Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland
 Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland

Berwickshire.

Ayton Golf Course

Ayton Golf Club.

 

 Instituted 1891.  A 9-hole course 10 minutes from town, laid out by Bob Ferguson of Musselburgh.

 

The course (a nine hole one) is laid out along the haughs enclosed between the River Eye and what is known as the 'back road' to Reston, about ten minutes' walk from the village.  As the ground slopes on either side down to the river in the centre, and as the water is an ever present hazard, the course is an exceedingly sporting one. Starting from the first tee close to the road, a stretch of gorse and the river guard the first hole, over 250 yards in front. Immediately behind the hole is an expansive tract of bog known as the "Collar Well". The second hole is uphill about 150 yards, and the third 200 yards along the brow of the slope, where a ball not absolutely on the line will roll a considerable distance. Facing the fourth hole, the player has once more to cross the river, and the putting green is in front of the Hairy Crag Quarry, the distance being 200 yards. The fifth hole is back across the river, 100 yards; the sixth uphill to the very corner of East Reston Haugh; and the seventh back again to the water's edge. Then comes the most peculiar and sporting hole on the course in which the river is crossed three times, as a very steep bank between the quarry and the mill-lade prevents a straight course. From the teeing ground a good drive takes the ball to the green below the quarry then, turning towards the river, the water is crossed and, if a good lie has been secured, the ball is pretty well uphill, in order that as the player turns towards the distant hole the dangerous proximity of the large damhead pool on the left may be avoided. The length of the hole is over 500 yards, and the green is between the river and the mill-lade. The home hole is easily negotiated, the distance being 300 yards. The length of the course is nearly a mile. The course was laid out by Bob Ferguson, of Musselburgh, under the supervision of Sir Walter G Simpson, Bart, the club captain." (A 1892-93)

 

This is an excellent course, rich in water hazards.  The River Eye winds and doubles fantastically through the green, and a quarry, with the wholly excellent name of Hairy Craig, suggestive of dim danger, has to be reckoned with." (GGGGS 1894)

 

The course is purely a winter one.  Play is only possible from beginning of November until the end of May.  We are charged a nominal rent for the priviledge of playing over the course, and have not permission to cut the grass during the summer.   The river Eye runs through the course, and in playing a round of 9 holes, we cross the water five times.  The course, though somewhat rough, is very sporting and could be made a splendid inland one.  J B Forsyth Hon Sec." (NGYB 1907)

 

Major Trophies: Fenwick Medal, Balabraes Challenge Trophy, Wood Gold Medal, Allan Gold Medal.

Membership about 50. 

 

The club began experiencing difficulties after the was, and eventually ran out of money in 1936 and was wound up.

Ayton Golf Course, Berwickshire, 1891.

 

Berwickshire News, October 13th 1891.

 

Proposed Golf Club.

 

A public meeting was convened in the Volunteer Hall, on Friday Evening, to consider and report upon the practicability of establishing a golf club in the district. Mr Alex Thomson, Royal Bank, presided over a large and influential gathering ; the numbers present afforded convincing proof of the general willingness to become identified with this most popular channel of recreation.

It was stated that Mr Mitchell Innes, and Colonel David Milne Home, the ground proprietors, had very courteously sanctioned the construction of a golf course, which would extend from Ayton Law Mill Dam, to the head of the Plateau on the Haugh at East Reston. The meeting unanimously resolved to proceed at once with the Formation of such a club, the chairman stating that already upwards of 30 Gentlemen had notified their intention of joining.

Sir Walter Simpson, Bart, Balabraes, was good enough to have the ground surveyed, and had in the kindest manner possible proffered the services of a professional golfer from Musselburgh to mark and prepare the course. The following gentlemen intimated their pleasure to become patrons of the club :- A.Harold Mitchell-Innes,Esq, Colonel David Milne Home, Sir Walter Simpson, Bart, Balabraes ; John Allan Esq, Peelwalls ; Charles E. Galbraith, Esq, Ayton Castle ; Major Grant, Stoneshiel House ; and Alexander Gibson, Esq, Netherbyres, the personel to consist of the undermentioned gentlemen, namely, President, Mr E.C. White, Ayton Law ; Vice President, Mr John Allan, East Reston ; Captain, Sir Walter Simpson, Bart, Balabraes ; Vice Captain, Rev. J.J. Marshall L. Aiken ; Secretary, Mr G. Wood, Postmaster ; Committee, Messrs G.M. Geddes, A. Thomson, T. Morrison, Jos Stothart, T.P. Doughty, and Dr J.D. Jeffrey. Before separating Mr Thomson called for very hearty  Simpson, Bart, and to this call the meeting responded with untinted fervour.

Mr J.T.S. Doughty moved a similar compliment to the chairman, and the meeting then dispersed with vociferous cheers for the success of the Ayton and district Golf Club.

Berwick News November 10th 1891.

Sketch of Ayton Golf Course.

 

We are indebted to the courtesy of the editor of the The Edinburgh Evening News for the above sketch of Ayton Golf Course. The course has been laid out along the Haughs enclosed between the river Eye and what is known as “ The Back Road” to Reston. As the ground slopes on either side down to the river in the centre, and as the water is an ever present hazard, it may be assumed that the course is an exceedingly sporting one. Nine holes have been laid out.

Starting from the first tee, close beside the road, a stretch of gorse and the river are hazard enough to the first hole, over 250 yards in front. Immediately behind the hole is an expansive tract of bog known as the “ Culler Well”. The second hole is uphill 150 yards, and the third 300 yards along the brow of the slope, where a ball not absolutely on the line will roll a considerable distance.

Facing the fourth hole the player has once more to cross the river, and the putting green, a very good one, is in front of Hairy Graig Quarry, the distance being 200 yards.

The fifth hole is back acroos the river 100 yards, the sixth uphill to the very corner of East Reston Haugh, and the seventh back again to the waters edge. Then comes the most peculiar and most sporting hole on the course, in which the river is crossed three times, as a very steep bank between the quarry and the mill lade prevents a straight course. From the teeing ground a good drive takes the ball to the green below the quarry, then, turning towards the river, the water is crossed and, if a good lie has been secured, the ball is pretty well uphill, in order that as the player turns toward the distant hole the dangerous proximity of the larg damhead pool on the left may be avoided. The lengh of the hole is over 500 yards and the green is between the river and the mill lade.

The home hole is easily negotiated, the distance being 300 yards. The lengh of the course is nearly a mile. Footbridges will be erected at several places. The course has been laid out by Bob Ferguson of Musselburgh. Once the green has been brought into form by play, golfers may patronise with the assurance of getting a game to put them on their mettle. The club already has over 40 members, with a ladies section. The office bearers are :- Patrons, A.H. Mithchell Innes, Esq, of Ayton and Whitehall ; Sir Walter Grindlay Simpson, Bart, of Balabraes ; Colonel David Milne Home, of Wedderburn ; John Allan Esq of Peelwalls ; Charles K. Galbraith Esq, of Ayton Castle ; Major Grant, Stoneshiel House ; Alexander Gibson Esq, of Netherbyres. President, Mr K.C. White, Ayton Law, Vice President, Mr John Allan, East Reston ; Captain, Sir Walter G. Simpson Bart, of Balabraes ; Vice Captain, The rev. J.J. Marshall L. Aiken. Committee, Mr A. Thomson, Dr Jeffrey, Messrs Geddes, Stothart, Morison, T.P. Doughty and office bearers. Secretary, G. Wood, Postmaster, Ayton.

 

Berwick News, September 18th 1894.

Ayton Club.

 

The Haugh is still too much under grass to admit of a first class game, and local players are indebted to neighbouring clubs for an occasional round of their greens. On Thursday week, However, what may be taken as the commencement of the Ayton golfing season, came off, when Messrs Livingstone and A. Thomson, and Messrs J. Sinclair and J. Davidson, joined in a foursome, and notwithstanding the heavy nature of the going, a close and exciting game was enjoyed, resulting in the defeat of Messrs Livingstone and Thomson by only one hole.

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