This hole was called ( Appropriately ) The Bing
Muirkirk Golf Club. Instituted 1910. A 9-hole course at Auldhouseburn, a mile from the town centre, laid out by local golfers.
A Pavilion was opened in 1911. and matches were played against Mauchline and Douglas in 1911-13. “The course, which is a sporting one, is undulating and provides opportunity for every kind of shot; short holes are exceedingly tricky. Length 2,300 yards, Par 36. “ Amateur record 68, Professional 68. “Activities suspended owing to war-time conditions.” (SGC Mar 1947)
Muirkirk Adv Jan 13th 1910
Let’s get moving 1.
For some considerable time there has been a movement amongst the few golfing enthusiasts in our midst to have a golf course and form a club in the parish, and it is gratifying to learn that the desire has taken a definite shape, and that ground has been secured on the estate of Auldhouseburn. Almost every village of any consequence in Scotland has now it’s golf course, each club singing the merits of it’s own, and it is a significant fact that a well known expert who visited the ground the other day and “ Laid off “ the course, pronounced it one of the best he had visited. There is no need to extol the virtues of golf as a health giving and exhilarating exercise for both sexes ; they are well-known and as widely accepted. It is one of our oldest Scottish games, and has the distinction of being considered “ Class.”
Never a district that could make the lover of nature, other than the moorland , go into ecstasies or burst into rhyme, or lure the denizens of the city from their haunts, even in midsummer, the golf course, combined with the acknowledged clear air and at least healthy surroundings , may be the means of attracting more visitors to our village and thus improve the trade of the parish.
We understand that a club is now being formed, and that notice will be issued shortly inviting the public to join.
Muirkirk Adv Thursday March 17th 1910
For some little time a movement has been on foot to form a golf club in Muirkirk. A few enthusiasts have laid the foundation stone as it were, and at a meeting held last night arrangements were made to have a public meeting on Monday evening first, in the Masonic Hall, when an account would be laid before the public of what had been done in the matter. It was decided that the club be open, and that a hearty invitation be given to all who join – Ladies, Gentlemen and Juveniles alike. All are invited to the meeting, prospective members and otherwise. In view of the endeavours of several gentlemen in the village to improve the amenities of the place, we have no doubt the public will appreciate and second these efforts.
The Formation of Muirkirk Golf Club.
The Muirkirk Advertiser, Thursday March 24th 1910.
On Monday evening, 21st March 1910, a public meeting was held in the Masonic hall. There was a very good attendance. Mr John Young, J.P., was called to the chair.
The chairman in introducing the proceedings said that the meting had been called for the purpose of giving information as to the steps which had been taken towards securing ground for a golf course, the progress that had been made in the laying out of the course, the formation of a club, as well as to extend to all present a hearty invitation to become members of the club. Mr Young said that for several years a few local golfers had been highly privileged in being allowed to play golf at Wellwood. For this privilege they were indebted to Mr Baird as well as Mr Buchanan, and many a pleasant afternoon had been spent there. However, some of them felt that it was too bad to keep to themselves a pleasure on which they set such great store, and, while a deal had been said and written about something being done to attract summer visitors to Muirkirk, the speaker was one of those who thought that a more pressing need was that something ought to be done to make the place a little more attractive for those who had to spend in it the bulk of 365 days yearly. And so it was that a public golf course came to be talked about.
It is impossible to have such at Wellwood, for reasons which he need not enumerate. On casting their eyes about the village, they came to the conclusion that the most suitable ground for the purpose was on the estate of Aulhouseburn.
Negotiations were entered into with the tenant as to terms; and the proprietors, through Mr Angus of Ladykirk, had granted permission on the distinct understanding that there would be no trespassing, and that all members would enter and leave the course off the Auldhouseburn road.
The laying out of the course had occasioned a great deal of thought, and the burning of a considerable amount of tobacco. They were much indebted to Mr Angus of Kaimshill for a great measure of kindness extended to them, and to Dr Scroggie, Mr Robertson, and Mr Cormack, friends of his, who most kindly placed their golfing experience at their service, and laid out the course, and these gentlemen’s opinion of the possibilities of the course was a very high one.
Much labour had been expended on the course, but a great deal more had to be done. They were all confident, however, that in course of time Muirkirk would be in possession of a tidy little golf course which for health – giving breezes, splendid turf, sporting golf, and genuine pleasure, would compare most favourably with any inland courses in the country.
The chairman then submitted the rules as drawn up, and stated that the following office bearers had been appointed : - Hon President, John Angus Esq, J.P. : President, John Young Esq, J.P. : vice President, Dr Carruthers : Hon Secretary and Treasurer, Mr W.S. Smith : Committee – Rev. Father Bohan, Dr Marshall, Messrs T.W. Buchanan , John McCulloch , W.S. Pirie , John Rodger, Cornelius Seymour , and Wm Thomson.
The rules were not yet printed, and the committee would be pleased to consider any suggestions that any parties present might care to make.
Several questions were asked and suggestions made, which the chairman said would be favourably considered by the committee.
Mr Cunningham spoke in complimentary terms of the work done, and expressed the hope that the club would enjoy a long life and have many pleasant seasons.
( Applause ).
In reply to a question, the chairman said that whenever the members joined and got their membership cards, they could begin to play. They could begin tomorrow if they cared : indeed that was just what the course required – to be played upon. However, it was expected that some day in April an exhibition game between two well known exponents would be arranged.
A show of hands was taken of those who wished to join the club, when almost everyone present answered to the call.
On the call of Rev. Father Bohan a hearty vote of thanks were accorded to the chairman for presiding. The chairman then invited intending members to give in their names, when a considerable number enrolled, and the Muirkirk Golf Club has a hearty send off.
The Muirkirk Golf Club was born.
Muirkirk Advertiser April 7th 1910
Our youngest local club, the Muirkirk Golf Club, is now fairly under weigh, and the membership presently exceeds fifty. During the recent spell of good weather the course at Auldhouseburn has scarcely ever been empty of players. It certainly has never been completely deserted from dawn to dusk, for workmen are proceeding with the making of the greens as quickly as possible, and satisfactory progress is being made. Those members who have been taking advantage of their opportunities for having a game are high in their praises of it’s exhilarating effects , whether the ball is struck or missed. It is a significant fact that all the medical men in the parish are members and like beecham’s pills and Mother Seigel, it is recommended as the cure for maladies flesh is heir to. Moral : If you are well, join the club and keep well ; if you are not feeling as you might and should do, join the club and get well.
A meeting of the committee was held last night, when the rules were finally adjusted, and a copy will be handed to each member shortly. On the list of members up to date being submitted, it was pointed out that several parties had been seen on the course – some playing and others spectating – who were non members, or were otherwise not entitled to such privileges, but it was felt that now that a greenkeeper had been appointed, and that the gentleman was empowered to request a sight of the passport of any person on the course, this state of affairs would be remedied, and it was decided that members be asked to help with the keeping of the rule to the effect that none but members and friends from outwith the parish are allowed on the course.
Considerable curiosity has been aroused locally as to the manner of playing the game, and almost at any time during the day and evening spectators may be seen looking over the dyke on the Auldhouseburn road.
If such parties were wise, they’d watch to take up a stance behind the players, as, if a stray ball ( And they are many ! ) happened to land on one of their optics, they’d probably study more astronomy during the ensuing few minutes than they ever did in their lifetime.
Better still, however, to come in, join the club and play the game. No doubt this the time to join, when all are novices. There are no stars in the company, very few are good, many are bad, several worse. No one need to be least ashamed of their play, as will be speedily found out.
We have heard of several terrific drives having been made or attempted, and more than one exponent of the game have been seen winding their way homeward with the shaft of a club in one hand and the head in the other.
An amusing case of mistaken identity happened “ Over the water” the other day, when, as an ardent player was passing along one of the rows with his clubs in his caddybag, a guidwife hailed him with “ Hi, Mister, hoo much’ll ye tak’ tae mend this umberellie ?” We’ll be merciful, and repress the names.
When the love of money obtains a hold on any one to such an extent that it becomes his one aim in life to procure it by whatever means, and to hoard it up, denying himself the pleasure of spending it, the object for which it was instituted is defeated. So too, when a game gets such a hold on one that he cannot sleep if he gets beaten, or when he goes home and kicks himself and everyone else to ease his feelings, the object of the game is defeated. To spend a pleasant time in the open air, in healthy surroundings, on the green fields, in pleasant company, and to have invigorating without unduly violent exercise, are a few of the objects with golf, and such undoubtedly can be had on the course at Auldhouseburn.
It is a game suitable for both sexes, adults and juveniles, and “ learn young, learn fair” Special advantages are offered to ladies and juveniles, in that the annual subscription is less than half that of adult gentlemen.
We are sure any member will be pleased to show a new starter round the course if for nothing else the satisfaction of finding someone worse than him or her self. We bespeak for the game and the club the good word they deserve.
Muirkirk Advertiser April 25th 1910.
The golf club continues to prosper, the membership is steadily increasing, and players on the course are daily becoming more plentiful. Satisfactory progress is being made with the greens, &c., and a special effort in that direction is being put forth this week in view of the exhibition game which has been arranged for Saturday first.
The committee have been most fortunate in securing the services of two such expert exponents of the game as Mr Robertson and Mr Cormack. We trust that all the members and many prospective members, will accept the invitation extended to them by the committee, and embrace this opportunity of seeing the game played as it ought to be – due allowance being made for the newness of the course, and the greens not having attained to billiard table perfection just yet.
Muikirk Advertiser April 28th 1910.
On Saturday last an exhibition game took place over the new course at Audhouseburn. The game was between two well known amateurs, viz, Mr Alex. Cormack and Mr Andrew Robertson. The public were invited to view the game, and a goodly number took advantage of the opportunity, and there was also a large turnout of members.
Unfortunately for all concerned, the weather might have been better, but it also might have been worse. There was a strong wind, amounting sometimes to almost a gale, but the rain kept off.
Under the circumstances anything approaching accurate play was out of the question, but the exhibition given was undoubtedly an education to all present, and will certainly bear good fruit. When such fine play could be shown under adverse weather conditions, one can imagine what standard could be reached under favourable auspices. The club is not in a position to employ a professional, but were a series of these games instituted the local players would undoubtedly come all the sooner to a better concept of the game. As showing the interest taken in the match by the spectators, it need only be mentioned that most of the company did the full two rounds, and only enthusiasts and others highly interested would have done so on such a day. At the close, Mr Angus called for a hearty vote of thanks to the players, and this was cordially given.
Muirkirk Advertiser June 23rd 1910.
With the opening of the regular greens the golf course has presently a very animated appearance in the evenings.
Much has already been done to make the greens playable, but much thought, care, and hard work requires still to be done. The committee have had to face difficulties this season which will by another year get short shift. A golf course cannot be made in a year, but the local one will be made in as little over that time as possible.
Things are to be made to hum now.
Some of the members are thirsting for a match with neighbouring clubs and as it is said that both Cumnock and Mauchline are in a similar frame of mind, there should be no difficulty in arranging matches. Probably the arranging will be the easiest part of the work.
Within the last week or two several “ Bounce” games have come off. After at least one of the games a considerable number of pies disappeared. The attention of members is drawn to advertisement in other column where a mixed foursome match is announced. Neighbours and opponents will be drawn for from the hat. A Lady and Gentleman will comprise each pair, and two pairs will be sent off at a time. It is hoped the weather will be fine and that there will be a large turnout of both sexes.
The old clubhouse, minus its verandah, still stands in the village today.
“A meeting to consider the future of the Club was held in the Masonic Hall in October, when, after consideration, and in view of the concern at damage to the Clubhouse at its isolated site at the former Auldhouseburn Course, it was decided to offer the building to Muirkirk Old Folks Welfare Committee for use as an old men's cabin if suitable. It was, however, decided to hold on to the Club equipment and to recall the Club trophies, in the hope that at some future time other ground might be found for a golf course in Muirkirk.” (MUA 1957)
Membership around 60.
Last recorded 1940, and did not re-open after WW2. Present course formed 1991.
Muirkirk golf club, A History, Written and by Harry Ward ( Copies available )
It is my intention to eventually have the complete book on this site.