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Motherwell Golf Club, North Lanarkshire.

There were two Motherwell clubs and courses prior to, and at the time, of WW1. The firsr was founded in 1894 and continued until 1904. The second club and course first appeared in 1912 and continued until 1918.  

Reported in the Motherwell Times on Saturday 17th November 1894 that a meeting was be held in the Gentlemen’s Cloak Room at the Town Hall on Thursday for parties intending to join the Golf Club. Anyone interested in joining the club was requested to contact the secretary Mr Alex L Wright.

The 9 hole course, situated at Riccarjohnstone on the Braidhurst Estate between Motherwell and Mossend was opened for play on Saturday 15th December 1894. A 9 hole scratch competition took place with a prizes presented by Dr Jack, the president. The winner of the first prize was Mr McGeachan, Clydesdale Bank with a score of 56, the runner-up was Mr Brough, schoolmaster, Craigneuk 62.

The course was a twenty minute walk from Motherewell Station and was described as “somewhat difficult for beginners” There was a membership of about 150 which included 30 ladies.

The formal opening performed by Mr David Colville junior of Jerviston took place on Saturday the 25th May 1895. There was a large turnout of people in reasonable weather to see the president Dr Jack, present Mr Colville with a gold key to the course and a handsome driving cleek which was suitably inscribed. The course was then declared open and Mr Colville hit the opening shot. A number of matches then followed, the Rev M Gillon and Mr Cameron of the Hamilton Club played a match with messrs Leggate and A King of Motherwell. There was also a Captain (Mr Hardie) versus President (Dr Jack) match, the captain’s team won by 8 holes. The afternoon play, in ever improving weather conditions, was enjoyed by all the players. Refreshments were served on the course during play.

In September 1895 the competition for captain Hardies prize took place, the winner was Mr McGeachan with a score of 106. A ladies scratch competition was also held, result;Miss Mary McNeill, 79, Miss M Wilson, 86, Miss K Wilson, 91, Miss E McNeill, 100, Miss A Lang, 102, Miss Lennie, 108.

The AGM was held in the Church Hall, Brandon Street in October 1895. Satisfactory reports were submitted, after which the following officers were elected; Patron, Lord Hamilton of Dalzell; Honorary Presidents, The Hon Gavin Hamilton of Dalziel, David Colville, Jerviston House and Archibald Colville, The Moorings; President, Mr David Hardie;Captain, Mr T Legat; Secretary, Mr William Millar; Treasurer, Mr McGeachan, Clydesdale Bank. It was reported that the course had greatly improved over the year and efforts would be made to carry on with the improvement over the coming year. Subs were increased from 10/6 to 12/6.

In 1900 the secretary was W B Paton, 16 Union Street, Motherwell.

Result of the monthly competition for the captain’s prize played on Saturday 8th September 1900; W T Chambers, 94-12-82; Joseph Graham, 93-7-86; W Grieve, 102-14-88; G Bennett, 103-15-88; Alex Bryden, 99-10-89; J F Ramsay, 102-12-91; A Donaldson, 106-11-95; D T McMillan, 110-11-99. 

The annual competition for the cup presented by Mr David Colville of Jerviston House,was played on Saturday 15th September 1900 and was won by John McLellan, 86-8-78, ruuner-up was Joseph Graham, 88-7-81.

In early 1904 the Hamilton and Motherwell clubs amalgamated and judging by the result below Motherwell were now playing their golf on the Hamilton course.

In February 1904 the monthly competition for the Colville and Dalziel Cups took place at Hamilton, results as follows; Colville Cup – A B Lang, 84-6-78; J T Wallace, 90-10-80; William Shanks, 82 scratch; M T Archibald, 91-9-82; Dr Marshall, 83 scratch; P E Soutter, 83 scratch; George Reid, 87-2-85; B W Wallace, 95-10-85; Dalziel Cup – Allan Shaw, 83-14-69; James Keith, 89-18-71; B Barbour, 99-24-75; F D Sime, 93-12-81; Joseph Graham, 95-12-83; W Hamilton, 106-23-86; J A Macullum, 111-24-87; R P Purdie, 111-24-87; J Johnstone, 106-19-87; W P Gray, 111-23-88. The Castlehill Cup competition was also completed with Mr A B Lang beating Dr Marshall in the final.

 

Motherwell Golf Club, Lanarkshire. Riccarstone course location.

Grid reference for Riccarjohnstone NS75630,59020, co-ordinates 275630,659020.

 

 

In 1912 there is a report on the formation of a second golf club and course for Motherwell.

The information below is taken from the Motherwell Times and charts the progress of the club. Dates of the newspaper are provided with each article.

Friday November 12th 1912 – “Those interested in the formation of the new Motherwell Golf Club are losing no time. They have arranged for a well-known West of Scotland professional to go over the site in Dalzell Policies and give his opinion if it is suited for a golf course, and if so, to suggest how it should be laid out. We understand he is to do this at once. A number of local golfers were over Broomside in the beginning of the week, and all expressed themselves that the site would make an ideal golf course. A public meeting will be called within the next ten days, when all information concerning the course will be given, and at which steps will be taken to form a club and to appoint office-bearers. Later on, of course, one of our leading Scottish professionals will be asked to lay out the golf course. Within the last few years the idea has been steadily growing that Motherwell should have a golf club of its own, as it has been felt that the town could easily support one, and thus save local golfers the trouble of having to go to Hamilton, Wishaw and Bellshill to enjoy a game. The promoters deserve thanks for their enterprise, and we hope there will be large turn-out at the meeting.”

Friday 27th December 1912 – “The new golf course in Dalzell Policieswill be open in early 1913. The course is centrally situated, about a twelve minutes walk from Motherwell Cross. Membership is; Gentlemen, £1/5s per annum; Ladies 12/6. No entry fee will be charged for those joining before 31st March 1913. Applications for membership are invited, and may be made to the Hon. Sec., J R Burns, 18 Clyde Street, Motherwell, or the Hon. Treasurer, Gavin Cowper, Norwood, Catherine Street, Motherwell.

Friday 24th January 1913 – “We understand the Motherwell Golf Club are negotiating with the Caledonian Railway Company with a view to having a platform near the viaduct over the Clyde, and which would be within one minute’s walk of the first tee. This should bring the course within a couple of minutes of Motherwell and Hamilton stations.”

On Friday 14th March 1913 it was announced that the course was now open and that membership cards were ready.

A special meeting of the club was held in the Young Men’s Institute on Monday 2nd June 1913, Bailie Coughtrie, president, was in the chair. Satisfactory reports were produced, constitution and rules were approved. The following office-bearers were elected; Hon. presidemt, Lord Hamilton of Dalzell; Hon. vice-presidents, D Colville, Provost Park, Dr Jack, A C King and William Smith; president, Bailie Coughtrie; vice-president, William Bell; captain, W Ramage; vice captain, J Wallace; secretary, J R Burns; treasurer, Gavin Cowper; committee – A G Marr, W Hunter, Alan Black, J Thorburn, J S Bain, William Neilsen, J Tait, J Downie and J Smith. The atatement submitted by the treasurer showed that ther was a total membership of 522 (313 gentlemen, 183 ladies, 26 juniors). The financial report was produced which showed a bank balance of £77/11s/1d. Bailie Coughtrie offered two monthly medals, one for ladies and one for gents. Mr Ramage announced that he was to give three golf clubs to the three gentlemen who returned who returned the best scores when playing for their handicaps. William Neilsen made the same donation for the ladies.The work on the clubhouse was to go ahead.

Eleven balloted couples representing the captain and vice-captain played a match on Saturday 14th June 1913. The weather was delightful and the summer greens were open for the first time. Result below. (Report 20 June)

There were concerns over the condition of the course by some members, but, to be fair to the committee, this was due mainly to the adverse weather conditions during the early summer. The club seemed to get over these initial difficulties and with the new clubhouse, with all its facilities, nearing completion, the members were looking forward to its opening which was expected to be in July. 

In June 1913 concern was being shown by some members that the grass on the fairways was too long. Several said that they had actually lost balls on the “short stuff” The image below appeared in the Motherwell Times on August 1st 1913.

 

Motherwell Golf Club, Lanarkshire. Looking for balls.

Members on the Motherwell course looking for balls on the overgrown fairways.

 

Motherwell Golf Club, Lanarkshire. The clubhouse 1913.

Above, the Motherwell clubhouse. Motherwell Times 17th October 1913.

 

The actual opening of the clubhouse took place on Saturday 11th October 1913. The opening ceremony was performed by Lord and Lady Hamilton.  Lord Hamilton drove the first ball, with a club presented by Mr Ramage, the captain.

Following the opening an exhibition match was played by two prominent professionals, Mr Walker of the Hamilton Golf Club and Mr Adams of Douglas Park. They were followed by an enthusiastic crowd of spectators. The players scores as follows.

Walker – Out 4,5,5,6,5,6,4,3,5 = 43; In 5,5,5,5,4,4,4,5,4 = 41 total, 84.

Adams – Out 4,5,4,5,6,7,5,3,6 = 45; In 4,4,4,5,5,4,5,5,5 = 41 total, 86.

The first annual meeting was held was held in the Lesser Town Hall on Saturday 14th February 1914, Bailie Coughtrie presided. The financial statement was submitted which stated that there was over 500 members. Income during the year of £845/14s/9d; after meeting the ordinary expenses there was a credit balance of £37/4s. The approximate cost of the new clubhouse was given as £639/19s/9d of which £251/10/3 was paid off. The following office bearers were appointed; Hon. president, Lord Hamilton of Dalzell; hon.vice-presidents, David Colville, Ex-Provost Park, Dr Jack, A C King, William Smith, A M B Graham; president, William Bell; vice-president, William Chambers; captain, J G Wallace; secretary, R T Ballantyne; treasurer, Gavin Cowper.

Result of the September 1914 medal; Robert Wardrop (16) 74; John Sharp (22)74; John Frew (8) 76; J Tait (12) 76; G Wotherspoon (13) 78; J Mollison (12) 79; J W Johnstone (15) 79.

In October 1913 Harry M Spence, Grangemouth, was appointed professional to the Motherwell Golf Club. Harry Spence brought with him much experience having laid out courses in Britain and France. 

The AGM was held at the YM Institute on Monday 25th January 1915. William Bell, the retiring president, in the chair. William Hunter, who had been appointed secreteray “pro tem” during the year, thanked members for their help and co-operation. He gave details of membership, adding that a number of the men were now on military service, and because of this they would lose revenue, but he did not think they would grudge the remission of subscriptions ordinarily payable by theses men. It was his intention, if he continued in office, to compile a “roll of honour.” He hoped that after an honourable peace had been declared, those members would come safely back again, having covered themselves with honour. The greens committee reported that the course had been in fairly good order during the season.Further improvements were looked forward to but expence was a difficulty. The treasurer, Gavin Cowper, submitted the balance sheet, which showed that the club was just about surviving financially. Officers for the coming season; President, Mr Chambers; hon. vice-president, Mr Bell; vice-president, William Miller; captain, D Duthie; vice-captain, Mr Dickson; hon. secretary, W Hunter, hon. treasurer, Gavin Cowper; auditors, W M Marshall and T C Grewer; Mr Smith, Mr Inglis and Mr Bain were elected on to the committee. The chairman presented the following prizes; Dalmiel Challenge Cup, M D Jardine; Club Championsip, Mr Wallace; monthly medal, Geo Wotherspoon.

James Niven (24) 81, won the 1915 January monthly medal, runner-up was Joseph Tait (11) 84.

Result of the 1915 May monthly medal; First Class – I D Duthie (8) 75, A Reith (9) 80, J Tait (11) 80; Second Class – T Graham (20) 72, A McPhail (20) 73. The spring meeting took place on Saturday 8th May 1915, result; Jack Smellie (24) 75, James Gibson (20) 78, W Allan (18) 78. There were 60 entries.

The Motherwell club, which started with such optimism, was now facing the grim reality of warfare. Several of the members had joined the “khaki” and, as with many clubs at this time, it was struggling to survive.

In February 1917 it was announced that there was a proposal to put the Motherwell golf course under the plough. With the serious food shortage it was unlikely that the club members would put their pastime in front of food for the people.

In March 1917 the District Agricultural Committe decided that they intended to use the course for grazing only thus allowing the golf club to continue. Subs were due and it would be a great help to the committee if they were paid to the treasurer at once.

In November 1917 it seemed that there was a reversal in the earlier decision to plough the Haugh. Mr William Miller, hon. secretary, sent the following circular to club members “The District Agricultural Committee have intimated to us that they want the Haugh to be ploughed now, and Mr Fraser has informed us that Lord Hamilton could not resist this. The club committe have therefore decided to hold a special meeting of the club in the Young Men’s Institute, Brandon Street, on the 27th November 1917 to discuss the proposals.”

The following is from the Motherwell Times Friday 30th November 1917. “A special meeting was held in the Young Men’s Institute on Friday evening to consider the proposal of the District Agricultural Committee to have the Haugh ploughed, and to consider what action the club should take in the circumstances. Over 60 members were present, and the president of the club, Mr J B Cramond Logan, was in the chair.

The respective letters from the DAC and Mr George Fraser, factor, Dalziel Estates, were submitted, and after a full discusson the meeting felt that they must submit to the proposal to plough up the Haugh, They therefore resolved not to appeal against the proposal, and to give up the small part of the braes that would be left to them and wind up the club.

General regret was expressed that the club could not be continued, but there was an expectation of a large reduction in membership, while the expenditure would not be reduced proportionately.

Looking to the present heavy indebtedness and the future uncertainty of the course, the feeling of the meeting was that they could not face the prospect of additional debt.  

The clubs indebtedness is considerable, but it was gradually being reduced. It was felt that there would be so little of the course left after losing the Haugh, that witha big reduction in membership, and not proportionate reduction in expenditure, it would be better to wind up the club.”

Many members of the club wondered why it was the best part of their course that was commandeered while hundreds of acres in close proximity could have been used.

It was announced by the Hamilton Golf Club in December 1917 that they would not be averse to admitting members of the Motherwell club without any entry money if not less than twenty came forward.

On Thursday the 28th March 1918 the sale of the brick built clubhouse, implements, furnishings etc, was, ironically, held at the former Motherwell Clubhouse.

The following extract from a letter appeared in the Motherwell Times in April 1919 from a former member who had been serving in the forces during WW1 “I ask the old members of the Motherwell Golf Club to call a meeting and try to get our course opened up again, and we demobalised members shall stand by them and demand that we get playing over the land we fought for – Yours faithfully.”

Unfortunately the Motherwell course never re-opened.

The current Colville Park Golf Club was founded in 1923.