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Muchalls Golf Club, Aberdeenshire

The club was founded 1908.

In May 1908 it was reported that it was unanimously agreed to proceed with the laying out of a golf course as recommended, and it was remitted to a sub-committee, consisting of the chairman ex-Lord Provost Mearns, Rev W Brebner, Mr Burnett of Powis, Mr John Craigen, solicitor and Rev A Murray Scott. Archie Simpson was to visit Muchalls to arrange for the laying out of the nine-hole course. The course was located between the Turnpike Road and the railway line, and between the South Station Road and the Burn of Muchalls, will extend over 30 acres and will include East Coverick, Little Doggieduff, Doggieduff, East Dam and West Dam Parks. The ground of old pasture was stated to be “admirably adapted for a nine-hole golf course”. 

 

Muchalls Golf Club, Aberdeenshire. View of the course in the 1900s.

View of the Muchalls course on a 1900s postcard.

 

The following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Aberdeen Journal in August 1908. The opening of a golf course, laid out in the spring by Archie Simpson, the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club’s professional, on the instructions of the governors of Aberdeen Educational Trust, the proprietors of the estate of Muchalls, has added considerably to the popularity of the beautiful Kincardenshire resort. 

The new golf course, formed in connection with the Marine Hotel, Muchalls, was formally opened in fine weather on Saturday 22nd May 1909 by Mr George J Walker of Porthelethen. Those present included; Colonel Douglass Duncan of Woodend, president of the club; Mr & Mrs George J Walker; Mr C E Ritchie, Redcraig; Mr & Mrs Paul and Miss Paul, Stranathrie Cottage; Mr & Mrs Albert Begg; Mr & Mrs Milroy; Mr J P Cumine, advocate; Mr Troup, solicitor; Councillor Kendall Burnett and his wife; George Thomson, Aberdeen; Dr McIntosh; Mr & Mrs James Geddes; Rev Alexander Grant and Mrs Grant.

On the first tee Colonel Duncan called upon the popular Mr Walker to hit the opening shot. Mr Walker explained that he had not struck a golf ball for thirty years and hoped that the crowd would not expect a great performance from him.  Mr Walker, with trepidation, proceeded to the tee. He drove the ball and there was generous applause, combined with laughter. The ball had lodged about the person of Mr Gillespie, who was operating a camera a short way up the hill. After a brief search the hotelkeeper dislodged the small sphere from his sleeve. Mr Walker joined in with the laughter adding that he had “holed out in one”

The members of the club then competed for the first monthly medal. Mr Ritchie, Redcraig, won the gent’s competition with a score of 44; and Mrs Wills the ladies’ with a score of 66.     

The course was located “in the immediate vicinity to the south of the hotel.” The nine-holes extended over 30 acres and had a nice sandy surface combined with good turf. The site was an attractive one, running practically along the sea front, the natural hazards on the course adding considerably to the interest of play. The greens were excellently prepared, in all a good test of golf. The holes were named as follows; Castle, Danny Mearns, the Valley, the Hillock, the Brig, the Mill, the Corner, the Cairn and the Marine. The longest hole was played to the Mill and was 470 yards and the shortest to the Corner was 200 yards, but while the latter could be covered from tee to green with a single stroke, the public road intervened, and with its dykes on each side it was a tough short hole. Mr Peter Gillespie, leaseholder at the hotel, made special arrangements for the catering needs of the golfers. To attract visitors reduced train fares were offered from Aberdeen and Stonehaven, guests at the hotel played free of charge. Mr Gillespie received enthusiastic support from residents in the area. There was a clubhouse set up in the hotel for the then 50 members of the club.

The 9 hole course of 2,430 yards had a Par of 36, there was a club membership of 150. Sunday play was not allowed. There were no catering or bar facilities, but meals were available at the local Marine hotel. The station was 200 yards away.

In 1914 there was no entry fee, subs were 15/-. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 4/- a week and 10/- a month.

Result of a mixed foursome competition played in July 1920; Miss G Cruickshank and G F Anderson, 89; Mrs Cruickshank and E Strachan, 92; Miss Dutton and G W Reid, Miss McLean and R R Allan, 95.

The annual meeting was held in the Douglas Hotel in April 1924, Mr Strachan presided. It was reported that the club had a successful season and that the extensive alterations to the course and would go ahead. The course would be extended by about 500 yards with the addition of new tees and greens. The work was to be carried out under the supervision of George Mitchell, the Stonehaven professional. The following directors were re-elected; William Cheyne, A Holdsworth and Charles Cullen. John Wylie was re-elected as secretary and Mr Mitchell Smith, auditor. 

From 1928 to the club’s closure visitors’ fees were; 1/6d a day, 5/- a week and 12/6d a month.

On Saturday 30th July 1938 David Taylor, who was partnered by Bert Gillespie, holed in one at the 120 yard final hole.

  Secretary Greenkeeper
1914 J T Geddes.  
1923 John H Wylie, Stonehaven. J Chalmers (g)
1928/47 Thomas MacLean, 42 Newtonhill. H S Mitchell (g)

 

  Amateur course records
1923 J Dewar 36
1928/47 J G Allan 35

 

The club disappeared in the late 1950s/early 1960s.

There is some doubt as to whether there was a course to the West of the A90 in the 1920/30s (see 1925 O.S map below) which relocated to the East following road alterations, or whether the 1925 O.S map is inaccurate.

The 1959 O.S map shows that the course was on the other side of the road, near the railway. The description of the course from its opening in 1908 confirms that it started at this location.  

Thanks to Rod Benzie for confirming the location of the course in the 1950s.

If anyone can help with the history of the club please “Contact Us” via the website. 

 

Muchalls Golf Club, Aberdeenshire. Course location in 1925.

Course location in 1925.Grid reference NO89710,91585, co-ordinates 389710,791585.

 

Muchalls Golf Club, Aberdeenshire. Course location in 1959.

Course location in the late 1950s.