Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland

 Putting out on the 9th green at Abington with Arbory hill behind

Welcome To Lanarkshire.


Ham. Ad. May 14th 1892.             


Abington Golf Club. Instituted 1892. A 9-hole course laid out by Willie Fernie on land given by the Messrs Fletcher of Coldchapel, close to the station.


   "Abington has many advantages to pleasure-seekers, still another has been added. On Thursday last a golf course - ground for which had been kindly granted by the Messrs Fletcher, Coldchapel - was marked off by the well known professional, Willie Fernie of Troon. It is situated at the foot of Arbory hill with it's old Roman encampments. Possibly the Romans may have played on these very braes. Chalmers says ; It answers to a rustic pastime of the Romans which they played with a ball of leather stuffed with feathers, and golf balls are composed of the same material to this day,"  of course these are not the balls in general use now. The course, consisting of nine holes, is on the Douglas estate, and in the very corner of the parish of Laming­ton, adjoining the parishes of Crawford and Crawfordjohn.

   The situation is delightful, having Tinto on the north, the South­wood, Abington house and grounds to the south, Arbory hill on the east, the Caledonian railway, river Clyde and the village of Abington on the west. After going over the ground, Mr Fernie said he had no hesitation in saying that the turf is the best for an inland course he had visited.

   The hazards are various and plenty, including knolls, hollows, ditches, springs, rushes, wire fences, dykes, roads etc,. The Caledonian main line passes quite near, and the station is within five minutes walk. This should be a fresh attraction to this already well equipped holiday resort. Few places confer the same facilities on the pleasure seeker. Besides the accommodation offered by the modernly erected houses, the village possesses an hotel which few can equal and none can surpass for beauty and comfort.

   A club has already been formed, and the following office bearers elected; Hon.Pres. Sir Edward A.Colebrooke, Bart.; President John W.Paterson esq.J.P.: Captain Rev Edmund Thomson; Sec & Treas. Mr Thomas Smail, Commercial bank; Committee Messrs John Hunter, David Oswald & James Pater­son.

   A large number of members have already joined, and Mr Hos­ier, our M.P. with his usual liberality, has handsomely contribu­ted to the funds.

   The links are to be formally opened on 28th May

(sketch of course with yardages under article)


1st Hole - 200yds.     4th - 180yds.     7th - 170yds.

2nd      - 320yds.     5th - 220yds.     8th - 220yds.

       3rd      - 230yds.     6th - 140yds.     9th - 200yds       

 (Evening Times 19.5.1892)

Hamilton Advertiser June 4th, 1892


On Saturday last, the links were formally opened by the president, John W.Paterson esq. when a representative number of members and friends were present. In declaring the course open the president said he had in the first place to congratulate the club on the opening of such a course. The turf, as they were aware, was of the first order ; the hazards are all that could be desired, and the greens, considering that this was their opening day, were beyond anything that they could have expected. He thought it was only becoming now, in the name of the club, to return their sincere thanks to the messrs Fletcher for the magna­minous manner in which they had treated the club in so kindly granting them the use of their ground.

   Besides affording the inhabitants of the district a great source of pleasure, it was affecting a larger area, as was shown by the large influx of Edinburgh and Glasgow gentlemen who had joined the club. He had now, in declaring the course open, to call on the captain, the Rev Edmund Thomson, to show them how to play by knocking off first ball. Before playing, the captain said he trusted he was not like a clerical brother of whom he had read, and who had remarked to his caddie, "How is it that I, knowing all the sci­ences, the dead and living languages, cannot play the game of golf ?" The urchin replied "Weel, ye maybe ken a' aboot they sma' maitters, but it tak's a chap wae a head tae play gouf."

   After the ball was struck, a game was played between a number of the married and single members present, the sides being ; Married, Mr John W.Paterson, Rev Edmund Thomson, messrs John Hunter, David Oswald and Robert Colthart ; single, messrs Allan Colthart, Hermann Selgmans (?), Walter Fletcher, Thos.Smail and Wm Brown.

   There was also a foursome played by messrs James Paterson, Edward Kerr, John S.McKerrow and Wm Borland.

   After a delightful game, the president  entertained the club to a sumtuous dinner, which was heartily enjoyed by all. Before leaving, the captain in the course of a few remarks, thanked Mr and Mrs Paterson for their kindness to the club.

Sketches of the course having appeared in the Evening Times and the Edinburgh Evening Despatch. Many applications have been made for houses in the district.

Hamilton Advertiser May 6th, 1893


This course, which was openened a year ago has been great­ly improved by drainage where found neccessary, and the greens are in much better order.

   On Saturday last, a match was played between the Abington and Lowthers (Leadhills) clubs, eight men a-side. Heavy showers fell at intervals during the match, but did not in any way damp the keen enthusiasm of the votaries of the Royal & Ancient game.. When the cards were handed in, after two rounds of the course (18 holes) it was found that Abington had won by 38 holes. Scores - Abington 40, Lowthers 2.

   After the game the players were entertained to dinner by Mr & Mrs Paterson at the bank, which is but another token of the warm and kindly interest shown by them to the club since it's inception.

Hamilton Advertiser June 3rd, 1893


The annual general meeting of this club was held on Friday last - John W.Paterson esq. presiding. After the minutes of the year had been read, and approved of, the tresurers report was submitted to the meeting. It showed a very satisfactory balance in favour of the club.

   The office bearers for the year were then elected ; Hon President: Sir Edward A.Colebrooke, Bart,; President, John W.Paterson esq. J.P.; Captain, Rev Edmund Thomson; secy & treas', Mr Thomas Smail; Committee, Rev H.L.Dick, John Hunter, David Oswald, and James Paterson.

   The members are to be congratulated on the great success to which the club has for it's first year attained to. Since Mr Fernie, the Troon professional, laid out the course, another professional golfer has visited the place, Mr Sayers, of North Berwick. His opinion coincided with that of Mr Fernie's, that he had never seen, for an inland course, such a place so well adapted, so pleasantly situated, and in every way so suited for the purpose. The course last year was a favourite resort for old and young of both sexes, and has proved a source of attraction to the dis­trict. It is an old-world place now-a-days that lacks it's golf course.

Hamilton Advertiser September 2nd, 1893


A handicap comp' open to all members and visitors, was played on the links on Sat. last. There was a very fair turnout, and the weather was such as to cheer the hearts of the golfers, whose uniforms of various colours added brilliantly and beauty to the scene.. After two rounds of the course, the follow­ing proved the prize winners ; 1. Mr David L.Phease (?) Edin­burgh, 83 - 7 = 76 ; 2. Mr Alex Proudfoot, Perth, 88-10 = 78 ; 3. Mr Arch. Alexander, Edinburgh, 92-9 = 83.

   The president, John W.Paterson esq. in a few appropriate words presented the prizes to the winners, congratulating them on their success. The ladies of the village turned out in great numbers to grace this, the first, of the clubs prize comp', and by their presence, as in the combats in the lists in olden times, nerved the arms of the players to do their very best, and in so doing, to win their favour, and be rewarded by their gracious smile.  

The gentleman in the middle of the three is the Rev. Henry Littleton Dick, who was course record holder at Abington, and also many other Lanarkshire courses. 

   "This enterprising and energetic club held a prize comp' on Wed. last. The bright sunshine and genial breeze which characterised last month's comp' were conspicuous by their abs­cence, and in their place there fell a blinding drizzling rain, at times accompanied by furious gusts of wind. Notwithstanding these unfavourable atmospherical conditions, the votaries of the royal and ancient game turned out in fairly large numbers.

   Per­haps the most interesting feature of the day's play was the breaking of the record of the links by the Rev H.L.Dick, Wiston, an ablle exponent of the game. This was all the more creditable seeing that it was in the face of circumstances by no means conducive to low scoring. The prizes played for were presented by loyal and generous members of the club.

   The following are the prizes and winners ; 1st, (golf bag) won by Rev H.L.Dick with 75 (scratch) ; 2nd (cleek) won by Mr D.L.Phease, Edinburgh, 94 less 11 = 83 ; 3rd, (golf balls) won by Mr John R.Murray, Edinburgh, with 101 less 15 = 86. 

   This course has been exceedingly well patronised during the last two or three months. Among the eminent gentlemen and golfers who have visited the place may be men­tioned, Lord Lamington, Archdeacon Perowne, Mr Mitchell of Car­wood, Mr Sayers, North Berwick &co., and truly it is worthy of a visit even by those who are not of the golfing fraternity.

   In the afterglow of a summer's evening now a month agone, it was the good fortune of the many who were then on the course to witness a scene of almost surpassing loveliness. Language would fail to depict or colouring to give full justice to the feast of nature spread before them : the very sprit of peace seemed to be hover­ing around. At their feet slowly wended the silvery thread of Clutha's favoured stream ; facing them the wee Abbey Toon lay peacefully in the sylvas* beauty ; while the slowly sinking sun was tinting the western sky with a glory light, "as fair as ever broke o'er land or sea".

   Away to the right loomed largely the giant figure of grand, noble Tinto, the sentinal of this enchan­ted land. Other lands may boast of their snow-clad heights, their foaming torrents, their mighty cascades, or their thundering avalanches, but nothing to the true Scottish mind is so dear as the scenery which surrounds the home of his native land." (HA 16.9.1893)

A view of the entire course beyond the train with the sheep and Arbory hill in the background

Hamilton Advertiser May 30th, 1896


When it became known that the Messrs Fletcher were leaving Coldchapel, where the golf course is situa­ted, there sprung up a desire among the golfers to present them with a testimonial as a tangible token of their respect. This took shape at the Annual Meeting, and the matter on being brought before the members was heartily taken up and met with a gratify­ing response, the result of which was that the committee were able to provide two gold alberts - a kind of watch chain, usually for a waistcoat -  with appendages bearing suit­able inscriptions.

   On Tuesday last, a deputation from the club waited on Mr Nicol Fletcher (Mr Walter Fletcher being unavoidably absent) at the hotel. Mr John W.Paterson, pres. of the club, in a few well chosen words, made the presentation, and wished them every success in life.

   Mr Fletcher feelingly replied, and thanked the club on behalf of himself and his brother for what he charac­terised as beautiful and handsome gifts. The alberts were of the fetter and knot design, and were got from Mr Wallace Allan, jeweller, Ayr.

   "The golf course is daily the scene of many inter­esting games, in which the ladies take no small part, and al­though much yet remains to be done, the course has been consider­ably improved of late." (Hamilton Advertiser 25.7.1908)

Hamilton Advertiser August 8th, 1908


On Tuesday last, in connection with the forthcoming bazaar, the golf club held another successful "At Home". Owing to the cold and threatening weather, the attendance of friends was not quite so large as on the last occasion, but nothing could chill the enthusiasm or damp the ardour of the ten couples who had entered for mixed foursomes. Previous to the publication of the draw, much excitement prevailed among the fair members as to who was fated to be their partners, and in preserv­ing the secrecy of this, the members of the committee had a sore time, compared to which the temptation of St Anthony was mild !

The first prize was a handsome silver shoehorn and silver button hook, and in the hands of the winner we may confidently expect they will be put to proper use. The second prize was a very serviceable driver. "In ancient days we are told, when a man was in search of a wife, he sallied forth with a heavy club, sought out the fair one of his choice, felled her and carried her off in triumph. In these more modern times, apparently the clubs are given to the ladies, and, while there is no doubt that the winner of the driver will put it to the purpose for which it is inten­ded, still it might be advisable if the young men of the place kept their weather eyes open until the end of the month. It is very nice to be "smitten", but it is no joke being "felled", and, we know accidents will happen !""

                                                        Club Re-Formed

 "We are glad to know that this club has again been formed, and that a start has been made to put the course in playing order for the spring and summer months" (HA 25.3.1922).

   "One of our local postmen is an entrant for the Amateur Golf Championship to be played shortly at Prestwick. He is "mighty" at the game, and has our best wishes for success."

(Hamilton Advertiser 20.5.1922)

Original course last recorded in 1947. For details of the Wards battle to bring Abington ( Arbory Brae's ) back to life can be read in the dedicated section of this web site.

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