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Crieff Golf Club, Perthshire.

In May 1890 a group of enthusiastic golfers arranged a meeting to discuss the possibility of forming the first Crieff Golf Club. It was agreed to go ahead and Old Tom Morris was engaged to inspect various local sites. It was decided on land at East Ledowbie Park adjoining Ochtertyre. Sir Patrick Keith Murray was approached and he agreed to make the land available. The course opened in July 1891 with an exhibition match which included Old Tom Morris.

The following report appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News on Monday 13th July 1891. “Crieff golf course was opened on Saturday. The ground rises from Comrie Road to the top of Laggan Hill, the difference being about 250ft. The holes, however, have been so placed that most of the uphill work does not make itself felt. At the first hole there is a hazard – an old pond being just below the putting green. To the second hole the approach is easy past a few trees. The edge of the Laggan Wood comes almost between the player and the third hole, and, unless “strictly on the line” the ball may come to grief. The next is directly downhill. The fifth hole is easy, and so is the sixth. The seventh hole, however, will be the sporting hole, as it is possible to be got at in a single stroke. The next, and home holes, although comparatively clear, require careful play. Nothing like bunkers are in the way all round, but the course requires all the implements. A round of the green is about a mile and a half, and the members of the club who played on Saturday expressed their satisfaction with it.”

Hole measurements; One, 240 yards; Two, 245 yards; Three, 130 yards; Four, 300 yards; Five, 200 yards; Six, 220 yards; Seven, 240 yards; Eight, 240 yards; Nine, 270 yards.        

Image below © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Crieff Golf Club. Layout of the early Tom Morris designed course.

The Old Tom Morris nine-hole layout of the early Crieff golf course.

 

The first competition was played on the Ledowbie course on Saturday 22nd August 1891. Great interest was shown in the competition for three prizes competed for by 12 members, which included one scratch player, Mr R B R Mair. General satisfaction was expressed as to the condition of the course. Result - Mr D T Clement (Club Medal) 116-30-86; George Veitch, 113-24-89; J Taylor, 155-64-91.

 

Crieff Golf Club, Perthshire. Annual meeting April 1892.

From the Dundee Evening Telegraph Friday 1st April 1892. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Golf was short lived at the Ledowbie site, in 1893 the club moved to a new course laid out at Culcrieff.

The competition for the Aitken Medal was played on Saturday 8th July 1893 on the Culcrieff course. Dr Maxstone Thom was first 90-9-81, the runner-up was D T Clement, 106-10-96. The course was in fair condition, the greens being particularly smooth.

Below is the result of a match played on the Lansdowne course at Blairgowrie on Saturday 22nd September 1894.

Blairgowrie Golf Club   Crieff Golf Club  
Rev. F R Macdonald 0 R B Mair  11
John Brown 0 G G Glassford 2
J Strachan 0 N N Rice 8
Major P Chalmers 2 L J Glassford 0
James D Sharp 7 E Rice 0
A M Anderson 0 G Richardson 1
K S McIntyre 0 Dr Gordon Meikle 0
Allan Proctor 0 J G McKay 2
Rev. R Kemp 2 A Aitken 0
Dr McLaren 2 S M Brown 0
George W F Strain 0 George Strathearn, junior 2
George F Howells 4 Watson Scott 0
  17   26

July 1895 – A correspondent of the Strathearn Herald has a grumble; May I call the attention to the state of the Crieff Golf Course? The grass has not been cut yet this season, and from what I gather there have been no sheep on since last autumn. Do the green committee expect members and unsuspecting visitors to toil out a mile from the town to lose their ball at nearly every other stroke? The state of the Crieff Golf Course reminds me very forcibly of a certain English inland course, where the long grass was so much in evidence that the game was played under new rules. Both players drive off from the first tee. The man who found his ball won the match.

The “waterworks extensions” mentioned in the report below probably impacted on the future of the Culcriff course.

 

Crieff Golf Club, Perthshire. Report from the Dundee Evening Post July 1903.

 

Crieff Golf Club, Perthshire. Report from the Dundee Evening Post July 1903.

From the Dundee Evening Post Tuesday 14th July 1903. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

From the 1905 Nisbet’s Golf Yearbook; Instituted 1891; Number of members - 80; Hon. secretary – J A Christie, Barnhawk, Crieff; Captain – D K Murray; Entrance Fee nil and Subs £1/1s; Nine-holes; Professional – S White; Professional Course Record – A Herd, 33; Visitors – 1s a day, 3s a week. The course is of a very sporting nature and forms a capital test of golf. The greens are fairly large and kept in excellent order. The hazards are natural and artificial, and to ensure the return of a good score, pitching must play a prominent part in the game. From the golf course, which is situated on a hill behind the town, the most lovely view of Strathearn and The Grampians are obtainable. An extension of the course is in contemplation, which, if completed, would considerably enhance its value and interest as a golf course. 

It seems that the Dornock Golf Club, Crieff (now defunct,) became more popular and very little golf, if any, was played on the Culcrieff golf course. This was probably due to the enforced changes made to the course in 1903. 

Below is the announcement of the new course at Ferntower in November 1913.

 

Crieff Golf Club, Perthshire. Report on the new course at Ferntower in 1913.

From the Dundee Courier Saturday 29th November 1913. Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Professionals at Crieff Golf Club to 1913; J Donald, 1894/95; Peter Rainford, 1902; S White, 1902 – 1907; W Latto, 1907 – 1913.

The course at Culcrieff was revived in 1972.

The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the former course on Laggan Hill.