Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland
 Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland

Site of the first course to the right of the wood in centre

Laggan 1,and 2.

Laggan Golf Club.  First mention 1896.  A 9-hole course, laid out by Chief Constable McHardy, 1000 feet above the northern side of the village, 8 miles from Newtonmore station.  The hazards are streams, gorges, and chasms.

   By 1904 it had been extended to 18 holes with hazards consisting of streams, gorges and chasms. 

New Golf Course At Laggan

 

   "Thanks to the courtesy of Mr MacGillivray of Gaskbeg our golfers during the last three years writes our correspondent enjoyed the privilege of playing on one of the finest stretches of hill ground in the country.  In view however of a prospective railway through our beautiful valley it was deemed advisable to make an effort to rent the ground and lay it out as a first class golf course. 

   At a meeting held a month ago the Laggan Golf Club was formed and a committee appointed to take steps to acquire the ground.  Mr MacGillivray with his usual public spirit, signified his willingness to let the ground at a fair rent and within the means of the newly-formed club. 

   At a later meeting held last week the secretary pro tem (Mr. Duthie) reported that Cluny MacPherson of Cluny and Col. MacPherson of Glentruim have intimated that it gave them much pleasure to become patrons.  It is understood that the names of Sir John Ramsden Bart. Of Adverikie and Mr Andrew Carnegie of New York will be added to the list of patrons. 

   The following office-bearers were then appointed;- Hon. Secretary, Mr.J.S.Duthie, M.A.; president and captain Dr K. Campbell, Laggan; vice-presidents Messes W.M’Dondald Cluny Mains; Wm. MacGillivray, Gaskbeg; Alex Douglas, Gergask; D.MacKillop, Blaragie, Ewan MacPherson Coul; James MacFarlane Drumgask Hotel; James Gilbert, Gallovie; the Rev. Duncan MacLennan, F.C. and the Rev. S. MacDonald, R.C. Laggan.  Committee of Management – Dr Campbell the Rev. D.S.MacLennan, E.C., the Rev. D. MacLennan F.C. and Messrs Douglas Duthie and Donald Campbell, Gergask- Dr Campbell, convener.

   Of the decided superiority of the new course there can be no question.  Golfers who can speak with authority, praise its possibilities and prophecy a great future for it.  It lies on the high ground above the romantic old farm house of Gaskbeg once the home of the talented Mrs Grant of Laggan who’s “Letters from the Mountains” are still read and admired.  At an altitude considerably over a thousand feet all parts of the ground command a view of towering snow capped mountains unravelled on this side of the Alps.  Down in the valley flows the Spey to-day and in summer a winding line of silver, to-morrow perhaps a roaring surging torrent struggling to leave its channel and in winter too often successful.  Fifteen miles to the west can be seen the purple bens, behind which nestle the little loch from which the Spey takes its name and its source.  On all sides are mountains and valleys, Corryarick Pass, many peaks of the Grampians, Ben Alder, Ben Macduie, Cairntoul, Craigdhu, and the Monaliadn range all famous in song or story, are familiar and conspicuous objects on the golfers horizon. 

   We are dually proud of our new course.  Nature undoubtedly meant it for a golf course.  Its eighteen holes cover a distance of fully three miles by no means a sporting course. Its natural hazards are many and often dangerous.  One fine ravine requires at least a drive of one hundred and twenty yards to escape its enormous maw.   The committee hope to have the new greens in trim by the middle of May.  We invite all true golfers to the new Elysium." (OT 18.4.1896)

Opening of the Laggan Golf Course

Speech by Mr Andrew Carnegie

 

"   Quite a brilliant assemblage gathered last Saturday to witness the formal opening of this course by Mrs Andrew Carnegie, Cluny Castle.  There were present, among many others Mr and Mrs Carnegie and the Misses Lauder, Cluny Castle; Sheriff and Mrs Ivory and party; Rev.D.S.MacLennan E.C.;the Hon. Mrs ‘Ellis and party; Provost McPherson, Kingussie; Dr. Ogilvie E.C. Training College, Aberdeen; Mrs Campbell,Miss Ross, and Dr Orr, Craigville; Mr MacGillivray, Gaskbeg; Mr Robertson and Miss Robertson, Bresckachy; Mr and Miss Macdonald, Cluny Mains; Mr Douglas, headmaster,Gargask School, and Miss Douglas; Mr MacKintosh, Gergask; Mr and Mrs Butcher and party,Drumgask Hotel; M.Fitzgerald and party; Mr Dott, Manchester; Mr MacPherson, Edinburgh; Mr  Fyfe, Kingusie, etc,etc.  Mr Duthie, the hon. Secretary had all the arrangements well in hand.

   At half past three the proceedings were opened by the president, Dr Campbell presenting Mrs Carnegie with a beautiful silver-mounted golf club.  In the course of a few felicitous remarks he referred to the spread of golf and the advantages of the pastime.  Proceeding he said;-  "Taking into consideration the facts that the greens  are new, and that we had very little money to spend upon them, we feel justly proud of our course.  While there still may lurk in our minds a suspicion that some of our visitors may possibly think our greens capable of further improvement, taken all in all we believe our course will soon become one of the  finest in the country.  Fortunately I need not attempt to describe the wonderful panorama of heaven-ascending peeks on all side of us.  In their lofty beauty and proud majesty, they fascinate us as nothing else can.  Well might the bard imagine them to be the portals of better worlds than ours .Mrs. Carnegie, we truly appreciate the honour you have done us in coming to open our course.  No truer or gentler hands could send off the pioneer ball- the forerunner of many that shall go skimming over the course for many years to come.  In the name of the committee, I present you with this golf club.  If it proves too frail and  slender so admit of your playing much with it, still we are confident you will give it an honoured place among the articles you value most as gauged by the sincerity and respect of those who presented them."

   Mrs Carnegie having struck off the first ball, amidst the cheers of the assemblage, formally declared the golf course opened.

   Mr Carnegie, after expressing thanks on behalf of Mrs Carnegie for the honour done her, and referring to the beauties of the surroundings in which the new golf course was situated, went on to remark. Every nation has its day, and this is Scotland’s day among the nations.  It has taken generations for other less favoured nations to discover how much of that which was most  precious found its home here in the north. We have the Celtic renaissance upon us in full bloom.  The favourite novelists of to-day are Scotch and write of scotch life, and especially of the picturesque life in the  Highlands.  When our countrymen meet the southern foe in these days they capture the prizes. Even in painting the Scottish School is coming to the front.  I do not know how it is upon this side, but upon the other side of the Atlantic our physicians have now made the Scottish national drink the fashion; and to crown all the opening of these golf links to-day calls  to my mind the fact, that this ~Scottish game has conquered the world.  My adopted country has taken it up as enthusiastically as England has; and, Mr President, I trust that your club will some day be so proud of its skill that it will warrant you in asking me to arrange an international match between the golf clubs of New York or Pittsburg and that of Cluny; and if you cannot beat them at golf, from what I saw the other day I think you have only to lure them into a shinty match to carry off the honour. There is one thing we see at Cluny which would please them, and which they cannot see anywhere else.and that is one flag floating over the Castle, which consists of two flags sewn together, that on our side the Union Jack of the Motherland, and that on the other, the Stars and Stripes, the two flags in one, under which our entire English-speaking race is gathered. I have just risen from reading Mr Morley’s article in the Nineteenth Century upon adopting the tribunal of arbitration between these two great branches of our race.  It is admirable, and I hope you will all read it.  Mr. Morley, you know, often favours us in Badenoch, and is most enthusiastic over its advantages.  He finds no air like that  he breaths among us.  Your course opens under the brightest sunshine, one of the loveliest days we have seen at Cluny.  Let me take this for a good omen as to its future career and the benefits and pleasure which its patrons may receive.

   After Mr Carnegie’s remarks and when cake and wine had been handed round a number of players started upon a round of the course.  Mrs Carnegie and Dr Campbell; and Mr Carnegie and Dr Orr, made up the first foursome. The visitors were much taken up with the advantages of the new course.  At an elevation of over a thousand feet its eighteen holes cover a distance of over three miles.  All prophesied a great future for the new course. A plan of it is to be taken, which, with a detailed description  shall shortly be submitted to the public." (OT 8.8.1896)

   "Golfers’ Concert.-  What proved to be one of the most successful concerts ever held here took place in the Gergask school last Monday night. Cluny MacPherson of Cluny presided over a large and enthusiastic audience. The committee are to be congratulated on the success of their efforts to provide an entertainment of such a high order. They were fortunate in securing the kind services of quite a large number of talented and well-known vocalists and instrumentalists. 

   The programme opened with “A Guid New Year” by a glee party much to the delight of the audience. Mrs Fitz-Roy, Craigdhu, charmed everybody by her playing of  “Highland Airs~” on the piano. Miss MacArthur, Ettridge; without whom no Badencch concert is complete, was in good voice, and gave a fine rendering of “Prince Charlie’s Farewell to Scotland”. Her second song, “The Brook” was faultless and evoked rounds of applause. “Love’ old sweet song” was tastefully and sweetly sung by Miss Kate Pullar, Kingussie; Miss Chrissie Douglas a young singer, gave excellent promise in “The Boatman o’ the Forth.”  Miss Robertson,Breakachy, also a young performer, was very happy in her selections of “Highland Airs”. On the piano. Mrs Campbell, Craigville, and Miss Ross do (Aberdeen), roused and touched the audience with a delightful rendering of “Eilean a Cheo’”. 

   The comic element was supplied by Mr Rideont, who sang “For me” and “I went with him,” in his very best style. Mr Livingstone teacher, did justice of”When the Kye comes Hame”. Miss Daisy Fitz-Roy gave earnest of her love for all things Celtic by a spirited rendering of “Ho ro mo nighdean donn bhoidheach,” A “Highland Fling” by Mr Angus MacPherson, Cluny, a promising yuoung piper and dancer, was immensely popular, and his second dance an “Irish Jig” in costume, fairly brought down the house.  Miss Ross, a Well-known Aberdeen pianist and singer,electrified the audience with a magnificent rendering of “Angus MacDonald.” Her second song, “The Highlandman’s Toast,”, fairly carried away the audience and compelled the Chairman nothing loth- to break the hitherto inexorable rule of “no encores.”  Her encore song, “The Weaving Song”(Songs of the North), earned for her deafening rounds of applause. Miss McArthur’s playing of Highland airs on the piano was a treat which the listeners will not soon forget.  Miss B.MacDonald, Kingussie, sang sweetly and pleasantly “By the Fountain.”. A Gaelic song,”Mull na Morbheinn,” by Mr Wm. Campbell raised him into a favourite Gaelic singer of much promise.  Miss Fitz-Roy’s playing of a “Russian Dance” showed excellent training and musical skill. Mr Simon MacDonald, Kingussie, a great favourite at Badenoch concerts, surpassed himself in “|Hurrah for the Highlands” and “Bonnie Mary O’Argyll”.  A feature of the entertainment was a character sketch, “Handy Andy.” Mr Douglas, as “Grimes,” gave evidence of the possession of considerable histrionic talent, while the misadventures of “Handy Andy” (Mr Duthie) fairly convulsed the audience.

   The concluding item in a long programme fell to Miss Ross, Aberdeen, whose playing of Highland airs on the piano left nothing to be desired. 

   On the motion of the Rev. D.S.MacLennan, parish minister, a hearty  vote of thanks was accorded to the performers. A similar compliment to the Chairman, on the motion of Dr Campbell, brought a most enjoyable evening to a close." (OT 16.1.1897)

 

 

   " On Wednesday of last week Laggan was en fete, the occasion being the celebration of the birth of a daughter to Mr Andrew Carnegie.  Mr and Mrs Carnegie have been esteemed visitors to the district for a number of years, and when it became known through a telegram received by Mr Douglas Gergask, that a daughter had been born to this esteemed couple, preparations were made throughout the parish to celebrate the event with bonfires and general rejoicings.  At night no fewer than twenty bonfires were lit in honour of the event, between Auchmore and Aberarder" (OT 17.4.1897).

Laggan Second Course

 

   "A golf club was instituted in Laggan some four years ago, which in the short space of two years, was allowed to lapse into a state of Desuetude on account of adverse circumstances – chiefly the difficulty of acquiring a suitable golf green at a reasonable rent, and the enrolment of a sufficient number of members to assure the maintenance of of such an institution. The dissolution of the club, and the consequent discontinuing of the golf course laid out on Gasbeg Farm, after the venture had been given a fair trial, has proved a disadvantage to the district, in so far as it withdrew one of the indispensable inducements for letting houses to summer visitors. The resuscitation of the golf club has now rectified this crying evil. Mr MacKillop, the genial-hearted farmer of Blaragie, kindly offered suitable ground for a golf green on his farm at a nominal rent. On Monday evening last, a meeting of golfers and others interested in the welfare of the district was held in Gergask Public School – the Rev. D.S. MacLennan parish minister of Laggan, presiding.

   It was resolved to resuscitate the golf club, and rent ground for a green of nine holes on Blaragie Farm, and lay out the course immediately.

   The following office bearers were unanimously appointed for the ensuing year:- Chieftain, Cluny Macpherson of Cluny; President, The Rev. D.S. MacLennan; Vice Presidents, Col. Lachlan Macpherson of Glentruim, and Mr James Gilbert, Gallovie; Captain, Mr D. MacKillop, Blaragie; with Messrs MacMillan, M.A., Gergask School, and Finlay Mackintosh, Inspector of Poor, as joint clerks and treasurers" (OT 27.5.1899).

Last recorded 1940.  “Activities still suspended.” (SGC Mar 1947)

 

C;early, the club did not survive the exigencies of WW2.

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