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Abington Golf Club,  Lanarkshire.

The club Instituted on the 29th April 1892.

The 9-hole course was laid out by Willie Fernie of Troon, holes varied in length from 140 yards to 320 yards. It was situated on the Douglas Estate at the foot of Arbory Hill on the old Roman encampments. After visiting the course Willie Fernie commented “That the turf is the best for an inland course he had visited” Hazards consisted of knolls, hollows, ditches, springs, rushes, wire fences, dykes, roads etc. The golf course was yet another attraction to this already popular holday area. The village possessed the hotel which few could equal and none could surpass for beauty and comfort. Club membership at this time stood at 38.

The following officers of the club were elected; Honorary President, Sir Edward A Colebrooke, Bart; President, John W Paterson JP; Captain Rev Edmund Thomson; Secretary & Treasurer, Mr Thomas Smail, Commercial Bank.

Committee as follows; Rev H L Dick, John Hunter, David Oswald, James Paterson, Mr Hozier MP, Walter Fletcher, Nicol Fletcher, Robert Colthart, Allan Colthart, Herman Seigmans, William Brown, Edward Kerr, John S McKerrow and William Borland. The course was to be formally opened on the 28th May.

Below is the early card of the course.

Hole Yards
1 200
2 320
3 230
4 180
5 220
6 140
7 170
8 220
9 200
Total 1880

 

Abington Golf Club, Lanarkshire. Layoout of the Abington course.

Plan of the Abington Golf Club course.

 

The opening of the course went ahead on the planned date. The course was formally opened by John W Patterson, the captain Rev Edmund Thomson, was then called upon to strike the first ball. Before playing, the captain said he trusted he was not like a clerical brother of of whom he had read, and who had remarked to his caddie “How is it that I, knowing all the sciences, the dead and living languages, cannot play the game of golf?” The caddie replied “Weel, ye maybe ken a’ aboot they sma’ matters, but it tak’s a chap wae a head tae play gouf” After the fist ball was struck a match was played between the married and single members. Representing the married team; Mr John W Patterson, Rev Edmund Thomson, John Hunter, David Oswald and Robert Colthart. The singles; Allan Colthart, Nerman Seigmans, Walter Fletcher, Thomas Smail, William Brown. There was also a foursome played by messrs; James Paterson, Edward Kerr, John S McKerrow and William Borland. Following play the president entertained the club to a sumptuous dinner, which was fully appreciated by all who attended.

The rev H L Dick was a well known golfer in the area and held course records at; Abington 76, Biggar 40, Roberton 32, and Crawford 76.

The club played a match against Lowthers in May 1893. There were eight on each side in the 18 hole game which the home team won 40 holes to 2. The course had been open for a year and had made good progress, the greens were particularly good and the drainage had improved.

Also in May the AGM was held, the finances were reported to be in good shape with a satisfactory balance in favour of the club. The officers of the club remained the same. Since Willie Fernie had laid out the course Ben Sayers, of North Berwick had visited and he was very impressed, in his opinion “He had never seen, for an inland course, such a place so well adapted, so pleasantly situated ad in every way so suited for the purpose”

In September a handicap competition, open to both members and visitors was played, the weather was brilliant, as were the uniforms of various colours sported by the golfers. Following are the prize winners; Mr David L Phease, Edinburgh, 83 – 7 – 76; Mr Alex Proudfoot, Perth, 88 – 10 – 78; Mr Arch Alexander, 92 – 9 – 83.

Later in September in much different weather conditions, it was raining and very breezy, there was a good turnout for the second prize competition. As can be seen from the results in the first two competitions the club was attracting players from outside the area. Following are the winners and their prizes; Rev H L Dick, golf bag, 75 scratch; Mr D L Phease, Edinburgh, cleek, 94 – 11 – 83; John R Murray, Edinburgh, golf balls, 101 – 15 – 86.

Among thevisitors to the course in the last couple of months were; Lord Lamington, Archdeacon Perowne, Mr Mitchell of Corwood and Mr Sayers of North Berwick.

The result of the May medal in 1894, D A McArthur won the play off against Arch Alexander.

The AGM was held in June 1894 and the following were elected; Honorary president, E A Colebrooke; Presidents, J W Paterson and Rev H L Dick, Secretary and treasurer Thomas Smail; Committee, Rev E Thomson, John Hunter, David Oswald and James Paterson.

Result of the June medal; Alex Proudfoot 85 – 8 – 77; July medal, J W Paterson; August medal, William Brown, 101 – 30 – 71; September medal, winner Duncan A McArthur, second William Brown, third, T Thomson Jones.

In 1896 the Fletchers of Coldchapel who had kindly granted the ground for the golf club were leaving the area. To show their appreciation the club members decided to make a presentation of two gold albert chains (an albert was a watch chain, usually for a waistcoat) and present them on the night of the AGM. Mr Nicol Fletcher and Mr Walter Fletcher gratefully accepted the beautiful and handsome gifts. Mr John W Paterson, president, wished them every success in life. At the AGM Rev H L Dick, The Manse, Wiston, was elected captain, the secretary and treasurer was Thomas Smail. The club also had a greenkeeper, James McMorran. Subs were 5/- the club membership was 40. The Rev H L Dick held the course record of 72.

The club continued to prosper until WW1. As with many clubs at this time golf was put in abeyance. It began again in 1922 and it was hoped that play would be possible for the spring and summer months. During the 1920s the secretary was W E Kerr. The station at Abington adjoined the course.

Following a dispute with the farmer, he accused a golfer of killing one of his sheep, the course went into a steady decline and had closed by the mid 1930s.

Abington Golf Club, Lanarkshire. Sir Edward Colebrooke Abington Golf Club.

Hon President, Sir Edward Colebrooke.

 

Abington Golf Club, Lanarkshire. John W Paterson Abington Golf Club.

The President of the club (1895 - 1915) John W Paterson JP was an active Magistrate and a regular attendant on the bench he was a very popular and good humoured man. He was also an agriculturist and his estate at Hapthorpe was one of the most successful and best managed in the district.

 

Years.

Hon President.

President.

Secretary & Treasurer.

Captain.

Subs.

1895/6

Sir E A Colebrooke, Bart.

John W Paterson, JP.

Thomas Smail.

Rev H L Dick.

5/-

1897

Sir E A Colebrooke, Bart.

John W Paterson, JP.

 

D Oswald.

5/-

1898-1900

Sir E A Colebrooke, Bart.

John W Paterson, JP.

William Maxwell.

D Oswald.

5/-

1901-03

Sir E A Colebrooke, Bart.

John W Paterson, JP.

Alexander Sandison.

D Oswald.

5/-

1904/5

Sir E A Colebrooke, Bart.

John W Paterson, JP.

John Reid.

D Oswald.

5/-

1906

Sir E A Colebrooke, Bart.

John W Paterson, JP.

William Kerr.

D Oswald.

5/-

1907/8

Lord Colebrooke.

John W Paterson, JP.

William Kerr.

D Oswald.

5/-

1909-15

Lord Colebrooke.

John W Paterson, JP.

William Kerr.

Aaron H Colthart.

5/-

1916-21

Lord Colebrooke.

Alexander Campbell.

William Kerr.

W A Ferguson.

5/-

1922-24

Lord Colebrooke.

Alexander Campbell.

William Kerr.

 

10/-

1925

Lord Colebrooke.

Alexander Campbell.

William Kerr.

 

5/-

In 2000 brothers Harry and Alfie Ward attempted to re-open the 9-hole course, at this time known as Arbory Brae. They intended to relive the old days by using hickory clubs and wearing clothes of the period, theses old clubs were available for hire. There was no modern machinery on the course, mowers, rollers and a flock of sheep were to be used for course maintainence. It was hoped to attract visitors from all over the world to play the themed golf, Hazel Irvine had already done a piece for BBC2 and it was hoped many celebrities would be attracted by this new initiative. Unfortunately just around the corner was the crippling Foot and Mouth crisis, which devastated many businesses, and there was no escape from this for the Ward brothers and the Arbory Brae golf course. They had received bookings for this first full season from as far afield as America and Australia, they had to be cancelled, it was just the start they didn’t want. There was no financial support or compensation for the losses. The course itself was looking good and they were able to maintain it using the relevant precautions. Ben Crenshaw was an honorary member at Abington and it was intention to visit the course in the near future. The problem was nobody knew when visitors would be allowed onto the farmland course there was no end in sight as the Foot and Mouth restrictions continued.

There was no revival and Abington became one of the few courses that actually closed twice.

Abington Golf Club, Lanarkshire. The course adjoined the station.

The Abington course adjoined the station. Grid reference, NS93815 23715, co-ordinates 293815 623715.