Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland
 Forgotten Golfing Greens Of Scotland

Balfron 1,and 2.

In 1896 there was an attempt to form a golf club, and a site on Park Farm was selected. Unfortunately, the putative club and the landlord could not reach agreement and so the initiative ended. Then in 1901 another attempt was made, but, again, with no success.

First attempt - 1896

 

   "Hitherto there has been but little to chronicle in respect of the Ancient – game in our midst, whether from lack of material and imagination, both of which are, we understand, intimately connected with the “ R And A Pastime” Our village promised to become famous as one of the remaining few guiltless of golf, but it seems, alas, as though we shall soon be engulfed in the common fate, and have a course laid out, there being no longer any extraordinary obstacle in the way, all of which will be considered in the Coffee Rooms on Monday first at 8pm, when those interested should make a point of attending."   

(SJ 18.8.1896)

 

   "Sir, - I hope the gentlemen who interested themselves in the formation of a golf club last season have not given the idea up. The stale friction with Mr Cunningham Graham should not be an inseperable barrier. It does not do to throw away the pad when the cow kicks. Mr Cunninghame Graham, if approached in a proper and courteous manner, is sure to grant permission to form a course on the Park Farm, which is admirably suited for the purpose. If the district is to become attractive to visitors, a golf course is a necessity. I would ask the gentlemen to try again, and try at once ,as the season is getting on."

  (SJA 30.4.1896)

Second attempt - 1901

 

   "Balfron, as a summer resort for visitors, is rapidly coming to the front as the beauties of the district become more widely known. But to be up-to-date a golf course is wanted.

   On the initiative of Mr Sewell, Schoolmaster, a meeting of those interested was held in the coffee rooms on Monday night- Mr John Macadam, Banker, presiding. Apologies for absence were intimated from Rev James Lindsay, Balfron, Mr William Smith, Home Cottage, Dr Roxburgh, Pollockshields and others. On the motion of Mr David G Lyall, seconded by Mr Robert Dempster, it was unanimously agreed to that it was eminently desirable to form a golf club for the district, and it was remitted to Mr John Macadam, Dr Fisher, Mr David G Lyall, Mr Robert Sewell, and Mr Andrew Graham as a committee to take the necessary steps to secure a suitable course for golfing, and to report to another meeting to be held on early date. It is expected that the committee will have no difficulty in arranging for a golf course, so that by next season, Balfron will probably be quite up to date in this  respect.

   Once again there is a movement on foot to secure a golf course for the district, with what success remains to be seen, though for the general good of the village it is highly desirable that there should be a golf course."   (SJA 4.10.1901)

Balfron Golf Club. Founded 1905.  A 9-hole course on the Tornbrake Farm, in the vicinity of the old park quarry, 2 miles from station.

   "There is some hope that at last a golf course will be secured for the district, and the local golfers are beginning to look out and furbish up their golf clubs, so as to begin for the opening of the course. It is expected that the course will open at some early date, and a goodly number of gentlemen have intimated their intentions to join with upwards of fifty ladies and they will join the club at the opening, and that soon, there is likely to be a membership of one hundred."   (SJA 26.5.1905)

   "The negotiations for providing a golf course for the district, though rather prolonged, have reached a satisfactory conclusion.

   A meeting of the provisional committee was held in the coffee rooms on Monday Night, when it was intimated that Sir Charles Cayzer, Bart, M.P. had granted the use of part of the land on Tombrake Farm, in the vicinity of the old park quarry, for the purposes of a golf course, on conditions that were quite satisfactory, and were at once agreed to. Arrangements were made for the carrying out of the course, and a meeting will be held on an early date for the purpose of enrolling members. The new golf course will be a great attraction to the district."   (SJA 23.6.1905)

Stirling Journal and Advertiser July 7th 1905. Golf.

 

   "A meeting of all interested in the formation of a golf course and golf club for the district was held in the coffee rooms on Friday evening last. There was a fairly representative attendance, and Mr H.S. Ward was called upon to preside.

   Rules similar to those of Killearn Golf Club were adopted, and a committee appointed to have the new course laid out, greens formed etc.

   Mr H.S. Ward was appointed Secretary and Treasurer. It is expected that the new course will be in order, and ready for opening in the course of a fortnight."   (SJA 7.7.1905)

   "It has been arranged that the new course will be formally opened by the Captain of the club, Mr Fyfe Jamieson, Old Ballickinrain, on Saturday, 9th September.

   Mr H.S. Ward, the Secretary, has been indefatigable in looking after the course and in getting the greens and the course generally in good order in view of the Formal Opening, when it is expected that there will be a large attendance of visitors, golfers and others.

   Sir Arch.Orr Ewing, Bart of Ballikinrain, has, with his usual kindness, presented the club with a clubhouse, which has just been erected at the entrance to the course. It has been arranged that tea, etc, will be served to visitors and friends on the opening day."  

(SJA 1.9.1905)

Formal Opening of Balfron Golf Course.

 

   "The formal opening of Balfron Golf Course took place on Saturday last under rather unfavourable weather conditions. Throughout the early part of the davit rained in torrents, with intermittent gleams of sunshine.

   The course is situated to the north of Repculloch Moor, on that part of the Gartmore estates known as Park Quarry Farm, and is somewhat over a mile to the north of the village, involving a stiff uphill climb. The time of the grand function had been fixed for three o’clock and as that hour approached there would only be about a dozen gentlemen present, and there was every appearance of what is termed in theatrical parlance - a frost.  But suddenly Old Sol beamed forth, and the ladies, who must have been imbued with that spirit of hope which springs eternal in the human breast, and had doubtless been in readiness to grace the proceedings, at the psychological moment, came on the scene, and although not in all the glory of summer confections, in costumes appropriate to the nature of the weather.

A marquee had been erected for the reception of the members and their friends, and shortly after three o’clock on a hundred ladies and gentlemen.

   The proceedings were opened by the Rev.Jas.Black.M.A. who, on behalf of the Committee, welcomed the guests, and thanked them for turning out in such umbers, and assured them that everything had been done and was being done to make the Balfron course a credit to the village and the district generally, and trusted that in time the venture so suspiciously inaugurated would result in being of great benefit to people and neighbourhood alike.  He then called upon. Mr J.F.Fyfe-Jamieson, of Old Ballikinrain, the captain of the club, who, in the course of his remarks animadverted on the difficulties the club, and committee had encountered in the formation of a course on ground which, although having as it did all the qualifications of a good natural inland course in the midst of most beautiful scenery, required much spade work to render it satisfactory.  To add to their difficulties,throughout the summer they had had a long period of drought which was not at all conductive to the proper formation of greens, but thanks to the energy of their secretary.Mr Ward, and his many assistants, he was confident that the course was now in such a condition as to augur for the club a bright and prosperous career. “In golfing, as in other matters, the old adage, “There is nothing like leather.” Was a true saying, and the members who had so freely come forward could materially aid the Committee by taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded them, as nothing conduced more to the bettering of a course than its being constantly walked over.  

   Mr W. Robertson Smith, Ballindalloch, then addressed the assembly, regretting his inability to take an interest in the club in an official capacity,but as showing that his heart was in the work and his desire for the welfare of the community strong, he had decided to offer prizes to the club in the form of, first,a bag equipped with clubs; second, a cleek and a brassie; and third, say, half a dozen golf balls, and these he hoped would serve as an encouragement to the members to take an interest in all that pertained to the welfare of the club.

   Mr A.F.Wilson of Burnbrae, vice-president, in a few graceful remarks, called for a very hearty vote of thanks to their worthy Captain, and Mr Fyfe-Jamieson graciously replied.  Mr H.S.Ward, secretary, whose unremitting labours had been highly eulogised by the various speakers,thanked the assembly in feeling terms.

Mr A.F.Wilson of Burnbrae, vice-president,in a few graceful remarks, called for a very hearty vote of thanks to their worthy Captain, and Mr Fyfe-Jamieson graciously replied. Mr H.S. Ward, secretary, whose unremitting labours had been highly eulogised by the various speakers, thanked the assembly in feeling terms.

   Mr Fyfe-Jamieson then proceeded to drive off the first ball, and had as his opponent in the first round of the course Mr Walter Aitken of Kellearn, followed by a foursome, including Messrs Robert Sewell and Alex. Johnstone, as representing the Committee of the Balfron Club, versus Messrs Oatley and John McGregor as representing Killearn Club.  In the former match, at the termination of the nine holes round, Messrs Jamieson and Aitken  landed all square,and on a replay the result was the same.

   In the foursome, Killearn claimed the victory.  A number of singles were also engaged in, and after the golfers were seen well on their way, the visitors were entertained to afternoon tea in the marquee, through the hospitality of the Captain of the Club, the purveying being in the hands of Mr and Mrs Dunkeld of the Ballindalloch Hotel.  By the generosity of Sir Arch. E. Orr, Bart. Of Ballikinrain, Hon President, the club has been provided with a neat temporary clubhouse, the cost of transport having been borne by the Captain. Mr Fyfe-Jamieson. Sir Archibald sent a letter regretting his inability to be present at the opening ceremony, but during the afternoon throughout the summer they had had a long period of drought, which was not at all conducive to the proper formation of greens, but thanks to the energy of their secretary, Mr Ward, and his many assistants, he was confident that the course was now in such a condition as to augur for the club a bright and prosperous career.  In golfing, as in other matters, the old adage.  “There is nothing like leather”, was a true saying, and the members who had so freely come forward could advantage of the opportunities afforded them, as nothing conduced more to the bettering of a course than its being constantly walked over.

Mr W. Robertson Smith, Ballindalloch, then addressed the assembly, regretting his inability to take an interest in the club in an official capacity, but as showing that his heart was in the work, and his desire for the welfare of the community strong, he had decided to offer prizes to the club in the form of, first, a bag equipped with clubs; second, a cleek and a brassie; and third, say, half a dozen golf balls, and these he hoped would serve as an encouragement to the members to take an interest in all that pertained to the welfare of the club.

Mr A.F. Wilson of Burnbrae, vice-president, in a few graceful remarks, called for a very hearty vote of thanks to their worthy Captain, and Mr Fyfe-Jamieson graciously replied. Mr H.S. Ward, secretary,whose unremitting labours had been highly eulogised by the various speakers, thanked the assembly in feeling terms.

   Mr Fyfe-Jamieson then proceeded to drive off the first ball, and had his opponent in the first round of the course Mr Walter Aitken of Killearn followed by a foursome, including Messrs Robert Sewell and Alex. Jonstone as representing the Committee of the Balfron Club, versus Messrs Oatley and John McGregor a representing Killearn Club.  In the former match, at the termination of the nine holes round messrs Jamieson and Aitken landed all square, and on a replay the result was the same.  In the foursome, Killearn claimed the victory.  A number of singles were also engaged in and after the golfers were seen well on their way, the visitors were entertained to afternoon tea in the marquee,through the hospitality of the Captain of the Club, the purveying being in the hands of Mr and Mrs Dunkeld of the Ballindalloch Hotel. By the generosity of Sir Arch. E. Orr Ewing, Bart. Of Ballikinrain, Hon President, the club has been provided with a neat temporary clubhouse, the cost of transport having been borne by the Captain, Mr Fyfe-Jamieson.  Sir Archibald sent a letter regretting his inability to be present at the opening ceremony, but during the afternoon he paid a brief visit to the course.

   Throughout the afternoon the following ladies and gentlemen graced the proceedings with their presence:- Mr J.F. Fyfe-Jamieson, Old Ballikinrain;  Mr Robertson Smith, Mr Robertson Smith and Miss Robertson Smith, Ballindolloch; Miss, and the Misses Barnwell, Elcho House; Rev. James Black, M.A. and Mrs Black, the Manse; Mr and Mrs Stuart Black, Blairessan; Mr John Fraser and party, Balfunning; Mr David Wilson, Carbeth; Mr Wm. And Miss Smith, Holm Cottage; Miss Maggie Connal, Hawthorne House; Miss Cooper, of Ballindaloch,  The Red House; Mrs D. Brown, family, and party, Ballat; Mr A.F. Wilson, Burnbrae; Mr and Mrs John Macadam, Mount Blow; Mr Robert and Miss Sewell, Schoolhouse; Mr H. Somerset Ward, Dunibert; Mr D.S. Buchanan, Cherrybank; Mr McGilchrist, Fintry; Mr Halliday, Glasgow; Messrs Walter Aitken, J. McGregor, Alfred Oatley, Matt. Bennie, W. Gourlay, and W. Gilfillan, Killearn; Mr T. H. and Miss White, Brookdale; Mr and Miss Wilson and Mrs Bowie, Crofthead; Mr and Mrs Donan and Mr W.H. McDermott, Brookdale; Mr and Miss Watson and party, Keir Place; Mr and Mrs Chas. McKay, Lorne House; Miss McKay Dunmore Street, and Miss E. McKay,London; Miss and Miss M.F. Mitchell, Tombrae; Miss Gilchrist and Miss Christina Risk, Auchentroig;  Miss Harrower, Tontine House; Messrs Alick Johnstone, W.F. David, and John Hart, Thos. Nelson, and John Neilson, Balfron."   (SJA 15.9.1905)

  "A general meeting of the members of the Golf Club was held in the Coffee Rooms on Friday last – Mr A.F.Wilson, Vice-President in the chair.  

   With the view of raising funds it was agreed to promote a concert during the ensuing winter, and also a bazaar in July or August of next year.  It was remitted to the committee of the club to make all arrangements for the concert, and an executive committee and a ladies’ committee were appointed in connection with the proposed bazaar to be held next year.  The chairman suggested that a donation fund should be started and intimated that he would head the donation fund with a subscription of three guineas.  This was cordially agreed to, and a hearty vote of thanks was given to Mr A.F.Wilson for his kindness."   (SJA 22.9.1905).

Golf Club Concert   

   "This concert, promoted by the Committee of the Golf Club for the purpose of raising funds necessary for the improvement of the golf course, was held in the Public Hall on Friday evening last.  Mr Fyfe-Jamieson, Old Ballikinrain, occupied the chair.  The reserved and second seats were filled by a select and highly appreciative audience, but the other parts of the hall were almost deserted, one reason for this being that the programme was not of a sufficiently popular character to attract the general public, though to those whose musical faculties and tastes have been educated, the concert throughout was a treat of no ordinary character.  At the close a cordial vote of thanks, proposed by Mr H.S.Ward was accorded to the ladies and gentlemen who had contributed so much to the evening’s entertainment, and a similar compliment to the Chairman brought the concert to a close"   (SJA 15.12.1905).

   "Now that the concert promoted by the Golf Club is a thing of the past, the initiatory steps for the promotion of a bazaar in August of next year are being taken, and there is every reason to suppose that the bazaar will be a distinct success.  At a meeting of the Ladies’ Committee held this week stall-holders were appointed and other preliminary arrangements were made.  In the matter of bazaars, it is well to take time by the fore-lock."   

(SJA 22.12.1905)

   "The competition for the Fyfe Jamieson medal was played off on Saturday last under most favourable weather conditions. Mr A.J. Mackie being adjudjed the winner with Messrs H.S. Ward and D.S. Buchanan jr runners up."   (SJA 12.4.1907)

 

   "A large deputation from Killearn Club visited the local course on Saturday last and engaged with Balfron members in a couple of rounds of mixed foursomes.  The weather was ideal and the visitors were loud in their praise of the condition of the course, the improvement on the greens through recent operations being most marked.  About 30 players took part in the games."   (SJA 17.5.1907)

 

   "Mr James Johnstone, whose assistance is laying out the local course was so highly valued, has been visiting the district, and,playing over the course last week, created a new record, doing the round of 18 holes in 79, and this week repeated the performance.  The former record was 83 by the same player"   (SJA 24.5.1907).

 

   "The monthly competition for the Fyfe-Jamieson medal took place on Saturday with the following result:- Dr Forrester,115 (15) J.T. Mackie,110 (8); Charles McKay, 117 (8); H.S.Ward, 123 (12) Dr Forrester was consequently the winner.  

   With a view to encouraging the game amongst the villagers the Committee of the Club have decided to grant permanent residents the privilege of playing over Tombreak Course free every Friday during the season."   (SJA 13.7.1907)

 

   "The final competition for the Fyfe-Jamieson monthly medal took place on Saturday.  Some of the scores were – Mr Alick Johnston (winner), 112 (8); Mr R. Paton, 111 (4); Mr Charles McKay, 117 (6)."   (SJA 11.10.1907)

  "Responding to invitations issued by the Balfron Golf Club, who opened the season by holding a spring meeting, a number of representatives of the Fintry and Killearn clubs joined the locals in a series of mixed foursomes on Saturday afternoon. The weather was ideal, and after the games the visitors were entertained to tea. The course presented quite an animated appearance, there being a large number of visiting members on the ground."  

(SJA 16.4.1909)

 

   "The fourth annual general meeting of the Balfron Golf Club was held in Cockburns rooms on Thursday evening last. Mr Robert Sewell presiding. 

   The financial statement and secretarial report were submitted and unanimously adopted. The club now numbers 62 members and during the year a considerable amount of work has been done tending to the general improvement of the course which is reported to be presently in excellent order. The accounts for year ending 15th May show income to have been £60.13s.8 ½ d. expenditure £60.4s 1d with the deposit and investment accounts showing a credit balance of £263. 1s. the liquid assets of the club being about £274.10s liabilities nil.

   Office bearers for the ensuing year were elected as follows; Honorary Presidents, Sir Charles Cayzer, Bart, Gartmore; Sir Archd.E.ORR Ewing, Bart, Ballikinrain; Hon Vice President, Mr A.F. Wilson, Burnbrae; Hon. Captain, Mr James F. Fyfe Jamieson; Captain, Rev. Matthey Barclay B.A. L.L.D, Fintr ; Hon. Secretary, Mr H. Samerset Ward; Hon Treasurer, Mr Mr John K. Neilson; Committee; Rev. James Black; Mr Barclay; Dr Fisher; Dr Forrester; Messrs D.S. Buchanan; Alick Johnstone; John K. Neilson; Robert Sewell; Archibald Allan; William Paton and William Hart; Greens Committee , Dr Barclay; 

Dr Fisher; Messrs Alick Johnston, J.K. Neilson, and H.S. War ; Auditor, Mr John Macadam J.P."

  (SJA 18.6.1909)

 

   "The stroke competition promoted by the Balfron Golf Club to encourage artisans of the village to take an interest in the game was concluded on Saturday afternoon last. The prize offered was a set of three golf clubs, presented by an anonymous donor, and the “ sticks” were secured by Mr James Simpson, jun, with a score of 60. The competitors being novices, the play all round was considered to be remarkably good. To further stimulate an interest in the game amongst villagers, we understand a member of the club is offering another prize of three clubs in a stroke competition to be played on Saturday’s in July. Artisans, presently non-members, are invited to send in their entries to the Hon. Secretary Mr Ward."   

(SJA 2.7.1909)

 

   "The second stroke competition for a prize of a set of golf clubs offered by a member of the Club to artisans of the village, novices at the game, was carried through on Saturday afternoon.  There were 14 entrants who played in pairs, and the winner was Mr Wm.Stewart, with 60 strokes.  The following were the scores – Wm. Stewart, 60; James Simpson, senr; 64; A.S. Simpson, 76; James Mulgrew, 77; J.McLean, 77; Alex. McLean,87; Archie Simpson 87, Tom Morrison, 91, John Hamilton 96, Alex Adams 96, R shepherd 99, A Barclay 104, A.S. Scott 120, Dun. Thomson 138, The runner up – Mr Simpson – got into difficulties at the first and second holes, otherwise his play was exceptionally creditable for a novice. There was quite a crowd of interested spectators on the course throughout the afternoon."   (SJA 30.7.1909)

   "In a communication we have received from the Hon. Seretary of the Balfron Golf Club, Mr Ward regrets the lack of interest taken in the game by the ladies. Mr Sewell some time ago offered a set of clubs to be played for by Lady members, but owing to a lack of entries the competition fixed for last Friday had to be postponed. He also wishes that many more of the Balfron artisans would come forward as members, as recent competitions specially organised on their behalf, have proved that there is a considerable golfing talent going to waste within their ranks for the want of practice and a little enthusiasm.

   He further adds that the outlook of the club has never been brighter than at present, and if the greens committee continue to attend to their duties, as they are now doing, it’s success is assured.

   A team of eight players from the Lennoxtown club visited Balfron on Saturday afternoon and engaged a similar number of locals in a series of matches. The result was decisively in favour of the visitors. There was a large concourse of interested spectators and a pleasant afternoon was spent."   (SJA 6.6.1909)

 

  "A team of Killearn golfers visited the course at Tombrake on Saturday afternoon, and engaged local members in a series of singles . The homesters, we understand, were beaten by their near neighbours. The third of a series of stroke competitions for artisans takes place on Saturday first, the prize offered being again a set of golf clubs donated by the Rev. M. Black."   (SJA 20.8.1909)

 

   "The third stroke competition for a prize of a set of golf clubs, donated by the Rev. Mr Black, offered to artisans of the village, was played off on Saturday afternoon. There were twenty entrants, and after a keen contest, Mr Archibald Simpson secured the “Sticks” with a score of 49. Mr Archibald McLaggan being second with 56. Three prizes offered by Mrs Wilson, Burnbrae, in a nine holes by strokes handicap, open to members of the club, are to be competed for on Saturday, 11th September, entries to be lodged with the secretary by 4th prox."   (SJA 27.8.1909)

 

   "The nine holes by strokes handicap competitionfor prizes gifted by Mrs A.F. Wilson, Burnbrae, was played off on Saturday afternoon. There were 26 entrants, and the winners were ; 1st Rev. Dr Barclay (Scratch), 46, 2nd D.S. Buchanan Jnr (5) 47,

3rd Alick Johnston (2) 48"   (SJA 17.9.1909).

Length of Course,  2393 yards - Bogey  44

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

Length in yards 405   395   252   168   226    193  276  208   270

Bogey                   6       6       5       4        5       4      5      4       5

Natural sporting course, with excellent turf.  Situated n high ground, surrounded by moor and mountain, it has magnificent views and bracing and exhilarating air.  An ideal summer course. (WWG 1909))

I appears likely that the club went into abeyance diring WW1.

   "Campsie club had Balfron in their first match of the season last Saturday. Thirteen a side took part. The detailed scores were : -

 

                           Campsie                                        Balfron

 

Wm McFarlane                 1                              D Fleming                    0

A.C. Rae                           1                             A. Simpson                   0

D. McFarlane                    1                             D.M. Buchanan             0

A. Murray                         1                             Wm Buchanan               0

A. Jarvie                            1                             W. Graham                    0

J.H. Chappelle                   1                             Wm Walker                   0

J. Neilson                           1                             J.M. Hendry                  0

T.S. Taylor                         0                             M. Malloy                      1

J. Morrison                         0                             R. Mulgrew                   1

P. Murray                           1                             R. Griffin                       0

T.C. Veitch                         0                             R.A. Ferguson               1

J.W. Moyes                        1                             J.N.B. Paul                     0

T. Greig                             0                             J.B. Paul                         1

 

                                          9            Totals                                              4

(SJA 25.6.1922)

      Club dissolved in 1939 and land given up to agriculture.

   A couple of attempts to reform the club in the 1940's were unsuccessful, but in 1991 Balfron Golf Society was formed by a small group of individuals most of whom lived or had been born in the village.

   A constitution was written, trophies rescued from the vault of the local bank and the inaugural outing to Callander Golf Club in Perthshire arranged in the summer of 1991.

Print Print | Sitemap
forgottengreens.com