Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland
 Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland

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Auchincairn Golf Course

Auchencairn Golf Club. Instituted 1914. A 9-hole course on Hall Farm. 

 

 "A well attended meeting of those interested in the formation of a golf club at Auchencairn was held on Tuesday evening in the Conservative Hall. On the motion of Dr Cromie, Mr Fortune was appointed to the chair, and intimated to those present the steps that had already been taken with a view to the formation of a club. Dr Cromie, who had been acting as interim secretary, also gave a most interesting account of what he had done in the matter, and of the possible advantages that would accrue to the village and district when friends South of the border knew that Auchencairn, with its far-famed natural attractions was going to lay down an ideal golf course.

   Mr Crawford, Chapmanton, in a few words explained how he had been approached in the matter, and that after consulting with Mrs Mackie, he had been instrumental in having the matter in such a forward state to present to the meeting that night, and he assured the meeting that personally he would do all in his power to make the movement successful.

   An opportunity was given of asking questions, when the Rev.W.Thomson made inquiries as to the annual subscription, and suggested that it should be graded in the case of members who were not in a position to be able to play before six or seven o’clock in the evening ; and to be assured that should they join there would be no other liability in case of the club becoming insolvent.

   At this stage Dr Cromie intimated that the following had become guarantors for the initial expenditure for the following sums ; Mrs Mackie £5 ; Mr W. Ovens £5 ; Mr J. Fortune £5 ; Dr Cromie £5 ; Mr H.W.B. Crawford £2 ; Mr W. Dunlop £1 ; and that they had agreed to ask financial assistance from friends and well wishers from outside.

   Mr Thomson moved, and Mr Mills seconded, that a club be formed, to be called the Auchencairn Golf Club, which motion was unanimously adopted.

    Thereafter the following office bearers and committee were appointed; Mrs Mackie, Presiden ; Mr J. Fortune and Mr H.W.B. Crawford, Vice Presidents; Mr W. Dunlop, Treasurer; Dr Cromie, Secretary; Committee, Messrs W. Ovens, Rev. W. Thomson, Rev. W.R. Henderson, and Geo. Mills.

   It was further reported Mr Crawford was willing to allow two of his fields at a rent not exceeding £10 per annum.

   A meeting of committee was held at the close, all the members being present, except Mr Ovens. We understand it was agreed to ask a Dumfries gentleman to give expert advice as to the laying out of the course. The work is to be started at once." (DS 4.4 1914)

   "We understand that all the details with regard to the lease and rental of the new golf course at Auchencairn have been arranged. Messrs Callan and Chalmers, Dalbeattie, visited the proposed course yesterday for the purpose of assisting the local committee in laying off the course, and gave their opinion that it would prove to be a most excellent one, if not superior to some in the Stewartry. It is hoped that it will be open and ready for play in the course of the month."

(DS 9.5.1914)

   We understand that at a meeting of committee of Auchencairn golf club yesterday it was arranged for the opening ceremony to take place on Thursday, 25th curt., and the President, Mrs Mackie, has kindly undertaken the duties connected therewith.

   The course, which has been laid down under the personal suoervision of Mr F. Johnstone, Claycroft, Dalbeattie, has been visited lately by many experts of the game, and they are unanimously of opinion that it will form a very excellent 9-hole course extending as it does 1 ½  miles. It is to be hoped that many lovers of this fascinating game will find their way during the summer months to one of the finest corners of beautiful scenery to be met with in the land.

   Dr Cromie, the hon. Secretary, will be pleased to enrol members on the easy terms, with special terms for workmen who are unable to play before 6pm." (DS 3.6.1914)

   "The laying out of the new course at Auchencairn has proceeded apace, and it has been arranged that the opening service, to be performed by the President, Mrs Mackie, of Auchencairn, should take place on Thursday 25th inst.

   As was stated in our columns some time ago, the site is immediately behind the village, and to Messrs Callan and D. Chalmers, Dalbeattie, is due credit for the manner in which the ground has been utilised. The preparation of the greens, fencing, &c., has been excellently carried out by Mr F.J. Johnstone, Claycroft. From the following table it will be seen that the length of the holes compares very favourably with the majority of courses in the county :-

                                                          Yards                        Proposed Bogey

1st Hole  ……………………………..          317                                      5

2nd Hole  ……………………………….       352                                     5

3rd Hole   ………………………………..      413                                     5

4th Hole  ………………………………….     110                                      3

5th Hole   ………………………………..      293                                     4

6th Hole  ………………………………….     333                                     4

7th Hole  ……………………………….        307                                     4

8th Hole ………………………………….      280                                     4

9th Hole  ………………………………..        263                                     4

                                                        _______                           _____

                                                             2668                                  38

 

The first two holes are “ dog legged.” Bunkers are to be found in the nature of open ditches, and a dyke, which runs the whole breadth of the course, forms an excellent hazard."                       (Kirkudbrightshire Advertiser 5.6.1914)

Opening Ceremony

 

   "The new golf course at Auchencairn, which was fully described in a previous issue, was formally opened for play yesterday, in presence of a large assembly, including a number of golfers from other centres, who came to lend their countenance to this the latest accession to the ranks of the county clubs. The afternoon was warm and fine. A number of houses in the village displayed bunting, and the scene at the opening ceremony, as the company, numbering considerably over a hundred, assembled at the first tee, was a most animated one. Among those present were Mr and Mrs Fortune of Bengairn, Miss Fortune, Mrs Landale; General and Mrs Pollock, Firthhead; Mrs Robinson-Douglas, Orchardton; Lord Radstock, Orchardton; Mr and Mrs Crawford of Chapmanton; Mrs Scot-Skirving of Croys; Mr W.J.H. Maxwell of Munches; Misses Ovens, Tor ; Rev. W.R. Henderson, Auchencairn; Rev. W. and Mrs Thomson, Auchencair ; Rev. J. Davies, Buittle; Rev. J. Rankine, Dalbeattie; Canon Duffy, Mr W. Gillespie, Mr J. MacLellan, Castle Douglas; Mr and Mrs Dunlop, Duncraig; Dr Crombie ; Miss Scott; Mr Ovens, Barncros ; Mrs Embrey, Staffor ; Mr F.J. Johnstone, Claycroft, Dalbeatti ; Mrs Baxter, Miss N. McGnewall, Mr I.A. Callan, Mr Chalmer, Dalbeatti ; Mrs Cowan and Miss Cowan, Collin ; Mrs Mitchell; Mrs Mills, Schoolhouse; Captain Craig, Mr A. Clark, &c., Apologies for absence were sent by Mrs Mackie of Auchencairn ; Mr and Mrs Ovens of Torr ; Mr Brown of Netherlaw ; Mr McDowall of Girdstingwood ; Mr Mills, Schoolhouse.

   Mr Fortune, who presided, said he would like in the first place to say how much they, as local people, appreciated the presence of so many strangers who had come to help them. It was capital send off for them. Those who knew them, knew that Auchencairn people thought rather a good deal of themselves. They were only a little seaside village, but they were more than usually well equipped in all that went for the social life and social amenities of village life.

   Whether that was the reason or not he did not know, but the fact remained that they held their heads a little higher than they did in ordinary villages. They had only to study the columns of the “Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser” to see that when Auchencairn challenged other places to games of skill they did not challenge Palnackie, Rockcliffe, Kippford, or even Dundrennan, but their name figured among those of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, and Cstle Douglas, and he noticed from the “ Advertiser’s” last issue that when they challenged these clubs they sometimes beat them.

   This being the case, they could understand what a pain and grief it had been to them for many years that such an up-to-date village had no golf course. Several attempts had been made, but without success, to start a course, but so far they had languished without one. For the one about to be opened thet were largely indebted to a lady in the village, who, however, did not want her name mentioned, as she was of a shy and retiring disposition, who would blush to find herself famous. This lady met Mr Crawford, who was tenant of the Hall Farm, and asked him if he could not give some of his fields for a golf course. With most men the suggestion would have come to nothing, but Mr Crawford was not an ordinary man, but a public-spirited man who was always willing to further the interests of those around them. 

   The remark took such effect that Mr Crawford spoke on the subject to Mrs Mackie, the proprietress, with the result that a small committee was formed, and they received a lease of the two fields on which the course was situated from Mrs Mackie and Mr Crawford. When he said that the committee had collected enough money to lay out the course, and still have a good deal in hand, they would understand they had made a very good beginning. So far so good, but they had still the annual upkeep to think of, which would mean a good deal for a small village. He was glad the two ministers of Auchencairn were members, although some people objected to the presence of ministers on a golf course as imposing an irritating restraint on the free flow of stimulating language without which he understood that good golf was impossible.  Others objected on the ground that the ministers might lapse into such language themselves. 

   However, he welcomed Mr Henderson and Mr Thomson, who were always ready to join in the social life of the village. They would have to depend a good deal on their visitors, and the difficulty in that respect was the want of accommodation. If he might suggest it to Mr Ovens, Daltamie would be an ideal site for a hotel opr a row of villas. If the name were altered to Daldamie, he was certain golfers would come in thousands to a place so named but Mr Ovens, as an elder of the kirk, might object.

   To the visitors present he would say that if when they wanted a day’s golf on very reasonable terms, they should not forget Auchencairn, where they would have pleasant golf and at the same time the satisfaction of helping a struggling young club.

In conclusion, Mr Fortune caslled on Miss Violet Fortune, who drove the first ball, sending it on a true line for the first green, amid loud applause.

   Mr Crawford said that in the absence of Mr Ovens he had the pleasant duty of calling for a vote of thanks to Miss Fortune, who had so gracefully opened the course. The Fortune family, as was well-known, took a great interest in everything that was for the good of the district, anmd it was quite in the fitness of things that Miss Fortune should perform the act of opening the Auchencairn golf course. In name of the committee, he had now to present herwith a “driver” as memento of the occasion. 

   The Rev. Mr Thomson,in seconding the vote of thanks, humorously anticipated the day when trains would leave Euston with all on board bound for Auchencairn golf course.

   The Rev. Mr Henderson said he had now to call for thanks to a number of peoplewithout whom the course would not have been the fact it now was. An Auchencairn golf club had been talked about for a number of years, and that it was now an accomplished fact was due not so much to a favourable combination of circumstances as to a combination of very willing and interested helpers. They had first to thank Mrs Mackie, the proprietrix of the ground, who was a strong supporter of the club, and had made arrangements by which they were secured their tenure for a reasonable number of years. Mr Crawford, the tenant, had been most generous in allowing them to have what was really the eye of the farm, and, more, they had it from him on favourable terms. Mr William Gillespie, Castle Douglas, had been kind and helpful in the preliminary arrangements, and with regard to the actual laying out of the ground, the committee were greatly indebted to the help and direction of Mr Callan and Mr Chalmers, Dalbeattie ; while the work had been well carried out by Mr Johnstone, Claycroft. Many friends had supplied the sinews of war, and he must mention the valuable services given by Dr Crombie, the hon.secretary. Mr Dunlop seconded.

   Mr Gillespie, after thanking the company on behalf of Mrs Mackie, recalled that four or five years ago she had proposed to establish a golf course along the shore, and had a professional there on two occasions, but unfortunately, no suitable ground could be found. No one would be more gratified that she would be if the course turned out a success. He had also to thank them on his own behalf ; any services of his had been given most willingly.

   Mr Crawford said he felt that any man who lived alongside a village owed it as a duty to do whatever he could for the villagers in the way of facilities. He had been connected with that neighbourhood for many years, and enjoyed uninterrupted friendship with all in the place, and some return for that friendship it was a pleasure to him to do something for the good of the village.

   Mr Callan also returned thanks on behalf of Mr Chalmers and himself.

   Mr Fortune called for a vote of thanks to Dr Crombie, hon. Secretary, and Mr Dunlop, hon treasurer, who had both given ungrudgingly of time and trouble towards the starting of the course. Dr Crombie replied, and with a vote of thanks to the chairman, on his motion, the formal proceedings came to a close.

   The first match over the new course was started, four ladies taking part – Mrs Landale and Miss Fortune, Bengairn, against Mrs Baxter and Miss N. McG,Newall, Dalbeattie. The match had a large “ Gallery.” But other games were quickly arranged and the course soon presented a lively appearance with the different groups of players and spectators." (Kirkudbrightshire Advertiser 26.6.1914)

   “The monthly competition for the ladies’ and gentlemen’s medals took place on Saturday. Ladies medal winner, Miss L Owens; runner-up Miss Green. Gentleman’s medal winner, A Parker; runner-up A Clark. Five couples of Dalbeattie Club motored to Auchencairn last Thursday afternoon, and played a similar number of the home club. Dalbeattie won by four matches to one. Tea was provided by the local ladies.” 

(Dumfries and Galloway Standard 19.5.1915)

   “On Sunday the Dalbeattie Company of the Stewartry Volunteer Regiment held a church parade at the Parish Church, Auchencairn. In the afternoon two hours’ of hard drill was undertaken on the large field of the Auchencairn golf course.”

(Dumfries and Galloway Standard 10.3.1917)

 

The club did not survive WW1.

 

The authors walked the site in 2012, and several features of the course are still discernable.

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