes eighteen holes have been laid, and so well has the ground been utilised that there is no crossing. The new course begins at the club house and goes northwards to the first green opposite St Lawrence House. From that point the course is of a zig-zag nature until the last two holes, which run parallel with the Downfoot Road, the last hole, like the first tee, being opposite the club house. Although there is a good lot of zig zagging across the course there is quite sufficient width between the holes for play. The whole course has been thoroughly prepared during the winter. The greens have all been properly levelled, cut, and sanded, and a few bunkers have been cut, but further bunkers will be laid down as experience of the course is gained. The course has been laid out by Mr Charles Hunter, Prestwick, and Mr John Young, Town Surveyor, Ayr, and all the work in connection with the extension has been carried out by Mr John Cowan, the greenkeeper, assisted by a number of men. The corporation were anxious that the town should have an eighteen hole course, which was necessary to avoid congestion and also to serve as an additional attraction to visitors to the “ Auld Toon.”

Baillie Watson, convenor of the golf committee, has been one of the leading spirits in the project, and has shown great interest and got through an amount of work in connection with the extension. The total length of the course is two miles 1190 yards, and the length of each hole is as follows :- 1st 226 yards, 2nd 140 yards, 3rd 233 yards, 4th 379 yards, 5th 200 yards, 6th 192 yards, 7th 370 yards, 8th 346 yards, 9th 370 yards, 10th 105 yards, 11th 286 yards, 12th 300 yards, 13th 311 yards, 14th 300 yards, 15th 260 yards, 16th 215 yards, 17th 256 yards, and 18th 221 yards.

Provost Hunter, who was called upon by Baillie Watson to declare the ground open, said they were met that afternoon under most auspicious circumstances. The sun was smiling upon them,and they could not have had a more delightful afternoon for the opening of the extended course. The Ayr Town Council felt that they were indebted to the players who has supported their efforts and turned what at one time – with the exception of about three days in the year – was nothing other than a lonely waste into a happy and pleasant playing ground. ( Applause ) Of course, without the support of those around him the council could not have made it such, but with their continued support he hoped the club would be equally well supported. It would give something like double the accommodation for players ( Applause ). He felt that in saying a word for golf there it was almost uncalled for, but he thought it could be said for golf that the players were very much more numerous than those who participated either in football or cricket. They could see thousands of people gathered together to see a football match in which a couple of dozen players were engaged, but there on an 18 hole course they could have something like 100 players all engaging in the game at the same time. He hoped they would find the extended 18 holes course quite as worthy of appreciation as the 9 holes course. He did not suppose their were finer greens in Ayrshire than on their course. ( Applause ).

They had few links with finer amenities ; they had beauty all around them, and with good clubs and balls he had no doubt the players would spend as happy days on the 18 holes course as they had spent on the 9 holes course. ( Applause .)

Baillie Watson then called upon Miss Hunter, daughter of the provost, to drive off the first ball, and in doing so presented her with a silver putter, bearing the following inscription :-

“ Ayr Corporation. Presented to Miss Hunter on the occasion of the extension of the corporation golf course to 18 holes – 20th May, 1910.”

Proceeding, Baillie Watson said he hoped Miss Hunter, when she looked upon the putter, would remember the happy event when she drove off the first ball on the Ayr Municipal extended course, and also that she would remember that her father was the worthy provost of the “ Auld Toon” at the time. ( Applause ) He wished Miss Hunter to retain the golf ball also, and the caddie who recovered the ball first would get 1s. ( Laughter )

Miss Hunter then gracefully drove off the first ball, and was accorded three hearty cheers for doing so on the call of Baillie Watson.

A four-ball foursome was then engaged in between Mr James Robb, Prestwick St Nicholas, ex amateur champion, with David Kinnell, Prestwick St Nicholas, against Mr John Thomson, Prestwick St Nicholas with John Cowan, Ayr Municipal. The match ended in a victory for Robb  and Kinnell by two up and one to play, although on stroke play Mr Thomson and Cowan had the better of their opponents, their better ball score being 68, as against 69by Mr Robb and Kinnell. The following are the scores approximately, in some instances the players not holing out.



Mr James Robb


Out   ………………………………….  4,4,4,4,4,4,5,5,5 – 39

In      ………………………………….  3,4,5,4,5,4,4,3,4 – 36  - 75


Mr John Thomson


Out  …………………………………..  4,4,4,5,4,2,4,4,4 -  35

In      ………………………………….  3,3,4,4,4,4,3,4,4 -  33 – 68


David Kinnell


Out   ………………………………….. 4,4,4,6,3,4,3,5,5 – 36

In      ………………………………….. 3,4,5,5,3,6,3,4,4 -  36 – 72


John Cowan


Out   ………………………………….  4,4,4,5,4,3,5,4,4 – 37

In      ………………………………….. 3,4,3,4,5,4,4,4,3 -  34 – 71

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