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Buckie Golf Club, Moray.

The formation of the club took place in October 1883.

It continued as Buckie Golf Club until the 1940s when it became Strathlene Buckie Golf Club, this later club and course is situated on the north side of the Great Eastern Road. The original Buckie club and course was further south towards Portessie.

The annual competition for the scratch silver medal was played over the Loanhead Links on Wednesday 29th August 1888, result; Robert Annand, 86; J Cook, 89; J Simpson, 92; J Wood, 93; F Johnston, 95; W Fowler, 102; J McDonald, 106; D Marshall, 107; J Green, 109; W Smith, 118; J L McNaughton, 115. 

The following is from The Golfing Annual 1888/89:-

“Buckie Golf Club – Instituted 1883; Entrance Fee £1; Subscription five shillings; Membership of 65; Captain – John Webster; Vice-Captain – W F Johnston; Secretary – John L McNaughton, Solicitor, Buckie; Commmittee – J W Macgregor, John Simpson, William McHardy, Robert Annand, J R Mortimer, John Cook, John Macdonald, A J Marshall. Home Green, Strathleve Links at Portessie.

Club prizes – Club’s Silver Medal (scratch), played for in August; Gray Medal, January and July; Shearer Cup (handicap), April and October; Gordon Cup (handicap), August. Prize winners in 1888; Robert Annand, Club Medal, 86; John Cook, Shearer Cup, 88-4-84; W F Johnston, Gordon Cup, 82; John Simpson, Gray Medal, 82-2-80; F W Johnston, Gray Medal, 84. The lowest scratch score recorded in competition is 82 made by F W Johnston, October 24th 1888.

The links are situated close to Portessie station. The links consist of nine-holes making a round of something like one and a half miles. Their principal feature is the great variety of hazards – not so much from sand bunkers as from the physical peculiarities of the ground. The first tee shot, about twenty yards from the clubhouse, is played from an eminence of 60 feet above the level of the first hole, and between it and the hole there is a deep and most hazardous gully. Woe betide the luckless player who “tops” his ball here. It may cost him ten strokeswhen the hole should be taken in three or four. The second hole is commonplace, but at the third a hill must be surmounted, doing which requires a long shot well lofted, or otherwise the player is certain to come to grief. Almost every other hole has its own peculiar difficulties. In short, the links are capitally suited for good golfing, and for bringing into play every kind of shot known to the votaries of the game. The Club House is a spacious and tasteful building, lately erected from plans by Messrs. Bruce and Sutherland, Elgin. It has separate box accommodation for 60 members.” 

In July 1890 Buckie played a match at Cullen, the Buckie team winning by one hole. Dr J C G Duffus of Cullen and Mr Clark, Eden House, Banff, on behalf of Buckie, had still to play their match to decide who would take the county medal. The match took place at Cullen on the 22nd of July. The game was closely contested, and the play was said to be brilliant, the first round finished even and the second round was won by Mr P Clark by one stroke. The scores are as follows; Mr Clark, 49+49, 98; Dr Duffus, 49+50, 99.

The election of officers for the club took place in October 1890. President, Mr J P Gordon of Carnfield; vice-president, Mr James Wilson, Inchgower; captain, Mr W F Johnston; secretary and treasurer, Mr John L McNaughton; members of the council, John Simpson, John Webster, W McHardy, John Macdonald and R Y Mackay.

In December 1890 a competition was held when a new 18 HOLE course was inaugurated (this must be two 9 hole rounds) A silver medal was presented to the winner. Scores; W R Johnston (2off) 81; Robert Annand (6off) 83; Robert Duguid jnr (12off) 84; John Simpson (scratch) and John L McNaughton (12off) tied on 91. There were 10 entrants.

Result of competition for the Secretary's prize held in October 1899; J G Macpherson, 83 - 7 - 76; J Macdonald, 96 - 12 - 84; W Johnson, 99 - 12 - 87.

In 1900 the secretary was W MacDonald, Viewforth, Buckie. Amateur course record W F Johnstone 76.

Below is the result of a match played at Banff in June 1900.

Banff   Buckie  
C A Simpson 0 W F Johnston 5
Rev A Bisset 0 W Macdonald 5
R G Sheriffs 2 J Yuill 0
R W Williamson 0 J G Macpherson 5
A Walker 4 R Johnston 0
W Marshall 0 J Kerr 5
W Ledingham 0 W Johnston 2
Sargeant Major Cooper 0 G Donald 2
  6   24

The following is taken from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Secretary - W Macdonald, Viewforth, Buckie; Captain - A Muir; Amateur course record W MacDonald 71; Nine-holes; Entrance fee 7/6 and subs 5/-; Membership of 60 (70 in 1906). Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 2/6 a week and 5/- a month; Station at Portessie one minute from the course. This is a pleasant course with natural greens. A considerable additional area of whins was cleared away last year. The course is exceedingly convenient of access. 

In 1907/8 the secretary was John Grant, Caledonian Bank, Buckie. Membership was now 100, Sunday play was not allowed.

From 1911 to 1913 the secretary was T M Jack, 34 East Church Street. Membership was 90 and visitors’ fees had reduced to 6d aday and 2/6 a year. No Sunday play.

In the early 1930s the secretary was J Jappy, Cluny House, Buckie. Membership of 130. Amateur course record R Johnston, 69. Visitors' 1/- a round, 1/6d a day, 5/- a month.  

In 1947 it was still listed as Buckie GC, the secretary was J Jappy, Cluny House, Buckie. A nine hole course, membership was 130. The amateur course record was held by R Johnston 69. Visitors’ fees 1/- a round. The station at Portessie was 100 yards away.

The following hole by hole description for the Buckie course was taken from a press report in 1896 and is typical of the reporting of the time “The Strathome is the first hole – being situated top of the brae close by. The first drive frequently proves a disastrous one for strangers – such disasters are not restricted to strangers – owing to the nature of the ground, but a moderately straight shot, with a slight inclination seawards, lands one in good ground a little beyond the foot of the hill and clear of all obstructions, thence a couple fair intermediate shots will bring the player to the neighbourhood of the green. This hole is sometimes done in four, but five is good and six more frequent. Distance 378 yards.

Straight up the hill, at right angles to the teeing ground , with a good drive well in the air will bring the golfer within a half lofting shot of the green of the second – the “Cup” hole. Owing to the sloping configurations of the green it is well to use caution in approaching here – be rather short than full up. The average for this hole varies from 4 to 7 strokes, according, to a certain extent to luck. Distance 196 yards.

A fair drive from the top of the adjoining hill over the gully gives one a good lie for the short approach necessary for the “Pole” hole, which is an easy 4, and an occasional 3. Distance 166 yards.

There are several ways of playing the next- the “Roadside” hole. A long straight drive will carry one to or near the green, but most of the drives fall short of this, and “bad lies” are frequent, so much so that some players prefer a short drive and longer approach as being the most economical . The hole is a 3,4 or 5 for good play, according to circumstances. Distance 164 yards.

The fifth hole – the “Bridge” – is a fine golfing hole, and after a long drive a full brassie or cleak shot will take one within a short approach of the hole, which may be got with luck in 4, but more frequently in 5 or 6. The direct distance on the plan for this hole is 292 yards, but the judicious line of play takes a curve, to which the straight line is as the string to the bow, which adds fully 50 yards.

The sixth hole – “Vanity Fair” – is a sporting hole. From the top of the hill there is a sheer fall of 50 feet, and a fine ball can be driven from this teeing ground.  Assuming a good drive – Portessie House for line – the second shot may reach the green, but it will have to pass over a ditch of running water, upon which a penalty of one stroke is imposed. This hole is sometimes done in 4, but 5, 6 and 7 are the usual figures. Distance 320 yards.

The seventh hole – the “Brae” – as its name indicates, takes some pith to get the ball on the green. The play is straight up the hill, and the third shot ought to find the green, providing the “running dithes” at the bottom of the hill are successfully crossed, and the ball has got into no “cups” in the face of the hill. The ditches here add considerably to the stiffness of the hole, and the ball which goes intothem is difficult to find. From the face of the hill the green is easiest found by a high dropping approach – a half or three quarters shot, according to distance. The hole is got in 4 on rare occasions, 5 is good and 6 is not considered lost on it. Distance 326 yards.

The eighth hole – the “Cabin” – will permi a full drive if straight, but a heeled shot lands the gutta in the whins, whilst a drawn shot falls on the railway track. A medium shot from the tee pays best, as the course narrows somewhat at the end of a full drive. The hole is plain sailing if the course is kept, and is a common 4. Distance 198 yards.

The last hole – the “Home” – requires 4 generally to get home, provided the drive over a very dangerous piece of country is successfull. Distance 172 yards.

It goes on to explain how the course is improving and the how club was hoping to attract more golfing visitors to play the Strathhlene course in the future.

Buckie Golf Club, Moray. Course layout in 1896.

The course layout in 1896.

 

Buckie Golf Club, Moray. Location of the original course.

Location of the original Buckie course (the current club is to the north)

Grid reference NJ44920 66870, co-ordinates 344920 866870.