Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland

Maybole, Kilhenzie Castle

Proposed New Golf Club.      Ayr Advertiser May 12th 1904


A circular has been issued calling a meeting to be held in the Town Hall on Friday 20th inst, for the purpose of considering the advisability of taking steps to form a golf club, and to acquire ground in the immediate vicinity of Maybole for the purpose of laying off a golf course, and to discuss what means should be adopted with a view to having this project carried out and a scheme propounded for the successful achievement of this object.

It may be explained that the proposed club is not intended to run in opposition line to the already splendid club and course existing at Turnberry, but may be stated to act as an auxiliary to that club in providing the means of securing a suitable place for the carrying out of practice games , and thus afford aspiring players a suitable opportunity of perfecting their study of golf. The want of such a place near the town has been much felt.

Ballie McKeelar has kindly consented to preside , and it is hoped there will be a large and representative attendance.

Maybole Golf Club, Instituted 1905. First Course. A 9 hole course half a mile from the station.

      “The new golf course at Kilkenzie, a mile from Maybole, was opened on Saturday by Sir James Fergusson, Bart, of Kilkerran, M.P. Provost Ramsay presented Sir James with a silver headed cleek and with it, he drove off the first ball. The Fernie’s of Troon, Senior and Junior, then engaged in an exhibition game. “(Scotsman, 8.5.1905)

Kilhenzie Castle in the 30s

April 20th  1905 Ayr Advertiser



Maybole Golf Club


The above club has been in actual existence since July, 1904 and the formal ceremony in declaring the course open has now been fixed to take place on Saturday, 6th May next, at 2.30 in the afternoon.  The ceremony is to be performed by Sir James Fergusson, Baronet, M.P. of Kilkerran,who is the superior of the ground and also the honorary president of the club, Provost Ramsay, Maybole, president of the club, and Baillie McKellar, vice-president, are also to be present on the occasion.  The course, which was laid off by Mr William Fernie, Troon, is stated on his authority to be one of the finest sporting inland courses he has ever been privileged to lay off, and that the hazards which abound would appear to have been made to order.  The situation is truly a magnificent one.  The links are on the Kilkerran estate at Kilhenzie, pronounced “ Kil-heen-ie,” about 1 mile from the town of Maybole and 3 from Kilkerran on the Dailly and Girvan road.  The present tenant of Kilhenzie Castle, round which the links are formed (and at one time was a stronghold of the Kennedys of Dunure and Crosnaguel fame, the stories of whose raids and marches form a feature of stirring and romantic history that has made Carrick famous) is Mrs Taylor and it is from this lady that the club have secured a lease for a lengthened period.  The club consider themselves fortunate that in Sir James Fergusson, the popular laird of Kilkerran, and Mrs Taylor, they not only find superiors but friends who in every sense of the word have promoted the interests of the club in every possible way.  The Committee are evidently bent, in making the most of the occasion judging from the following programme which is to be carried through on the 6th May;-

Professional . – 18 hole golf match to be played by the two Fernies of Troon- Willie Fernie, sen. And Fernie, Jun. Attendance of the Maybole Burgh Prize Band, who will discourse music all the afternoon.  Afternoon tea to be served by ladies’ committee of the club to all members and visitors present on the occasion.

    With the attendance of Sir James Fergusson and other country notables, and given good weather, this should be the event of the season and a never to be forgotten day in Maybole, the ancient capital of Carrick.  The club are in the struggling stage of their career, but are hoping the near future will see them in a secure and safe footing.  The membership at present is 78 gentlemen and 52 ladies.  The club have been fortunate in securing the patronage, and financial assistance of the following gentlemen, viz.: - Wm. Baird, Esq; of Cambusdoon; Jas. Coats, Esq, of Auchendrane; W.H. Dunlop, Esq; Doonside; C. Dormaid, Esq; Kilkerran; and W.C. Macrorie, Esq; Ayr,   The captain of the club is Ex-Bailie Mulvein, Maybole, an enthusiast in whacking the gutty and a gentleman who has the club’s best interests at heart.  New members are now being enrolled for the year from May next at the following terms:-  Subscription (including entry money), £1  1s for gentlemen and 10s  6d for ladies.  The committee invite all parties intending to become members to do so at once as they will in a short time be compelled to charge entry money in addition to the subscription in consequence of the membership being limited according to terms of lease. The honorary secretary and treasurer is Mr. J. Buchanan Lang, Cassillis Road, Maybole, to whom all proposals of membership should be sent.


Description Of Holes


First hole-Capenoch 173 yards -  Playing from the Club-house, which is situated on the road leading from Maybole to Kilkerran, you play for the hole a pond having on the right hand to be avoided.  There is also a burn situated a few yards beyond the green which makes careful play a stern necessity in approaching


Second hole- Paddock,324 yards.- This is the longest hole in the course.  Running as it does parallel all the way with a burn and wood, players have to carefully avoid the vice of “Slicing”.  A useful hazard is also provided by a tall hedge, the hole being situated on the other side about 50 yards in the small field which at this part adjoins the farm of Kilhenzie.


Third hole- Port Arthur, 190 yards – This hole has been aptly describe, and might even as appropriately be distinguished as the Mukden of the course.  Facing the “tee”is a stone wall descending on Mudken, which is a typical farm “midden” entrenched on either side with a superfluous quantity of barbed wire.  The difficulty would almost appear to have been overcome until the other side is reached, when one is met with the most beautiful natural hazards in the shape first of all of a crescent formed roadway situated amidst 3 large trees, a hedge, a burn, and a ditch.

Pity the “gouffer” who fails in his driving shot to manipulate successfully these hazards.  It is a case of scoring 1 or 21.  This hole has been described by Fernie as one of the most interesting and sporting holes ever seen by him on any course, and certainly it must be seen to be, believed.


Fourth hole.-  The Castle.289 yards. – Second conquest hole.  This is a lovely playing “brassie” hole several trees forming suitable hazards.


Fifth hole- Culdoon, 185 yards – This hole is situated on an angle, and, situated as it is at about the highest elevation of the course, one has to account for a wind which often b’ows from the south-west.


Sixth hole- The Lodge, 180 yards -  Might be described as the easiest hole in the course.  The only hazard being a marsh on the right of the straight run.  A road leading to the Castle has to be crossed here, the hole lying just over the opposite side of the road.


Seventh Hole- The traits, 269 yards.-  Third longest hole, and of considerable difficulty in negotiation.  It is well named, as in the journey the player has to avoid small ponds running alongside each other and in the direct road to the hole, so that the most accurate play is necessary to have a decent score recorded on the green.  Here many learners have come to grief, and for the sporting “gowfer”  I cannot think of anything more relishing to his keen tastes and ideas.


Eighth Hole- Himalayas, 105 yards. -  This is the shortest hole but what it lacks in distance is more than equalled in its perpendicular propensities.  Situated on an angle of  1 in 45 the hole is only reached after fighting through a succession of “kopes.” The Castle of Kilhengle is situated on its immediate right and a garden outstanding and truly hazardous.


Ninth Hole, “Hame”, 180 yards.-  This is the last hole and like the two previous requires no words to defend its title in respect of interestedness.  The hole is not seen from the tee, and on the way to it one has to be on the watch to avoid in the first instance a garden on the left, and in playing up the hill has to be careful with his irons in approaching as there is a series of “Knowes”  “Hillocks” and “Rocks” to be avoided in reaching the hole.  The road moreover has again to be crossed here and avoided.

The course is so situated that an extension in the future to 18 holes can be accomplished at the minimum of expense and difficulty.

Scotsman 8th May 1905. Maybole.


The new golf course at Kilkenzie, a mile from Maybole, was opened on Saturday by Sir James Fergusson, Bart, of Kilkerran, M.P.

There was a large gathering of ladies and gentlemen. Sir James Fergusson, in declaring the course open, said that the provost had referred to this as a new amusement. It was a new game to many, but it was a very ancient Scottish game. When King James V1 of Scotland succeeded to the kingdom of England, he and his friends took golf with them to London. When he ( Sir James ) went to London as an officer of the guards fifty four years ago – it was dreadful how time flew – his Scottish friends regularly went to play at Blackheath, but the Englishmen were extraordinarily slow to take it up. They had made up for lost time, because the game had become exceedingly popular in England, and he only hoped that when people enjoyed themselves at the game they would remember where they got it from

Provost Ramsay then presented Sir James with a silver headed cleek and with it, he drove off the first ball. The Fernie’s of troon, Senior and Junior, then engaged in an exhibition game.

Ayr Advertiser May 11th  1905


Opening of Links at Maybole


The new links at Kilhenzie, near Maybole, formed by the Maybole Golf Club, with the kind permission of Mrs Taylor, Kilhenzie Castle, were officially opened on Saturday by Sir James Taylor, Kilhenzie Castle, were officially opened on Saturday by Sir James Fergusson, Bart; of Kilkerran, M.P.; in auspicious weather, and is presence of a large concourse of spectators, both ladies and gentlemen.  The links, a description of which appeared in a former issue of our paper, are prettily situated around Kilhenzie Castle, and although the ground is somewhat heavy and difficult, and the course rather liberally interspersed with trees, it will no doubt improve with time. Provost Ramsay presided at the opening ceremony, at the commencement of which the Secretary (Mr J.B. Lang) intimated apologies from the following :- Bailie McKellar, vice-president; Mr W. H. Dunlop, of Doonside; Captain Hunter Blair, Blairrquhan; Mr J.C.Kennedy, of Dunure; Provost Telfer, Girvan; Mr Thomas Smith, Maybole; Mr J.E. Shaw, Ayr; and Dr Porter, Prestwick.

     Provost Ramsay said he had very much pleasure in presiding on a day and on an occasion so very important for Maybole Golf Club and for Maybole in general.  He need not say much in introducing Sir James Fergusson to Maybole people.  (Applause). Sir James was well known to them all, and had done much for Maybole.  (Applause). With regard to the formation of the club he might say that Turnberry links were largely taken advantage of by those who could command the facilities for getting to it, but in the interests of those who could not command the facilities and in providing links that did not require the young people to neglect their work in order to enjoy a game the links they were about to open would  be a great boon.  The railway company had always been going to do something for Maybole, but nothing had been done yet, and Maybole had been left pretty much behind in the matter of golf.  The railway company might possibly provide facilities in the future, but up to the present they had just had to do with what they had.  But with the necessity had come the man, and with the man the golf course. (Applause).  The man was Mr Lang, their secretary – (applause) – and the energy he had displayed in all his other duties eminently fitted him for the formation of this club (Applause).  So far it had been a success.  There were something like 120 members at present, and there was room for many more.  With regard to golf he had better leave that to Sir James Fergusson, as he was a novice in the subject.  It was a great pleasure at all times for the people of Maybole to meet with Sir James.  His name was a household word in their midst.  As a landlord, he had not an equal; as a private gentleman, no one had anything but good to say of him; as a member of Parliament, he had been a great success and as a member of the Government he had done everlasting good.  His name was recorded in the pages of the history of Parliament for doing excellent work, and down to his latest day, he had no doubt, Sir James would continue to interest himself in the district of Carrick, where he was born and brought up and where, he was sure, he felt more at home than ever, more perhaps than in the constituency which he represented. (Applause).  He asked them to give Sir James a warm welcome. (Applause).  They loved him as a citizen of Carrick, and because he had interested himself in this golf club as in all other things for the benefit of the district, and had helped to bring it to such a stage of success. (Loud applause).

       Sir James Fergusson said he certainly felt more embarrassed than he had expected from the kind way in which the Provost had referred to him and the warm welcome they had given him.  He had done nothing to deserve the cordiality of the occasion.  He was very glad to know of anything that was for the welfare, the comfort, or the pleasure of his neighbours in that district.  He could claim no credit for the formation of that golf club or for its establishment there.  It was a club of their own making and their good lodgement there was owing rather to the kindness of their excellent neighbour Mrs Taylor.  (Applause).  He hoped the ground was suitable and that it would be the scene of many pleasant games and the source of much pleasure to the club.  The Provost had said golf was a new amusement.  It might be new among them, but it was a very ancient Scottish game.  When King James the Sixth of Scotland succeeded to the kingdom of England he and his friends took golf with them to London and from that time till now there had been golf links at Blackheath, near London. When he (Sir James) went to London as an officer of the Guards- now fifty four years ago (hear, hear and applause)- it was dreadful how time went past- his Scottish friends regularly went to play at Blackheath. No Englishman went there (laughter), but they were now making up for lost time.  The pastime had now been established in every part of England and had become exceedingly popular. (Applause) he only hoped that when the Englishmen were enjoying the game they would remember where they got it from (laughter), and the same with curling, when once they had taken it up thoroughly.  Golf was a perfectly innocent game (Applause).  He had never heard anyone say that it had corrupted anybody’s morals.  (Laughter).  It was a very social game; one feature of it was that it was not confined to men.  A great many amusements that were enjoyed by men which they kept the ladies away from; this was a beautiful game because the gentlemen could bring the ladies with them, and he was glad to hear that there were in this club fully half as many ladies as men.  He was not quite sure that that was a fair proportion (Laughter).  He thought that in the Bible somewhere it was said; “To every man a damsel or two” – (laughter)- but here for every damsel there was a man or two.  (Laughter).  Possibly many a round played by a couple on this course might lead to a closer union. (Laughter).  On the other hand there would be a great opportunity of judging people’s tempers.  At golf, he was told, sometimes a good deal of temper was shown.- (laughter||)- and therefore men and maidens might be warned off in time.  (Laughter).  He hoped there would be as little bad language on these links as possible and the presence of the ladies would have to restrain it.  It was very provoking he knew when one thought they were coming down just exactly on the right place to find that after all one had missed it. (Laughter). That the course had to be remedied, and the only thing to do was to try again. (Laughter).  The annoying thing was that it represented the loss of so many holes.  (Laughter).  The Provost had referred to the links at Turnberry, but he thought it was best that they should have the links more convenient to Maybole, and with these links only a mile from the town there would be less inducement for many young men to scamp their work when they knew that they could easily walk out on an evening and have a game- thanks to the kindly tenant of \Kilhenzie- (applause) – and he was quite sure it would give Mrs Taylor many an enjoyable afternoon when she saw the members enjoying their game.  An ancestor of his had lived in the old house of Kilhenzie 150 years ago and when he (Sir James) was a young man whose who managed his affairs had thought it advisable to restore the old house.  He was glad they had done so when he thought of the kindly people who lived in the delightful old place.  (Applause).  He knew Mrs Taylor and her lamented husband had been of great service in many ways to Maybole. (applause).  No man had been more regretted than the late Mr Taylor was.  He hoped Kilhenszie would be as popular with the people of Maybole.  Here they had gathered on this fine spring day, with everything coming into bloom and promising a fine summer.  He hoped there was a prosperous year in store for them, and that Maybole would have better times than it had had of late.  It gave him much pleasure to think how much more prosperous Maybole was now than when he was young, and he hoped it was destined to be much more prosperous still.  (Applause).  He was not going to give them a lecture on golf as the Provost seemed to expect from him, because he was quite sure there were a good many of them who knew much more about it than he did.  (Laughter and applause).

     Provost Ramsay at this stage presented Sir James with a silver-mounted cleek, in acknowledging which Sir James expressed his pleasure, and stated that it would always have a prominent place in his house.

     The company then proceeded to the tee, and, after having been photographed, witnessed Sir James strike off the first ball amid loud applause.

      Votes of thanks were then proposed by Bailie Mulvein, president, to Sir James; by Sir James to Mrs Taylor, for whom ex-Provost McCreath, Girvan, replied, and by Mr C.W.Brown, solicitor, to Provost Ramsay.  A few remarks were also made by ex-Provost Marshall, Maybole.

      The company then proceeded to witness a match between W.Fernie, Troon (who laid out the course). And his son. W.Fernie jr. During the afternoon also tea was served on the ground, and the excellent arrangements of the secretary throughout rendered the occasion a memorable one in the district of Maybole.


      The match between the Fernies was witnessed by a large following, and considering the difficulties Fernie pere gave a capital display.  The scores were – W. Fernie,sen. (first round 37, second round 34), 71; W. Fernie, jr. (first round 47, second round 41), 88.

      Two prominent Prestwick amateurs (Robert Andrew, St Nicholas, and Frank Peebles, St Cuthbert’s) also played 18 holes. Andrew being round in 75 and Peebles 76.

Ayr Advertiser May 18th  1905


    The annual general meeting of the Maybole Golf Club was held in the Lesser Town Hall Maybole, on Friday evening- Provost Ramsay, president, presiding. The hon. Secretary and treasurer (MrJ.B. Lang) submitted statement and abstract accounts for the past year, which had been audited by Messrs P. Paterson and W. Bonthrone, showing the total income for the year to be £132 16s 3d and expenditure £137 2s 7d, leaving a balance due the treasurer of £4 6s 4d.   The report was approved of on the motion of Mr J. Rafferty, M.A; who moved a resolution expressing keen appreciation of the very handsome manner in which the lady members of the club contributed to the success of the opening ceremony at Kilhenzie on Saturday, 6th inst. by providing their own expense the service of tea, and recognising the ungrudging services of the Ladies’ Committee on that occasion.  Mr Lang seconded, and the resolution was carried.  All the office-bearers were re elected, viz.; - Hon. President, Sir James Ferguson, Bart, M.P.; president, Provost Ramsay; vice-president, Bailie McKellar; captain, ex Bailie Mulvein; secretary and treasurer, J. B.Lang.  On the motion of the Provost it was agreed to approach the Railway Company to erect a small platform at the nearest point on the line to the links, and ask that at least one train per day each way be stopped for the convenience of golfers.  At the close of the meeting Provost Ramsay intimated that he would give a trophy cup for annual competition among the gentlemen members.  We understand Councillor \M. Boyd has already promised a medal for a ladies’ competition.  Some discussion arose as to handicapping and the matter was remitted to the committee.

Ayr Advertiser May 31st  1906


Golf:-  Maybole Golf Club held a foursome competition over Kilhenzie Course on Saturday last,  the weather was all that could be desired and seventeen ladies and seventeen gentlemen took part in a most enjoyable contest.  At the close it was found that Miss Boyd and Mr Edward Harper were the winners, the runners up being Miss Esther Mulvein and Mr Robert Wilson.  So successful was the competition that arrangements will be made by the committee for holding several during the season.

Galloway Journal December 13th  1906


Maybole Golf Club Dance :-  The annual dance in connection with the Maybole Golf Club was held in the Town Hall on Friday evening last, and was attended by a company numbering over120.  The decorations of the hall were entrusted to Mr Bowie, Ayr, who displayed a great amount of artistic skill in the work.  Herr Iffs band from Glasgow supplied the music, which gave unbounded satisfaction, and the efforts of Mrs McCubbin & Son, King’s Arms Hotel, Maybole, who were responsible for the purveying were much appreciated, a most inviting and high-class menu being presented.  Mr C.W. Brown and Lieutenant Russell acted as M.C.’s and were highly successful in making the evening a most harmonious and enjoyable one.  A special word of praise is due to the energetic secretary, Mr Lang, and his committee for having all the arrangements perfect.  Early in the evening, at an interval in the dance programme, ex-Provost Ramsay presented the following prizes to the successful competitors during the season, viz :-

  Ladies’ gold medal (presented by Councillor Boyd)- Miss Lizzie Templeton (with badge or brooch).

  Ladies’ gold bangle (presented by Captain Don)- Miss Ramsay, Fairknowe.

  Solid silver trophy (presented by Ex-Provost Ramsay) – Mr James P. Boyd (with badge).

  Monthly medal (presented by Ex-Baillie Mulvein)- Mr James P. boyd (winner’s sole possession).

  Merchant’s sup- Mr John B. Edgar (with badge).

  6 White flyer golf balls (presented by Captain Don)- Ex-Baillie Mulvein.

  6 White flyer golf balls (presented by Captain Don)- Mr John Watson.

  6 White flyer golf balls (presented by Captain Don)- Mr John Allan.

  6 White flyer golf balls (presented by Captain don)- Mr George P. Boyd.

Golf,      Ayr Advertiser March 28th 1907


We understand that a meeting of the committee of the Maybole Club held on Monday last the question of leaving their present quarters Kilhenzie was finally discussed. It was resolved to recommend to the club to quit the present course on 1st May next and to enter into a contract for ground on the farm of Auchenwinn from said date this recommendation is to be submitted to a special meeting of the club to be held in the Lesser Town Hall on Saturday first at 8.15pm. In view of the unsatisfactory conditions under which the club are placed at Kilhenzie, The committee have no hesitation in proposing that a change be made. At the proposed ground at Auchenwinn the committee understand have secured conditions which ought to please the most fastidious member and being situated just outside the town would prove most convenient for members. Should the proposed change be agreed  to by the club it is sincerely be hoped that the town will encourage the committee by coming forward in large numbers and enrolling their names as members. As funds are also urgently required we appeal to all classes to assist the club at this juncture. There is no doubt were a first class course to have a permanent standing in Maybole, it would serve as a great attraction and bring more visitors to a quarter which abounds in magnificent and historic scenery and which is not all sufficiently known. Shopkeepers especially would benefit  by the encouragement given to such a project. We wish the club all success in their most laudable effort, and if money is to be raised we would suggest the practicability of having a sale of work in near future. We shall give fuller particulars in our next issue.

Maybole Golf Cub.     Ayr Advertiser April 4th 1907


Moving To Pastures New


A special meeting of the Maybole Golf Club was held in the Lesser Town Hall, Maybole, on Saturday night to receive a report from the committee containing recommendations to the club concerning leaving their present quarters at Kilhenzie at 1st May next, and submitting terms for entering into a new contract for ground on the farm of Auchenwinn on that date. There was a fair attendance of members , the majority of whom were ladies. In the absence of ex-provost Ramsay, the President of the club, Captain John Don, the rector of Carrick Academy, was called to the chair.

The chairman stated that it was recognised on all hands that the Kilhenzie course, during the summer months especially, was unplayable and altogether unsuitable for golf, and the committee had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to find a place situated nearer to the town where they would be privileged to cut the grass from time to time , where no cows were allowed to graze, and where bunkers, &c could be made at will. To remove to the new proposed course at Auchenwinn he knew would involve expense, but he had hopes that the club, after surviving for two and a half years and surmounting many difficulties would not be easily extinguished. The only difficulty in the way was that of finance. For the break in the present lease of Kilhenzie, they were getting off very moderately at £10, but they would have to shift their appurtenances, erect bridges over the burn, make greens and put some repairs on the old tollhouse, which they proposed to make a clubhouse – in all, it was estimated that a sum of £60 would be required.

To put the matter in order, he moved that the recommendation of the committee be approved. Mr John Rafferty, M.A. seconded. The secretary submitted the terms upon which the club could enter on the new course at Auchenwinn, which briefly stated , were that they could have the use of two fields extending to about 23 acres, also the old tollhouse for a clubhouse ; they were to be allowed to cut the grass with a mower, and only sheep would be allowed to graze on the course. The rent was £50 per annum, payable half yearly, with six months notice on either side to quit.

On the motion of Mr Rafferty, seconded by Mr Dick, the terms as laid down were unanimously approved of, and it having being resolved to make a special appeal to members for subscriptions to raise a sum of £60, subscriptions to amount of £20. 7s were intimated at the meeting. This new course will be very convenient to the town, being only about 700 yards from the town hall.

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