Early Golf in Girvan. “A correspondent, signing himself “ reform.” Protests against the danger to which people enjoying a walk on the road or green are exposed by golf being played there, and suggests that ground in a better situation for a game so dangerous to passers-by should be acquired elsewhere.” (AA 28.3.1872)
This ancient Scottish game, although now becoming almost British in its character, has only recently been introduced here by a few enterprising gentlemen. On Saturday last, Charlie Hunter, the professional from Prestwick, came down to inspect and lay off the green. He was accompanied by several players from the same place, and after having “ Taken Stock” of the green and laid out the holes, several good foursomes were played. We may add that Charlie Hunter expressed himself highly satisfied with the links, that in regard to the turf, nothing could be better, and that hazards were by no means to be despised. (AA 9.5.1872)
The members of this club met on the links on Friday last. There was a good turnout and the weather was everything that could be desired. A Second and Third prize was presented by the club. The Captain’s prize, which consisted of a beautiful flower vase, was won by Mr John Melville. The Second consisting of clubs was won by Mr David Inglis ; and the Third, a number of balls, won by Mr David Wilson. All the winners started at scratch, although some of the players had the benefit of a handicap of 24 strokes out of 28 holes, which is four rounds of the green.” (AA 31.10.1872)
The first handicap match for the season was played on the Girvan links on Saturday, 28th inst., when five valuable prizes presented by Capt. Andrews and other members of the club, were competed for. Fully an average number of local and non-resident players took part in the competition, and notwithstanding that a strong gale from S.W., accompanied with drenching showers, continued throughout the day, the greatest interest was evinced in the game. The following were the successful competitors, Viz:- 1st Prize, won by D.L. Wilson, 2nd by John Melville, 3rd by Robert Marshall, 4th by Robert Innes, 5th by James Nicol.” (AA 2.4.1874)
“The green of Girvan has always been a source of great enjoyment to the community in affording a pleasant outlet to all classes of the people. The amount of building which has recently taken place gave rise to the apprehension that ultimately the whole of the green would be covered with houses. We are, therefore, gratified to learn that, in answer to a memorial from the magistrates and town council of Girvan, Lord Stair has kindly intimated his intention of reserving 15 acres of the green below the South Church, and presenting it to the people of Girvan as a public park. This act of Lord Stairs has given the greatest gratification to the whole community, who warmly appreciate the value of the gift, and heartily thank his Lordship for his kindness.” (AA 14.1.1875) Note : 15 acres is not a lot to play golf on.
“We are glad to say that the advent amongst us of 1877 has been marked with a great deal less of boisterous hilarity than that we have seen on similar occasions. The time honoured custom of first footing appears to be gradually disappearing, and a more natural mode of observing the annual holiday is gaining favour. The streets were excessively quiet throughout the day. The weather was most unpropitious for holiday making, a dirty sleet falling during most of the day. Notwithstanding the weather, the Girvan Golf Club turned out and played a handicap match for 4 beautiful prizes presented by the Captain, David Andrews Esq. The match was three rounds of the green, and occupied about three hours play. Mr Murray, Banker, and Mr Melville, Fishery Officer, tied for the first prize. The third and fourth falling to Mr Wm. Forsyth, and Mr David Andrews.” (AA 4.1.1877)
Note : we don’t know how long the club lasted after this.
At a meeting of gentlemen interested in the game of golf, held last week, it was resolved to resuscitate the old Girvan Golf Club. Arrangements have been made for the use of Watermouth Park, and it is expected that play will commence on New Year’s Day.” (H 29.12.1890)
“The Girvan Golf Club was formally opened for play on Saturday afternoon by Mr William Murray, Solicitor, in the absence of Mr Andrews, the captain of the club. The Rev S C Fry, in a few remarks, referred to the attraction of Girvan, and the many advantages of the game. The first ball was placed on the tee and played off by Mr Murray, after which three pairs started on the round of the course, Mr Brown, Banker, finishing the nine holes in 46 strokes. The course was laid out by Mr W Fernie, Troon, and is arranged in nine holes, with a sufficiency of hazards to test the skill of the players. The ground, we understand, will be open to summer visitors.” (GH 19.1.1891)
“The monthly handicap competition for the medal was played on Saturday. The day was beautifully fine, and there was a good turn-out of members. The following are the scores: 1st, Andrew Scott, 92: 2nd, David McConnell, 93: 3rd, James Galloway, 95. Through the kindness of Mr Hannah, the tacksman of Girvan Mains, the club have obtained a lease of the golfing green on very favourable terms.” (GH 2.11.1891)
“A meeting was held on Saturday afternoon at Turnberry Castle for the formation of a new golfing club at Turnberry Links. The subject has been in consideration for some time by gentlemen in connection with the Girvan golf club, who had visited the place and gone over the ground. It was arranged that a joint meeting of those favourable to the scheme in Gurvan, Maybole, and Kirkoswald should be held on the ground on Saturday to formally constitute the club. The meeting accordingly took place, and was held in the open-air on Saturday afternoon, on the vaulted ruins of Turnberry Castle – the castle of the gaelic lords of Galloway, and afterwards the principal seat of the Earls of Carrick, and famous as the birthplace of King Robert the Bruce. Seated on and within these ruined walls a council was held – Mr Marshall, Schoolmaster, presiding.
Mr William Murray, Banker, Girvan, the principal promoter of the scheme, was unavoidably absent, but a letter was read from him detailing the steps taken to secure the ground. Lord Ailsa, the proprietor, gives a hearty countenance to the scheme and arrangement have been made with the tenant, Mr Bone. A letter was also read from Mr David Andrews, Banker, Girvan, approving the formation of the club, and promising practical support.
On the motion of the Rev S C Fry, Girvan, seconded by Mr Andrew Brown, Commercial Bank, it was agreed to form the club, and the following gentlemen were appointed an interim committee to complete the arrangements :- Mr Marshall, Chairman, Mr Andrew Brown, Secretary, Mr Andrew Dunlop, Royal Bank, Treasurer, Rev. S.C. Fry, Girvan, Mr William Murray, Mr David Andrews, Mr Smith, The Castle, Maybole, the Rev. Mr Muir, Kirkoswald ; Mr McCracken, Blackheath, London ; Mr W.C. Scott, Glasgow ; and Mr Rutherford, Edinburgh.
Lord Ailsa was most heartily thanked for his kindness, and it was agreed to solicit his patronage as hon. President of the club.
Mr Eaglesham, C.E., Ayr, has agreed to prepare a plan of the ground free of charge. The committee proceeded over the proposed course. Turnberry is about equal distance from Girvan, Maybole, and Kirkosawald, and thus favourably situated for the three parishes.The ground extends for about two and a half miles along the shore of the Firth Of Clyde, and embraces sufficient hazards to make the game interesting and bring out the science and skill of the player. The course will be laid out in 18 holes, with fine drives between, and splendid putting ground in the hollows. The situation is one of the finest that could anywhere be met with.” (CE 2.9.1892)
“Very satisfactory arrangements have been made with the Marquis of Ailsa, through his factor, Mr Smith, Maybole, for the new golf course at Turnberry, and the club have decided to remove to the new course on 15th May. The Marquis gives them all the benefits of a well-formed golf course at Turnberry on condition that he receives 80 oer cent of the subscriptions, which arrangement will terminate when course is taken over by the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company, when the light railway and hotel for which they have obtained powers are completed. The terms are considered favourable to the Girvan Club, which numbers about sixty members. The course is about five miles from Girvan, six from Maybole, and three from Kirkoswald, The roads from either towns are excellent for a cycle run or bus drive, and players can start from either end of the course. The course has eighteen holes , and has been skilfully laid out by W Fernie, Troon, with every variety of bunker and hazard, and well-placed putting greens. The Marquis of Ailsa, in forming the golf course, is conferring a great boon not only on the people of the district, but on others who may be induced to visit the beautiful Ayrshire coast and the land of Bruce and Burns.” (S 29.4.1901)
Girvan Burgh Golf Club, Instituted 1903. “In the interests of Girvan, negotiations have been proceeding for some time between Mr Kennedy of Dunure and Dalquharran, and a committee appointed by the inhabitants of Girvan, with the object of Acquiring a golf course for the town. Terms were at length arranged by the committee, and these were approved at a large and enthusiastic meeting of the inhabitants held last Thursday night. The result of the negotiations is that the town has acquired on long lease 40 acres of fine golfing ground, embracing the old course, stretching along the shore to the immediate North of the town. The course is an ideal one, and little will be required to put it in perfect playing order. Work is to begin at once, and as the old greens are still available, the course will be open for play by the beginning of June. From the course there is a magnificent prospect of sea and land, and when the beauties have been discovered, or re-discovered, the course will doubtless be taken advantage of to a large extent. It is understood that a building scheme is also on foot to erect dwelling houses along the fringe of the course.” (AA 29.1.1903)
“At a large and enthusiastic meeting of the inhabitants of Girvan it was resolved to form a golf club to be called The Girvan Burgh Golf Club to play over the links extending to about 40 acres recently acquired from Mr Kennedy of Dunure on long lease. A constitution was then adopted, and the following office bearers elected: - Hon President, Provost McCreath; Captain, Balie Alex. Telfer; Vice Captain, Mr Wm. Shankland; Secretary and Treasurer, Mr Jas. Brewster, British Linen Coy. Bank. Committee – Messrs J. Aitken, F. McCallum, Dr Valentine, C.M. Lawson, H.M. Blair, James Smith, Alexander Smillie, Thomas Lees, H.H. Hutchison, M. McCaa, John Macphail, W. Paterson.” (AA 5.2.1903)
“David Kinnell of Prestwick St Nicholas golf club has gone over the ground recently acquired by Girvan Burgh Golf Club from Mr Kennedy of Dunure and has laid out a nine-hole golf course of about a mile and a half in extent. The course, which Kinnell considers the finest of its size, is beautifully situated along the shore, and commands a magnificent view of Ailsa Craig and the Arran Hills. It is also in close proximity to the town and station, and should be an additional attraction to the many visitors who frequent this district.” (AA 19.3.1903)
“At the monthly meeting of the Town Council – Provost Smellie presiding, there was adopted a recommendation by the finance and law committee that the council should take over the Burgh Golf Course.” (KA 18.11.1916)