Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland
 Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland

Old Coldingham

Coldingham, Northfield Farm.

Coldingham Golf Course 1888

 

It is important to realise that golf in this district began in Coldingham at the Loch Hills around 1888, although, most newspaper references mention St Abbs most of the time. Golf was not to be introduced to St Abbs Head until 1911 with the opening in 1913 and a grand Bazaar in August of 1913. Therefore, any of the following articles prior to 1913 are in fact being played at Coldingham.

Northfield Golf Club.

 

First mentioned 1893.

 

The Northfield club has an excellent course on the North Side of Coldingham Loch, and the game is much patronised by the numerous visitors at present in the district, as well as by local members. Occasional foursome matches are played with the members of the Ayton Club.” (BN 15.8.1893)

 

The proprietor of Northfield,Sir Andrew Usher, is a famous old Bruntsfield golfer,, and took the laying-out of the round into his own hands. In the work he allowed his zeal as a golfer to outrun his regard for the antiquarian, and the St. Abb’s course is probably unique in that an ancient British camp.”

Through the kindness of the Laird suitable ground has been secured at a convenient distance from both Coldingham and St Abb’s, and nine holes have been laid out. The picturesque scene of action lies on the lofty plateau near the famous Head. After going past the bird-haunted cliff the path descends towards the diminutive but temporary clubhouse.

The opening stroke tests the player at the very onset of the round. With face turned towards St Abb’s he finds himself confronted by a very steep hill, beyond which the first green awaits his arrival with the utmost indifference. A decently struck ball will soar easily over the crest and inspire confidence at the start. Even the unfortunate player who has fared ignobly at the start may drive from the second tee in expectation of better things. His optimistic view may be strengthened by the fact that the land goes downhill and the green is within accessible distance. Guy’s Tonic and similar restoratives count as nothing compared with the joyful glow experienced as one watches his ball descending gracefully towards the flag.

At the third and longest hole the pilgrim’s progress takes an inland turn. Here the ground is rather unsatisfactory. Being bare and strewn with stones. The ninth hole, which runs in a parallel direction on the homeward route, has the same drawbacks. However, a local rule allows the ball to be teed without penalty at any place in this ill-starred field. Patience and drastic dealing with the stones will find its reward.

At the next hole the turf improves greatly, forming part of the old soil which has clothed the summit for centuries. It would be advantageous to cut the grass for a considerable space in front of the putting green, as the ball off an approach is apt to land heavily upon the soft ground. Although shorter and less steep than the first hole, the fifth partakes somewhat of its character. Woe betide the player whose ball flies past the mark into a deep valley beyond!

Apart form a mild gully, which should be crossed with the drive, the road winds uphill to the sixth hole. Lying on a very ticklish slope. Here the unhappy player, after giving merely a gentle tap, sees his ball over-running drastically. Unnerved by this harrowing experience, he begins to poke his ball feebly towards the hole. At the next hole the direction is again downhill. The green lies within easy reach, if one does not attempt to look at the ball and the loch on the right simultaneously. The eighth hole is the best. With rough country on both sides and only a narrow strip of good turf in the middle way, the player has to drive with accuracy, if he covets peace of mind. Nevertheless it might not be a mistake to bring the teeing stance slightly forward. This change would scarcely affect the approach, which is a sporting one to an invisible green on a plateau. The painful topic of the ninth hole has already been mentioned.

Before he plays his last stroke, the present scribe may be allowed to set forth a suggestion and a hope. The suggestion, humbly offered, is that certain of the putting greens, for example the third, should be enlarged and that the wires surrounding them should have a wider circumference, and the posts should be less substantial.” "A pleasant little green where no one need complain of lack of ozone. The green is a 9 hole one, laid out on Mr Nisbet's land of Northfield, and the golfer can study the traces of camps, presumably Roman." (GGA 1898). Sometime referred to as Coldingham GC.

Berwickshire News August 14th 1894.

At St Abb’s Links, Loch Hills, Coldingham.

 

On Thursday afternoon a very pleasant match was played over this course between the home club and the Eyemouth golfers. With the exception of one heavy shower, which interrupted players towards the end of the first round, the weather was all that could be desired. Curiously enough the match resulted in a draw, both side being 21 holes up. The conditions of play were twice round the course ( 18 holes ) each side being represented by thirteen players. Record scores for the season were made by Walter Fleet and David Fairbairn, Eyemouth, with 41 each for one turn of the course. Scores :-

 

                                      St Abbs                                               Eyemouth

 

J.C. Noble  ……………..  0                                     W. Flett ……………….. 6

J. Hardie ……………….  0                                      B. Fairbairn …………… 8

Martin Hardie ………….  10                                    D. Hume ……………… 0

Percy Lees ……………..  7                                      R. Cox ………………… 0

W. Kerr ………………..  0                                      R. Anderson …………… 5

T. Davidson ……………  1                                     A. Robertson …………..  0

M. Craig ……………….. 0                                     G. Grieve ………………. 0

C.S. Dods ……………..   0                                     G. Sinclair ……………... 0

W. Dods ………………   0                                      J. Wood ………………   1

Dr Wilbe ………………. 2                                      W. McDougall ………… 0

T. Craig ………………..  1                                      A. Burgon …………….. 0

H. Cumming ………….. 0                                       R. Purves ……………… 0

D. Craig ……………….. 0                                      P. Gileon  ……………… 1

 

21                                                                              21

Berwickshire News August 28th 1894.

Eyemouth  V  St Abbs.

 

On Thursday afternoon the return match between St Abbs and Eyemouth clubs was played on Eyemouth Links and resulted in a defeat for the visitors.

On the last occasion, when Eyemouth visited St Abbs, the result was a draw, both teams being 21 holes up, and in consequence of this, much interest was shown in Thursdays match. It was evident that after the first round that St Abbs was to be left in a heavy minority, and at the completion of the 18 holes Eyemouth had 42 holes up and St Abbs 12 ; Majority for Eyemouth 30. Scores :-

 

                                 Eyemouth                                                    St Abbs

 

W. Flett ………………………. 6                          J.B. Clark …………………… 0

D. Fairbairn …………………... 4                          M. Hardie …………………    0

R.A. McIvor …………………. 6                           J. Hardie ……………………  0

D. Hume ……………………..   3                          J.C. Noble ………………….. 0

W.P. Thomson ……………….. 2                           Percy Lees …………………. 0

Bailie Robertson ………………0                           W. Kerr …………………….. 4

Sir W. Simpson ……………… 0                            W. Dods …………………… 0

George Grieve ……………….. 2                            C.S. Dods …………………. 0

J. Wood ………………………. 3                           Dr Wibe …………………… 0

R.S. Cox ……………………… 0                           S. Cumming ……………….. 8

T. Strathearn …………………  11                          M. Craig …………………    0

W. McDougall ……………….. 3                            T. Craig …………………… 0

G.W. Johnston ………………   2                            R. Lugton …………………. 0

 

42                                                                     12

 

After the match the teams repaired to the Home Arms Hotel, where tea was served.

 

Berwickshire News, September 17th 1895.

Eyemouth V St Abbs at Loch Hills, Coldingham.

 

The return match was played at St Abbs on Thursday-6 men a side ; and resulted in a win for the home team by 9 holes. Record scores for the long hole were made by Mr Martin Hardie, and Mr D. Hume, Eyemouth, the former record of 5 being now reduced to 4. Scores ;-

 

                              St Abbs                                                    Eyemouth

 

Mr Hardie                                  0                       Mr W. Flett                            2

Mr Usher                                   5                       Mr D. Fairbairn                      0

Mr J.Y. Henderson                    0                       Mr D. Hume                           6

Mr J. Davidson                          3                       Mr R.S. Cox                           0

Mr J. Hardie                              8                       Mr J.H. Kerr                           0

Mr Fulton                                  1                       Mr J. Hughes                          0

 

17                                                                       8

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