Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland


1st course was opened on June 22nd 1897 ( Jubilee Day )


Elgin Courant June 17th, 1898

Golf Club


The formation of the club


A meeting was held in the library, Tomintoul, on the 11th inst, for the purpose of forming a golf club, as the course was opened on Jubilee Day last year. The following members were enrolled :- Messrs Alex. Leslie, J.P ; James Taylor, J.P. ; James Taylor Junr ; John Easson ; Wm. Rattray ; James Rattray ; Geo. Smith ; James McHardy ; John McGowan ; Wm. Sim ; James McKenzie ; Wm. Meldrum ; Dr Davidson ; H. Michie ; A. McTavish ; Rev. Mr Chisholm ; Rev. Mr McKenzie.

It was agreed to call the club “ The Tomintoul Golf Club” . Mr McGowan was nominated Captain, Mr Wm. Sim, Vice Captain, Mr A. McTavish, Secretary and Treasurer. The duty of drawing up rules for the club was entrusted to a committee of management, namely, Mr H. Michie, James McHardy, Alex. Leslie, James Rattray and James Taylor.

A motion was moved by Mr William Sim and carried that local ladies be admitted free to the golf course. The annual subscription was arranged – for members 2s 6d, charge for visitors per day 6d ; week 1s 6d ; month 2s 6d ; Season 5s ; no dogs admitted ; posters to be erected where necessary to that effect, also a board to be erected at Manse Lane, with finger pointing to golf course ; a board containing club rules to be in evidence on course ; and, lastly, the clerk was instructed to thank Mr John Grant, Croughly, for his kindness in so generously granting the ground.

Northern Scot October 28th, 1899


TOMINTOUL. Golf Tournament. —A tournament took place on the Tomintoul golf course on Wednesday last between teams chosen from the town and country, which resulted in a victory for the country.

Aberdeen Journal March 21st, 1899


The golf course was last week greatly improved. The rough bent grass grass and heather at the beginning of the course has been burned, and the putting greens have been enlarged, levelled, and re-turfed.

Banff Journal Dec 12th, 1899


TOMINTOUL. Golf Club -A pleasant ceremony took place last week, when a deputation from the Golf Club waited on Mr Grant of Crouchly and presented him with a gift for his kindness In giving the use of his ground as a golf course.  Mr Leslie presided, and the presentation wan made Mr M'cHardy, Gordon Arms Hotel. The course is one of the finest the north. It is situated on breezy heights opposite the village and abounds in natural hazards.

Note : A similar article appeared in the Elgin Courant on December 8th, 1899

Tomintoul best course


Banffshire Herald May 23rd, 1903


But the best inland course in the county is at Tomintoul. It abounds in natural hazards, and, situated as it is on a spur of the Cairngorms, it is a great resort of summer visitors to the highest village in Scotland, There are local players who make a good game, and who take full advantage of the splendid golfing facilities of the place. Reference is also made to the Banff Club, which is of ancient date, and this year continues in a very flourishing

Northern Scot June 24th, 1905


TOMINTOUL. More attractions—The many attractions, both natural and otherwise, of which Tomintoul can boast have received a valuable addition in the shape of a golf course. No health resort is supposed to be complete nowadays unless a place whereon the royal and ancient game can be practised is within easy reach. That at Tomintoul, at one time said to be the highest village in Scotland, is of a nine-bole sporting character. The turf for the most part is of the best quality. But natural hazards abound. Lying within ten minutes’ walk of the village, the course occupies a fine stretch of ground on the left bank of the Conglass. The first green is situated in a haugh, and can easily be driven, but woe betide the players who hit recklessly. A marsh, a burn. And a ditch to the left and right of the second green, while for the third, if a high, natural embankment, abundantly in heather, is successfully negotiated from the tee, a delicate approach shot reaches the green. With ease the fourth green, which is situated close to a burn, should be arrived at with an iron shot. The burn has to be crossed on the way to the fifth, and delicacy has to he observed. Ease characterises the sixth, while the driver can be profitably used for the seventh. An over strong approach to the eighth lands in the midst of heather. And a heterogeneous collection of hazards lie between the tee and the ninth, necessitating straight play. The captain of the recently formed club is Mr J. G. Macpherson, schoolmaster, while in Rev. Mr Nicol, R.C. chapel, a treasurer and secretary has been found.

Aberdeen Journal June 24th, 1905


Golf Course For Tomintoul


Tomintoul is not to be behind other summer resorts in the way of affording means for recreation to the large number of fashionable visitors who yearly visit the village. A new golf course, with all the features necessary for testing and displaying the skill of a professional, is at present being laid out. The course is a nine hole one, and is about half a mile distant from the village, situated on a natural plateau, with a slight dip towards the Conglass, and on that part of the farm of Campdelmore, known as Croft-gowan. Mr Stewart, Campdelmore, has given the ground for the course.

Dufftown News, 24th June 1905




George Stewart


Tomintoul had some years ago to be added to the list of communities that are fully alive to the necessity of keeping abreast of the times. In addition to its many other natural attractions, it can now boast of a thoroughly good and serviceable golf course, and it is hoped that this will prove an additional attraction to those who every summer seek to recruit amongst the hills. The new course has been laid out on a fine stretch of ground on the left bank of the Conglass, very kindly granted by Mr Stuart of Campdalemore. The course is of the sporting order, there being a variety of natural hazards, and the greater part of the turf is of best quality, and, as a further recommendation, it lies within ten minutes' walk of the village. Close to the top of the course is the far-famed Well of Crochlochy, and the golfer who feels himself athirst can lay down his clubs and refresh himself with water of the chalybeate order, which has been certified on high authority as possessing medicinal qualities of rare degree. The new Club has started with every prospect of success. A most energetic secretary has been found in Rev Mr Nicol, R.C. Chapel, and Mr J G McPherson, who has recently come to the place as headmaster of the Public School, has been appointed captain of the Club. The annual subscription is put at a modest figure, and visitors can indulge in the royal and ancient game at exceedingly moderate cost. It is hoped that the laying out of the new golf course will enhance the popularity of Tomintoul as a health resort. The inhabitants have spared no trouble and have grudged no expense to beautify and render attractive their interesting and quaint little town. There are two good hotels, where visitors will find their every comfort attended to on very reasonable terms; there are many good houses suitable for letting to private families; there is fishing in abundance for the disciples of Walton; there are picturesque walks and drives through bits of country not surpassed in Scotland for wildness and grandeur of scenery, and the people of the town and neighbourhood are proverbial for their kindness and unaffected heartiness of manner. A general description of the course may be given. It extends to nine holes. The first tee is placed at the corner of the plantation, and the first hole lies on a nice little haugh beside the Conglass. The green can easily be driven, but there is trouble for the reckless hitter, and the player who tops his drive. The second hole is short, but a very sporting one. To the left of the green is a small marsh, to the right the burn, a little beyond a ditch. A straight mashie shot brings its own reward. The third hole is perhaps the best. The ball is driven from the burn over a high natural embankment, abundantly clothed in heather, and if the player successfully crosses it, another delicate shot is required in approaching. The fourth hole is judiciously placed close to a little burn that runs into the Conglass, and if due care is taken, an iron shot should just about lay the ball dead. To the fifth hole the burn has to be crossed, and the approach shot requires to be played carefully. The sixth is of the order called easy; while the seventh should delight the heart of the player who loves his driver. The eighth has heather beyond to catch the unwary approach; while the ninth has plenty of hazards to render straight play absolutely imperative.

Elgin Courant July 4th, 1905


Golf Course. A new nine hole golf course, laid out on the left bank of the Conglass on land belonging to Mr Stuart, Campdalemore, was opened on Friday last in brilliant weather and before a large company by Mrs Fraser. E.C. Manse. Kirkmichael. The club has been fortunate in securing such a splendid site for their course, which, with its hazards of burns, ditches, and heather, should appeal strongly to the golfer who relishes the game as much for the hazards that are to be overcome as for the compilation of an abnormal score. Mr James Taylor, Town and County Bank, introduced Mrs Fraser, who, after paying a tribute to the merits of the royal and ancient game, deftly drove off the first ball amid loud and enthusiastic cheering. Mr J. G. Macpherson. headmaster of Tomintoul School, as captain of the club, proposed a vote of thanks to Mrs Fraser, acknowledged the club's indebtedness to Mr Stuart, who granted free of cost such a splendid stretch of suitable ground. and hoped that the new course would be the means of attracting visitors in still larger numbers to visit Tomintoul. Rev. Mr Fraser, in a word, acknowledged the vote of thanks. Afterwards the members played round the course, while refreshments were handed to the company, and the scholars were supplied with sweets.

Journal July 10th, 1906


New Golf Course For Tomintoul


An interesting ceremony took place at Tomintoul on Friday afternoon, when a new golf course was opened by Mrs Gordon Smith Cameron of Delnabo. The weather was far from good, rain falling heavily during the opening ceremony.

This is the third golf course opened at Tomintoul. The first one was opened in 1897 on the farm of Croughley, and the second one two years later on the farm of Campdelmore. The latter course was in every way a good one, but before it could have been put into a thoroughly satisfactory playing condition a considerable expense would have had to be incurred, so the committee came to the decision that it would be better to try to find a permanent course. After negotiations had been going on for short time the Duke Of Richmond and Gordon came to the aid of the committee, and, with his usual generosity, granted the use of the Haughs Of Keppoch free of charge. The ground extends to about 40 acres, and is in every way suitable for a golf course. The course was surveyed by Charles Neaves, Lossiemouth, and the work of laying the greens was carried out by Alexander Riach, Tomintoul.

The course is a nine-hole one and the greens are 20 feet square, while the holes range in length from 180 to 460 yards. Not a few of the holes give scope for excellent golf. The course should be done in 36. A clubhouse is yet to be erected, and to meet this, and for the purpose of carrying out several other improvements in Tomintoul and vicinity, a bazaar is to be held on August 23rd , and will be opened by the Duke Of Richmond and Gordon. The sum expended up to date is about £100.

Strathspey Herald February 27th, 1908


"The golf club committee are determined that their course at Keppoch shall be of the best. Last year it was well patronised, and proved a great success. The greens are now being thoroughly top dressed, and considerable improvements are being made on the fairway. Mr Donald Lindsay, who secured the contract, has made splendid progress with the work, and has more than liberally carried out the contract specifications." SH 27.2.1908

Strathspey Herald August 27th, 1908


"On Tuesday a friendly match was played over the Grantown course against a team from Tomintoul – 11 men a-side. The Tomintoulians has some outstanding golfers in their ranks, notably, Mr A. Gordon Simpson, the Scottish Internationalist, and Mr J.H. McGregor, a gold medallist of the Edinburgh Burgess Club, both of whom placed victories to the credit of their side – the former by virtue of a highly creditable round of 75. The visitors were entertained to luncheon and tea in the club-house, and expressed themselves in the warmest terms as to the excellence of Mrs Maclean’s purveyance. The contest resulted in a win for the home team by 8 matches to 3. Details :-


                               Tomintoul                                        Grantown


A. Gordon Simpson  ……………..  1        A.M. Shaw  ………………………..  0

J.H. McGregor  …………………... 1        W.W.K. Duncan  ………………..    . 0

McLelland  ……………………….  0        T. McCall  ………………………....  1

Martin  …………………………      0        W.C.M. Grant  ……………………   1

McIver  …………………………...  0        H.T. Grant  ………………………...  1

McPherson  ………………………  0         J.S. Grant  ………………………..    1

Soltan  ……………………………  0         W. Templeton  …………………..      1

Tough  ……………………………  0         Jas. Grant ………………………….  1

Barclay  …………………………..  0         A. Fyfie  …………………………...  1

Jeffrey  …………………………    . 0         J.C. Surtees  ……………………..     1                                                                                                                                                                                                               .......     2              ....................................................  8

Strathspey Herald September 3rd, 1908


"On Saturday Mr J.G. Simpson, Tayport, the Scottish Internationalist golfer, playing over the Tomintoul course, broke the Professional and Amatuer records with a score of 71. The Professional record of 72 was established two years ago by Charles Neaves, Lossiemouth, and the lowest return by an amateur was also made then by Mr J.G. McPherson, who recorded a score of 78" (SH 3.9.1908) 

Strathspey Herald June 9th, 1910


"The annual general meeting of the club was held in the library, Tomintoul, on Saturday evening – Mr J.G. Macpherson in the chair. Mr Macpherson was re-elected a schairman of committee and Captain of the club, and Mr D. Cameron was re-elected secretary and Mr Talylor, Treasurer. The latter submitted his annual financial statement, which showed the club to be steadily growing in popular favour, as the receipts continue to increase year by year. A large credit balance was declared. Mr Donald Cumming, who has so efficiently kept the greens and fairway in former years, was again unanimously appointed greenkeeper for the season, and the chairman was authorised to employ labour to keep down the grass between certain of the holes. A most successful season is anticipated." 

Strathspey Herald July 28th, 1910


"The golf course is being largely taken advantage of by the many visitors now staying in Tomintoul. The fairway has been greatly improved, and if the weather would only improve, the greens would soon become quite fast and true. Dr Mackie, of Nottingham, who has taken the Bank House for the season, has offered a handsome contribution to secure a silver cup for competition among the members this season" 

 Old mowers still lying on the golf course today

The Old Clubhouse in 2002

Aberdeen Press and Journal, 4rd June 1993




It is interesting to note that the good folk of Tomintoul see a nine-hole golf course as one of the essential qualities required to give the village a tourism and economic boost. Which prompts me to ask the question: How many people can remember when Tomintoul did have its own course? I am indebted to local hotelier Colin McNiven of the Richmond Arms for the following snippets. More than half-a-century ago, a nine-hole circuit was in existence in the Delnabo area between the village and the River Avon and extremely popular it was, too. When war broke out, the course, for some reason, was ploughed up and never replaced. In fact, Colin tells me that the hotel still has in its possession a former Tomintoul Golf Club trophy which was donated back in the dim and distant past by a Sir Bruce Lockhart - a Foreign Office Diplomat who had family connections with the area. “We do not play for this trophy any more but we do still hold an annual Tomintoul open tournament,” said Colin. “The only problem is that we have to travel to Grantown to play it!”

Aberdeen Press and Journal, 24th July 1993




Plans to re-establish a golf course in a remote Moray community could be poised to take a drive forward. Tomintoul’s golf course closed during World War II and never reopened. The establishment of a nine-hole course is one of the main proposals by Kirkmichael and Tomintoul Community Association for the area's economic regeneration. The golf course and a water sports loch were two of the main proposals to emerge from a consultant’s report the association commissioned. The association will be seeking support and assistance from a number of bodies to advance its plans. Moray, Badenoch and Strathspey Local Enterprise Company has asked Moray District Council to share the cost of a feasibility study, at between £4,000-£5,000, on the proposed golf course. Council planning director Robert Stewart is recommending the planning and development committee support the request. Mr Stewart says in a report a nine-hole pay-as-you play course would be an excellent facility for the village. “Whilst, perhaps, of limited value in economic terms in its own right, the golf course should seen as just one aspect of a wider programme,” he continues. “A proper feasibility study could establish just what prospects a golf course actually has.” The planning committee will consider the matter on Wednesday.

Press and Journal September 18th  1997


Tomintoul golfers are definitely on course


A village’s dream of having a golf course again has taken a major step forward.

The idea of re-establishing a course at Tomintoul after more than 50 years emerged five years ago from a survey carried out by the community association.

Now Tomintoul and Kirkmichael Community Association has teamed up with the village’s new golf club with the aim of making the dream a reality.

The original nine-hole course was ploughed up for the war effort.

Efforts after the war to re-establish the nine-hole course then Scotland’s highest at 1.160ft. were bunkered.

Today’s golfers are hoping the new course will be ready by 2005 the centenary of the opening of the original nine-hole course.

The boast of Scotland’s highest course will be a major marketing ploy in attracting visitors.

Association secretary Sven Bjarnason the village’s Church of Scotland minister does not consider the prospect of having to raise £300,000 £4000,000 to finance the course a handicap.

A feasibility study is likely to be commissioned.

An international golf course architect and a PGA expert both backed the golf course project as viable in 1992.

The original golf club folded in the mid-60s but was reformed last year and already has 100 members.

The National Lottery, the Scottish Sports Council and Moray, Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise are possible sources of grant aid for the golf course project.

Hopes of re-establishing the course on its original site were dashed because it is on a tenant’s farmland.  But officials are in discussions with the Crown Estate over a site near the Conglass river on the eastern approaches to the village.

The original corrugated-iron and wood clubhouse will be moved to the new course as a booking office.

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