Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland

Westlea Golf Course

Westlea golf course


1893 golfing annual


Our Little Links.


By Mr. T. D. MILIEU.


Westlea Green, situated somewhere in the lowland uplands of Scotland, was opened on a wet and windy afternoon by the captain striking off the first ball. After two or three futile attempts, at which our sympathetic Ohs! and Ahs! seemed to have quite the opposite effect intended, he succeeded in getting the ball away, and we gave three lusty cheers for the new nine hole course, with one more for our worthy captain, for we are mostly neophytes. A temporary release had allowed of our county member's presence, and, as there was a call for a speech, he said that, though not himself a golfer, he had occasionally looked on, and, so far as ho could judge, ours was the best inland green in Scotland, to which sentiment we all gave ready assent.

We do not boast, like some of our neighbours, of affording from tho " a fine vista of mountain scenery," for most of us prefer to do our golfing and mountaineering separately. No

needy inventor has as ynt produced a combination brassey and alpenstock, mid, until some .such article (wo are somewhat behind the ago in the novelty nomouchituro) appears, we prefer to throw

in our lot with those who " love to tread the level sward."

Our green is carved out, of a bit of waste moorland, and, though at the outset the sport resembled little else than golf in a hnyftold, by dint of returfiug and burning the grass, as heather is burned on a grouse moor, we can get round now with a single ball, and the sale of nnishios at the local dealers has decreased in an arithmetical retrogression. The green used to be let as a grouse moor, and, though there was little heather, and less grouse, We still have our " Heather Hole," for wo like our little links to resemble "the mother of them all" as far as possible.

The sporting tenant, who was reassured for a time with the argument that the fewer the grouse the more hunting he got, at last threw up his lease in disgust when he found his best bag

Our Little Links. 25 to consist of a snipe, a grouse, and three golf balls. But the early morning golfer, who has ears to hear, is still occasionally greeted with the " Go back, go back" challenge of the redfeathered fowl, and can see his scarlet comb lifted up on some heath-tufted knoll. The snipe, too, tumbles now and then with his bleat-like beat far overhead in the blue, and any time during

summer one may chance upon a stand of golden plover. It is only the golfing fanatic who fails to note these peculiar charms and accessories of a round on the moor. Some men would see

nothing but a ball and a hole ; and anything else that obtrudes itself—man, beast, or bunker, or even bird—comes in for a round of impolite abuse. " How can a man put with that blank lark making such a row over his head P " was the feeble apology for a feebler put at the end hole, by one who was once a familiar figure in the Old Union parlour.

The villagers of Westlea took very kindly to the game, and the demand for clubs soon reached such proportions that we required a local dealer. The china-ware merchant took up the trade, and pushes his new department with a zeal only tempered by bis ignorance of Ms novel stock. Although

he shows none but Park's material, he insists that he is an agent for Forgan, and that the former's name is the hitter's trade mark. When asked for a " Tom Morris," whose very name (shades of St. Andrews !) he was ignorant of, he indignantly repelled the insinuation that he should offer any other maker's clubs so long as he remained Morgan's agent. The A.I. balls he invariably recommends, with the assurance that they are made by a professional. He gives his opinion in a way that reminds one of Old Tom's back shop, and to his mind the militia officers, who now and again tool a dogcart over from the neighbouring camp, are the most notable players of the place, as they smash enough clubs at a single outing to keep an ordinary player going for a twelvemonth. Their chief ambition seems to be the reverse of the avei-age amateur cricketer, whose soul is set on double figures. One can notice an indirect effect of their reckless destruction of timber in the language of the rustic youths who act

as their caddies, and who have of late developed a taste for strong language, in imitation of their betters ; and, to show that the mind of the village scholar is not incapable of syllogistic reasoning, tho parish teacher cites a tale that when he one day 26 The Golfing Annual.

reproved the insidious habit in some of his hasty little golfing spirits, concluding with the usual trite remark that " No gentleman ever swears," a diminutive club-bearer, whom we have dubbed "the doctor," pertinently inquired, " Div ye no' ca' the Cornel and Mester Charters gentlemen P "

Of course we boast our local champion, who has as yet only attained to a second-class place on older links than ours; but at home he is par excellence, and we are all proud of him. He is

the lion of the green, especially among the girls, who affect the short game, for Westlea is open to both sexes, and a stirring sight it is to see him heading off before our modest gallery, in scarlet jacket, sky blue cap, white linen gaiters, liberal cuffs and collar, and broad expanse of white kids. He is easily recognisable when he visits any of the reputable links, and, though until now he has had the misfortune never to have come off at any open meeting, wo are hopeful that he will one day put a blue ribbon to the credit of our little green.

Westlea is a popular summer resort, with other attractions than an inland links. It has a pleasant little stream of its own that " sings a lullaby to feverish dreams " of city men, and is altogether a sequestered spot, with plenty of privacy, so that we count on an annual incursion of holiday members, whom we classify, according to a form of our own, as flyers and stayers, which has, however, no relation to their golfing styles. The latter class we subdivide, and describe, as we do the magas, by the titles fortnightlics, monthlies, and quarterlies. It will be readily understood that it was not a little difficult to apportion to each of these their proper share of the expense of the upkeep

of the green, but our secretary, who is college-learned, and in this way acquired a knowledge of other languages than his own, and who takes no end of trouble in making all necessary arrangements, submitted the following scheme at the general meeting, and it was forthwith approved, as he still insists, nomine contrudicente.




Amended tariff of charges, submitted and approved of at meeting of members, May 5, 1893.

Certain persons (shopmen and others, these to be members), in village and surroundings, who rarely or never play, 2s. 6d. at their pleasure, instead of 5s. of annual payment, given more to help the prosperity of Our Little Links. 27 the club and village than to play; 2s. 6d. for incomes, say, of Ik per

week and under, and boys and girls ; 5s. for others, as per regulations on ticket at course, which still hold good. Other charges for large families or households (either residents or visitors), who are non members, that is, not for whole year, Is. per week; 6d. per day ; Is. 6iJ. per fortnight; 2s. per three weeks ; 2s. Sd. per month; 3s. 6 per two months ; 5s. per three months. All these charges, whether

for year as members, or as non-members (i.e., not for year), to cover another player or user of the course with the payment, that is, ticket covers one other player, except when only two are in a family or household, when each shall play on some one of these tariffs ; and only those in whose names the paid-for tickets stand can play at clubarranged matches, or take part in the business of the club. Paying members or visitors to hand to secretary names of members of family or household whom their tickets (as above) cover. This will please to be noted, that such may he known as having a right to use the green.

These regulations do not preclude the whole of the members of any family or household paying in full, if they see fit, for the success of the finances of the club. Club carriers, Ad. per round.

It was thought that, with a liberal use of italics, the bill would be brought •within the apprehension of the dullest capacity; but, as a proof of the mental calibre of the holiday seekers, there are

some who confess themselves unable to understand it, and it is no -unusual sight to see tho hon. sec. of the club, with a pardonable pride, endeavouring to bring some of the summer visitors to

a better understanding of our tariff card, and he has hitherto been able so to manipulate the subscriptions that we have executed numerous improvements on the green, and latterly have

built ourselves a neat and convenient golf house, at very little expense to the regular members, which serves to prove that in Westlea, at any rate, golf is not altogether an altruistic game.

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