Forgotten Greens of Scotland
Forgotten Greens of Scotland

Ardeer's Other Courses

Ardeer Golf Club

Ayrshires 4th oldest club. 1st course laid out on the Stevenston Shore in 1880.

The club moved to a new location at Ardeer in 1905 where they stayed until the sixties, however, the ground was owned by the I.C.I. Company who required the ground back to build a factory, therefore the club had to once again move to a new location. They have been at their present location ( Lochend ) since 1965.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald July 31st 1880


Formation Of Club


We understand a golf club for this district and neighbourhood is in course of formation. It is called “ The Ardeer Golf Club,” and arrangements are so far completed that the opening game will be played on the club’s ground, Stevenston, on Saturday, the 14th August – play to commence at one o’clock. The formation of such a club should fit up a much felt want in our midst, and we are sure it will be a strong one, and will be patronised by the gentlemen in the neighbourhood.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald August 21st, 1880


Ardeer Golf Club


Opening Of Golf Course


It was with feeelings of satisfaction that we witnessed, under most favourable auspices, the opening of a new green, and the revival of the fine old game of golf on Stevenston links on Saturday last. It is difficult for us to say, as it is uncertain at what time the game was introy, when the balls were” teed” and a start made at one o’clock, and to watch thereafter the painstaking care of players throughout a game, in which such a nice calculation of forces is required – such as wind and weather influences, and that on a green that was strange to them. The weather was too hot to be comfortable, still there were on the links a good turnout of ladies aduced into Scotland, whether or not the game was practiced by holy friars, squires from the house of Eglinton, or the retainers of such houses in North Ayrshire, but it is well known that the late Earl of Eglinton was an enthusiastic exponent of the game, and that he played many a keen tie with Sir Alexander Boswell, and others, over the links at Stevenston in bygone days. His Lorship, Hope Johnstone, Alex. Sinclair, a gentleman named Gilmour, Oswald of Auchencruive, Campbell of Craigie, and many of those staying at Eglinton Castle from time to time were regular frequenters of the links. The Browns of Parkend, were also good golfers.

It is not meet, then, that the resuscitation of the game on the fine links at Stevenston should be allowed to pass without being duly chronicled, as it is an event noteworthy in the district . It was pleasing, then, to see such a goodly number of enthusiastic players on the ground on Saturdand other visitors to whom the play proved exceedingly interesting. It is long since the whizzing golf ball has broke through the startled air, or hid itself amid the heathery braes on these links, in the same fashion as it did when driven by the clubs of so many expert handlers of the golf stick or irons as followed it on Saturday last.

The driving and putting were witnessed with much interest by onlookers ; and as the game begins to be better understood by the public, the play will doubtless be watched with eagerness. The opening of these fine old links in such a salubrious spot as the Sandhills of Stevenston should be of benefit to the district in a variety of ways. The likelihood is, as the green improves, many gentlemen from the city will prefer a day on the links at the coast, now so very accessible by railway, to practising in Glasgow ; others may come to stay for a time ; while there will be a call on the boys of Stevenston, who are free to go and act as “ caddies.” Then one encouraging feature of the new start is that the Ardeer Club will find in Mr Robertson, their Captain, an exponent of then game who will do all he can to make it as popular in the district as it was in olden times.

A hearty welcome was given by the local golfers to the visitors from other clubs who had accepted invitations to take part in the opening games, and among those present were the following gentlemen who played “ foursomes” as enumerated :- Messrs H. Smith, Captain, Prestwick St Nicholas ; A. Robertson, Captain, Ardeer Golf Club ; T. McCulloch, St Nicholas, Prestwick ; J. Anderson, Glasgow Golf Club ; A.W. Smith, Glasgow Golf Club ; W. Stewart, Arderr Golf Club ; J. Kirk, Glasgow Golf Club ; A. Cumming, Ardeer Golf Club ; Walter Beeton, St Nicholas, Prestwick ; H. Smith, Glasgow Golf Club ; D. McCulloch, St Nicholas, Prestwick ; J. Grieg, Glasgow Golf Club ; Dr Highet, Secy., Troon Golf Club ; A. Hunter, Ardeer Golf Club ; G. McKirdy, Troon Golf Club ; J. McIsaac, Ardeer Golf Club ; J. Duncan, Glasgow Golf Club ; Rev. J. Grahame, Ardeer Golf Club ; J. Melville, Glasgow Golf Club ; J.M. Brown, Ardeer Golf Club ; D. McEwan, Edinburgh ; Neil Boon, Prestwick.

Baillie Rowan, Glasgow, who had to leave the links early in the afternoon, took the opportunity, when the members made an adjournment to the golf house, to make a few remarks on the refining influences of golf as a game. He knew of no better means for promoting amity and health, and leading out the good dispositions of men, as engaging in such games as golf, Cricket, Bowlinbg, &c. He complimented the members  on the fine ground they had secured , and he felt confident that many players from a distance would be attracted to the links at Ardeer. He wished properity to “ The Ardeer Golf Club.”

Mr Robertson, Ardeer Cottage ( Captain of the club ) replied – thanking Ballie Rowan for the kindly feelings he had expressed in proposing “ Prosperity to the Ardeer Golf Club.” Which was pledged most heartily.

On returning to the green, several rounds were again played, before going to dine.

We followed one of the rounds, or the players who went the round of the links. To give those who may not have seen the game played, some notion of how it runs, or rather how it struck a stranger to the lings, we may recount the play in a “ Foursome” we followed. The players were Kirk and Cumming against Stewart and Smith. The start was made at a point near to “ The Geordie” coalpit. The put out was made towards the second hole, which is near to Auchenharvie No 5. The ground is nearly level between the first and second hole, and does not present the “ hazards” which are known to make the game so interesting. By this we mean it is a flat surface, with few sandholes. A large level common is not the kind of place coveted by golfers ; but rather a field with an uneven surface, that presents obstacles or “ hazards” at many points, to clear which successfully proves the skill and calculating judgement of the player.

From the point, back to the pit nearly opposite the station the play was continued ; and the party ended all square at the third hole. Stewart and Smith we should have said, won the first hole ; Kirk and Cumming won the second – Stewart and Smith the third – when they stood all square. They were all square again at fifth and sixth holes. The long putting was very good. On leaving the sixth hole, Mr Smith got into a sandy “ bunker,” and Mr Stewart, in order to free his neighbour, took his “ iron” or “ niblet” to clear the ball out of the “ bunker,” but not getting properly under it in the first stroke, he unwittingly came on it a second time, and paid the penalty of losing one hole. The seventh hole is near to the burn. Playing out for the 8th hole, after crossing the burn, it was “ halved,” which means that it was reached by the players in the same number of strokes – neither side gaining an advantage, Kirk and Cumming being one up. On reaching the ninth hole, they were all square, and two holes to go. Mr Cumming coming in, played into a “ bunker,” the professional cleared it out cleverly on to the level green ; but here Cumming, in bringing his club on to it missed the ball – and gave the opposite side a further advantage. At the ninth hole, Stewart and Smith were “ dormy” one up and one to play. The round finished –


The Dinner


At the close of the days play, the members and a few friends dined in the Thistle and Rose Hotel, Stevenston, where covers were laid for upwards of thirty.

Mr A. Robertson, Ardeer Cottage, acted as chairman ; Mr McIsaac discharged the duties of croupier. Among the strangers present were observed Messrs A.W. Smith, Glasgow ; James Kirk, Glasgow ; James Melville, Glasgow ; John Duncan, Glasgow ; Peter Wilson, Glasgow ; --- Aitken, Glasgow ; Robt. Aitken, Ardrossan ; W. Hunter, of Chapelhill ; H.B. King, Banker, Kilwinning ; Mr Brown and Mr McCulloch, Kilmarnock ; Mr J.M. Brown, Stevenston ; Mr W. Beaton, Prestwick St Nicholas ; Dr Highet, Troon.

The liqueurs, and everything produced at the feast, were at the most recherché description – and the whole affair was on the most handsome scale possible.

After a sumptuous dinner had been served up in rare good style by Mr Kilpatrick, of the Thistle and Rose. The chairman said he thought that, of all folks in the world, golfers were the truest, if they played the game rightly, and he thought they would ever be foremost in pledging the toast of “ The Queen,” ( Appl.) The croupier gave “ The Prince and Princess Of Wales,” which was heartily pledged.

Mr Hunter, Banker, said that as he was but a young member of the Ardeer Golf Club, it was flattering to him that he should have been asked to propose the next toast, namely, “ The Strangers from other Clubs.” He would not have given this toast at so early a stage in the evening, had it not been that members of the golfing fraternity who had come from a distance to countenance them in playing their opening game on the once famous links of Ardeer, had to leave by an early train. While he regretted this, he asked the company to dedicate a hearty bumper to “ The Strangers,” coupled with the health of Mr Beaton, Ayr. ( Applause )

Mr Beaton expressed regret at having to leave a company – so large and enthusiastic a company – of golfers, more especially as they had met to-day to inaugurate a new green on the West coast of Ayrshire. ( hear, hear, and appl.)

Wisdom comes from the East, they had heard it said. It does not stay there, however, but travels to the West. So this ancient game of golf, practised so long in the East of Scotland, was spreading fast in the West ; and he was glad that he had been privileged to take part in the game at the opening of a new club which he hoped would go on prosperously, until it came to be the equal of all the golf clubs that had been started during the last quarter of a century. ( Applause.)

He ( Mr B. ) said he belonged to a club not second, or third, to any on this West coast – he referred to the St Nicholas, Prestwick. ( Applause.) It began at the beginning of golf in Ayrshire, and their club minutes attested the fact that its membership was not confined to those who were high and holy, but comprised many with horny hands ; and the science of golf that belonged to one of their great golfers, was of the highest order, and it secured for him a degree of excellence to which no other player in this country had ever attained. As a club, they had the honour, even now, to be in the van. He rejoiced with the members of the Ardeer club in the fact that they had got a good golf ground in this part of the country. With such fine grounds at their command, and lying waste, he thought the gentlemen in the neighbourhood had done a great service to themselves, and to the community at large in opening up this fine ground at which people from a distance might come and have much enjoyment.

He wished them all success and prosperity ; and he felt certain that no club in the country would be envious of the success of the Ardeer Golf Club. ( Applause ) They should rather rejoice to hear that they increased in numbers daily – ( applause ) – and that they would be able in their day to play a good game at golf, making a fine “ put,” and ending at last in “ the hole,” ( Laughter and Applause.)

Captain M. Smith thought that few clubs had started with such fair prospects of success as the Ardeer Club. They had links superior to almost any he could point to ; and very little expense would make them second to none in the West of Scotland, or even in the East ( Applause.)

The gentlemen in the district had themselves turned out in such numbers as should entitle them to succeed. He had never been present at such an enthusiastic meeting of golfers, or one at which all seemed so bent on enjoying themselves ; and the manner in which the strangers had been treated, both in the club-house and here – where they had been literally swimming in champagne – showed them to be second to none. Besides, their prospects as a club were certainly very encouraging.

He proposed “ Success and prosperity to the Ardeer Golf Club,” and expressed a hope that they might have many keen contests on their links. He could wish to meet such gentlemen often in friendly contest. ( Applause.)

The toast was heartily responded to.

Dr Highet, Troon, spoke in highly enlogistic terms of the game of golf, a game he should like to play until his dying day. The implements of the green were capital ; the putting greens were very nice, only they required to be played upon ; and he would be disappointed if the Stevenston club did not soon place itself on an equality with the Prestwick club, or even the one he was the secretary of at Troon. ( Laughter )

He hoped that soon they might come to know and respect each other better. ( Applause ) Mr Brown thanked Dr Highet for his presence on the green that day.

The chairman said to one gentleman present they were much indebted for the fine display of golf he had treated them to . That gentlemen was Mr Smith, the best golfer in Scotland. ( Applause ) He had seldom seen golf played better than by him to-day. It had been like sweet music to him to see A.W.Smith in his game. He had also to thank the strangers present for the hearty way in which they had come to countenance the opening game at Ardeer. They were much indebted to them, indeed. ( Applause ).

 Expressed the gratitude of every member of the Ardeer club, when he said they were glad to see so many strangers on their links at the opening game. As golfers and as gentlemen they had endeavoured to do all they could for them, and they had enjoyed together a very good game on the links.

It was wonderful what they might be able to do at another time, but his object on the present occasion had been to engage all their own members, and to bring them in contact with members from a distance who were better exponents of the game. ( Hear, Hear )

The result of the days play had been that no one party had gained much advantage – as the result of the various matches had been pretty level. While returning these gentlemen the thanks of the Ardeer club, he could assure them that, when any of them wished to come down here, to have a little change from their own green, that the members of Ardeer club would be delighted to meet with them – ( Appl.) – or they would be glad to go as a deputation to Troon, Prestwick, or St Enoch’s or any other club. ( Applause.) The members of the Ardeer had met that night and done what they could to give all a hearty welcome. ( Applause.) He hoped they might yet become more intimate as golfers. ( Applause.)

Mr Smith returned thanks on his own behalf, and on behalf of the other Glasgow gentlemen connected with Glasgow golf clubs. He was sure if they had all enjoyed themselves as well as he had they would have one cause to complain. He had played over nearly all the greens in Scotland within the last few years, but never had he gone to a new green in such excellent condition. On new greens, where there was a want of grass and so on it was difficult to play ; and one could not make a good score. It was not so on this green, to play on which had afforded others besides himself great pleasure. ( Applause.)

He thought some Saturday he would make a big team of 20 or 30. Many Glasgow folks would come down. Then they would be able to show young players what sort of practice would bring them into good form. By playing together in clubs they got a knowledge of the game ; but it is when they came to engage in a contest with strangers that they generally failed for a want of nerve.

They might be good enough players when amongst the members of their own club, but it was when a good player was pitted against another of the same class that he was apt to lose nerve. An agreeable meeting such as the present was calculated to bring members of the club out well. Their green, he ventured to say, would yet be one of the best greens in the West of Scotland – for this among other reasons, that they had no pontage on this green. ( Applause.)

He was glad to observe a number of the fair sex present during the progress of the game. ( Applause.) Mr Stewart wished to add to the toasts proposed, that of the “ several golfing clubs round about them.”

Being an East countryman himself he wondered who would propose the toast of the golfing clubs. It was a game he had seen played often in his youth, and he was sure after what the Captain had seen of him that day on the green, he would give him credit, since he had taken the club into his hand, for being an industrious pupil, though he might be a very bad scholar. ( Hear, Hear.) He asked the company to join with him in drinking a bumper to the golfing club in Scotland, along with those of St Andrews, Musselburgh, and North Berwick – ( Applause.) coupled with Mr Kirk’s name.

Mr Kirk admitted that he was no speech maker. He could play golf better than make a speech. He contrasted the green at Ardeer with several others he had played on, and pointed out its superiority to some, while it was equal to that of St Andrews – if only it had been played upon as often. It should form an attraction to gentlemen players from Glasgow who, he thought, would prefer coming to Stevenston to playing in Glasgow on a Saturday afternoon. They would enjoy it fifty per cent better. There was something about the air and green of Stevenston which was very exhilarating. He thought the promoters had made a good move in starting this club. Every opportunity he had he should come down and play at Stevenston, so he proposed “ Success to the Ardeer Club.” – which was given with highland honours.  

Mr James Brown, Kilmarnock, said he was an old golfer, though he was young like. It was twenty five years since he had started with the golf stick in his hand ; and he could say they had good links here, and he thought the club should prosper, if it got the encouragement it deserved.

The chairman thanked the company for the hearty way in which they had proposed his health, remarking that he had not been well backed up by the gentlemen around him in carrying out his project, else he never could have got on. While returning thanks for the honour they had done himself, he wished them to acknowledge the unwearied services of their friend Mr McIsaac, who had devoted much time, and been at trouble in various ways to promote the interests of the club. He was quite willing to do so yet. It would be ungraceful in them not to acknowledge his health, and to wish that he might long preside as secretary of the club. ( Applause.) He hoped the club would prove to be a great success. ( Applause.)

The croupier expressed his obligations for the honour that had been done him in drinking his health. It was an honour he never in this world expected. He referred to the time when the chairman came amongst them a perfect stranger. His love for golf led him often to other grounds ; but as their intimacy with each other increased, they were wont to admire the Stevenston Links and say “ Fine grounds there,” “ Right you are my boy,” would be the Captain’s appreciative reply, “ as fine links as in all Scotland.”

So we went ahead, determined the moment we could get thirty members to begin playing. The club was in its infancy yet ; but through the exertions of their worthy Captain, and active members, they would soon come to be regarded as the first club in Ayrshire. He had been North lately, and saw nothing there, that could at all compare with the Stevenston Links – Dr Highet – and your love is but a lassie yet – and by the time she had come of age she would give a good account of herself.

Mr Stewart in fitting terms proposed “ The Ladies,” Mr Brown made a suitable reply. The Captain, he knew, was bent on providing links suitable for the ladies ; and when this had been provided they would have accommodation for golfers in every way equal to Prestwick. ( Applause.)

Songs were sung at intervals by several of the gentlemen present – a gentleman giving “ who deeply drinks of wine,” in a style of excellence that is seldom heard at the social board.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald  September 18th 1903


Ardeer Golf Club are taking steps to procure ground north and south of the private railway to Ardeer Factory for the formation of an 18 - hole course.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald  October 9th 1903


Ardeer Golf Club has decided to to proceed with the laying out of a new 18 hole golf course on the land to the north and south of the private railway belonging to Ardeer factory. W Auchterlonie, St Andrew's favourably reported on the conditions of the ground. The Ardeer Club was formed in 1880 by the late Archibald Robertson and others.

Ardrossan And Saltcoats Herald   September 23rd 1904


The new golf course at Ardeer was informally opened on Saturday with play in the Autumn competition. William Reid with the best scratch score 81 won the club's gold medal. other scores included Thomas Harvey (6) 89, second prize; the Rev J Adams (8) 93. The Robertson Medal was won by Barclay Hogarth (a junior member) with (10), 92.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald September 23rd 1904


Ardeer Golf Club


Annual General Meeting


The annual general meeting of the members of Ardeer Golf Club was held in the new club-house on Saturday last. The new course, too, was informally opened on the same day. Play for the autumn competition being participated in by a fairly large turnout of members. The club-house, which has already been described in these columns looked well on the outside under the bright sunshine, while internally, it could not be more satisfactory. The rooms are splendid and well lit, and are decorated tastefully in a light and cheerful scheme.

Both the architect, Mr Hugh Thomson, and the decorator, Mr John Gillfillan, are to be congratulated on their achievement. At each side of the club – the ladies and the gentlemen’s – the principal club-room has a large bay window that looks out upon the course. The view is really charming, and, though it includes no seascape, the stretch of undulating turf with a background of vivid pink tinted sandhills is sufficiently pleasing to the eye. The fitments of the house are really all that could be desired.

The general meeting took place after play for the medals and club prizes was over. In the absence of the Captain, Mr Laidlaw, Mr W. Allan, was asked to take the chair.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald April 14th 1905


The official opening of the new golf course and clubhouse at Ardeer took place on Saturday. A stroke competition by representative members of West of Scotland clubs resulted in a win for Robert Andrew, St Cuthbert, with a score of 73, Among the other leading totals were:- TW Robb, Glasgow, 75; John Black, Troon and William Reid, Ardeer, 81, Mr D Laidlaw presided over the gathering at the clubhouse, and Mrs Allan, wife of the vice-captain, performed the opening ceremony.

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