Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland

A right motely crew this lot. Have you all got a handicap ?




Lesmahagow Golf Club.  Instituted 1896.  A 9-hole course on the lower spurs of the Muirsland Hill.


   "Some weeks ago, a public meeting was held to consider the advis­ability of forming a golf club for Lesmahagow and district, and at which the matter was enthusiastically taken up and a committee appointed to procure suitable ground for golf links.

   This commit­tee have been successful beyond their most sanguine expectations, and, through the kindness of Mr Pate, tenant of Muirsland farm, and Mr Hope Vere, the game tenant, the Lesmahagow Golf Club will be able to boast of having a course second to few in Lanarkshire. 

   The following are the office-bearers of the club for the ensuing year; Hon.Pres. J.C.Hope Vere esq, of Blackwood: Hon.Vice Presidents, Messrs the Hon. A.Y.Bingham of Stonebyres, Hugh Mosman Auchtyfardle, W.A.Scott McKirdy of Birkwood, A.H.Stein of Kirkfield. J.H.C.Hozier MP, P Jeffrey Mackie of Auchlochan, Gavin Hamilton of Auldtown, and Robert Pate of Muirsland.; cap­tain, J.J.Greenshields esq. of Kerse: Sec. And Treas, Mr John Houston, British Linen Coy's Bank: committee, Messrs C.W.Sleigh, D.Millar, Wm Martin, Rev W.Lyall Wilson, Thos. Sommerville, T.S.Naismith, John Stoddart, Rev James Gilhew, and Gavin Hamilton jnr. A sub-committee from the above has been appointed to draft a constitution for the club.

   In the meantime, the secre­tary is prepared to enrol members, the annual subscription for the first year being ; Gentlemen - 10/-, Ladies - 3/- ; and, with a view to encourage early applications for membership, it was resolved that no entry money be charged those joining before 1st April 1897. 

   Situated at the base of the Muirsland hill, the golf course has many natural facilities for the full enjoyment of the game. The turf is old, and the hazards - a stone dyke, a burn crossed four times, and occasional stretches of heather - render the course in every sense a sporting one. There are nine holes and the putting greens have been selected in such a manner that levelling and restarting will only be required to a limited extent, and which will admit of play while the course is being laid out. The formal opening of the links will, it is expected, take place in April, when the committee hope to secure the atten­dance of two of our noted professionals to celebrate the occa­sion.

   Every encouragement has been given to the newly formed club, and it is to be hoped that full advantage will be taken by parishioners of the opportunity of enjoying this popular pastime, and that, with our new railway system giving travelling facili­ties to our city friends, the club will grow in numbers and popularity till the good folk of Lesmahagow realise that their golf is a powerful institution in their midst and a considerable attraction to visitors."  

(HA 28.11.1896)

   "The links of this newly formed club were formally opened on Saturday by the Captain, J.J.Greenshields, Esq. of Kerse. There was a good turn out of members, and the opening was also graced by the presence of a number of the lady members of the club. The weather unfortunately, was showery, but, despite this drawback, the proceding were characterised by an enthusiasm which augers well for the success of this popular game in the parish of Lesmahagow.

   The Captain, in declaring the course open, spoke in fulicitous terms, and on driving the first ball, was accorded a hearty round of cheers. The Rev W.Lyall Wilson, thanked Mr Green­shields for his presence that day and the interest he had all along taken in the success of the club he evinced by the pre­sent of a beautiful silver challenge cup, for competition by the ordinary members, and a handsome gold bangle to be competed for by the ladies.

   Thereafter a match between sides, representing the Captain and the secretary (Mr Houston) was engaged in, resulting in a win for the captains side by seventeen holes. The procedings were much enjoyed by all, and, as the captain happily remarked, the event was among others in Lesmahagow that would tend to keep alive the memory of the Diamond Jubilee."   (HA 1 5 1987)

    The last of the Ladies and Gents monthly comps' for the season were held last Sat. when Miss Fairservice and Miss Lumsden were "at home" to members and friends. The weather was perfect, and there was a particularly large crowd present. In­deed, on approaching the course, one would have thought it was a cycle club meeting, there being a score or so of cycles ranged along the fence. The hostesses did the honours in a most thorough and attentive manner and their efforts were much appreciated. Miss Fairservice was in a particularly happy and gracious mood. She had been out in the morning and defeated Miss Williamson in the final for the third set of Gold Buttons, thus adding to her already numerous trophies. Miss Dewar, Miss Cameron, and Miss Campbell are also to be thanked for the kind assistance they gave in dispensing tea. Miss Peggy Lindsay and Miss Madge Pate were respectively first and second in the ladies section. Mr Brown came out with the determination to be among the Kerse Cup final­ists, this being his first appearance in competition this season. He won all right, returning a steady 91 less 13 = 78. Mr J.N.Gardner was second with 84 net. The finalists are Messrs Cook, Rule, Tait, F.T.Meyer, A.J.Meyer and the Rev W.G.Brown. These now play off by match play. The Les'gow reps failed to come up to expectations in the "Evening Times" trophy comp' last week, falling in the second round before Edinburgh Burgess."   (HA 6.10.1906)

It would appear from the two following letters to the Hamilton Advertiser that there was a suggestion that the club should move from its Muirsland course to another, adjacent to the cemetery and the football field. The "remains" apparently won the day.

   On Sat last, the members of the golf club turned out in full strength to test the improvements that have just been made on the links. Throughout the afternoon and evening the weather was delightful, and some fine play was exhibited, especially in a game between Mr J.W.Tait and a well known Glasgow crack who had been invited to show his powers. A keen struggle resulted in a victory for Mr Tait by 2 up and 1 to play. Mrs Clarkson of Friars Park entertained the company to tea, which was served "al fresco" by her daughters. In the monthly comp for ladies Miss Isa Clarkson won the first prize, Miss Helen Clarkson the second, and Miss Campbell the third. In the comp for gents, Mr Rule won the first prize with a net score of 79, and Mr Wardrop the second with 81. Mr Gilmore was third with 85 and Mr Alfred J.Mayer fourth with 86."   (HA 1.6.1907)

Length of Course,  2260 yards - Bogey  37

             Hole No.       1          2         3         4         5          6         7         8         9

Length in yards      280      265     130     310     325      220     280    260     190

                Bogey        4          3         4         4         6          5         4         3         5

The course is beautifully situated.  The turf is old hill turf of fine quality, the hazards being natural and consisting of burns, stone dykes, heather patches, and rushes. 

(WWG 1909)

   Sir- Some people are convinced that the club is making a great mistake if they hold to the arguement which has been voted on and carried by a majority. What do most people play golf for ? A great majority because they find it a fine system of taking exercise, and particularly because it is carried on away from the smoke of the town and where pure air abounds, where could a finer place than Muirsland be found, lying high and open, and which experts say with a little expenditure could be made one of the finest courses in the country ? Can many places be found where it is possible to have such a course so convenient ? Most of those who enjoy golf have to go much farther. The contemplated course has not much to recommend it ; most would say it is a poor one, and besides it adds another game to the surroundings of that sacred place, the cemetery. This is now a large place, and with it's many fine monuments becoming a place worthy of a visit, and a credit to the parish. It is now fairly well kept, except in front, where it might be cleared of weeds, heaps of earth, bricks etc. On one side of the road, as one enters the cemetery, is the football field, with it's gaudy club house ; on the other if the new course is chosen will be the golf course, one of the sides of the cemetery being one of the hazards. No doubt there is a diffi­culty in getting suitable ground for games, but, to say the least, the choice in Lesmahagow is unfortunate and not in good taste." 


  (HA 3.4.1909)

   Sir - What do people play golf for, dear "Interested". The ques­tion verily hath a multitude of answers. There are those who play it to make money. Oh felicitous few ! There are many who play it to get rid of some spare cash, which they cannot find a better use for. Again, behold an innumerable and incongruous host of foolish mortals who patronise the game in order to discover how much turf they are able to shift with implements so inadequate for the purpose as a ham knife is for hair cutting. Moreover, there is a certain sect whose daily work finishes at an hour when most people are merely getting heated up, and who select this method of squandering their superfluous energy. Lastly, there are some who desire to add to their vocabulary or to gain facility in the art of elocution. Lesmahagow comprises a wide district, and I am unable to state with certainty if it is possible to find a sample of each class enumerated above in the golfing fraternity of the parish. Speaking of things I do know, I fail to see how anyone can   gavel at the difference between the two golf courses. Muirsland needs no eulogy. In a district where fresh air is so scarce, what superabundance of invigourating ozone ! And the heather ! The beautiful, bonny, blooming purple heather, where the bumbee buzzes and the elusive ball lurks, while the joyous golfer experiences a sinking sensation at the prospect of another two bob swallowed up in the delightful springy turf. And oh, joy ! think on the freedom and abandon with which one can open one's whole heart at the loss of a club head. There Nature - in the form of a drove of blackfaced sheep, or more often of a trio of unshod colts - listens silent and wondering, while the balmy atmosphere quivers with the expressive sentiments of a harassed enthusiast. To sacrifice such exclusiveness for an additional ten shillings, and the risk of having one's English critisised by the commons of the village would be a sin and a setback to budding aristocracy. Such a beastly, awfully conve­nient place, too, don't you know. Just a mile and a quarter from the village. You can walk out to this Eden in fifteen minutes - with an effort - and when you arrive there in a lather of sweat, with an hour of daylight in front of you, there is a sweet, fir plantation close by, in which you can stand on your head for the ensuing ten minutes to keep the sweat from coursing down your neck. And when towards nightfall the gentle rain from heaven besprinkles the dairy carpeted velvet, and you are far from home, you rend your way to the village in the twilight - the dim dirty twi-twi-twilight- accompanied by some fair damsel, ancient or otherwise, who inflicts upon you her reminiscences of some famous strokes executed in the obscure past. Sublime, did you say ? It is heavenly ! And we are giving it up for what ? a smoke swept, dismal waste of land, as innocent of grass or vegetation as a billiard table, adjacent to the kirkyard, and exposed to the vulgar gaze. When peaceful night spreads her dark pinioned wings over the quiet vale, and the last belated golfer is stealthily picking his reluctant steps among the gravestones in search of his lost "Kite", the ghosts of his departed ancestors will arise from their chill couches, and gnash their gumless teeth in silent anguish of spirit at the levity of the present generation of mortals. No more of the exasperated embryo will the involuntary exclamation of wrath or disappointed vanity suffice. He will e'en be compelled to resort to a notebook in which, if we were privi­leged to peep, we should find such entries as this ;- Second drive foozled : medium  ??pithet". "Fourth hole : club had smashed : triangular exclamation." "Eighth drive : sliced and lost ball : double barrelled oath twice repeated, followed at intervals of a half minute by triple expansion, double distilled, ejaculation, consisting of three adjectives and two nouns." etc. etc,. The game finished and his entries faithfully recorded, it will be his duty to retire to the Clannochdyke plantation, there to follow out the written instructions, and relieve his pent up feelings. Verily, times will have changed.


(HA 10.4.1909)

The club went into abeyance with the onset of WW1.

   At a meeting on 3rd June 1919 it was unanimously decided to form a club, and it was hoped to resume play at once."   (HA 7.6.1919)

Major Trophie:  Greenshields Cup, Kerse Cup,

Membership 70 and 30 Ladies (1912).  

A simple letter, and its all over.
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