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Eyemouth Golf Club, Borders. 

Archie Baird, golf historian, who has been a great help with my research into defunct Scottish clubs and courses, writes – “Golf was played at Eyemouth as far back as 1880. A five-hole course with holes varying from 100 to 160 yards was laid out near the remains of Eyemouth Fort. The holes were saucer shaped, nine inches in diameter, scraped in the earth. The club was made out of an iron hoop from a herring barrel. It was straightened out and the bottom six inches bent to make a club head. The top foot was rounded and wound with some packing for a grip. The ball was made from a cork float from the herring net. The ball had chamfered edges and had a stone embedded in the centre. The golf ground was also used for football, cricket and quoits. W G Grace and his two brothers played two seasons for the Eyemouth Cricket Club”

 

Eyemouth Golf Club, Borders. The earlier golf course.

Above is the layout of the early five-hole Eyemouth course at Fort Point. Sketch by Danny Stott and courtesy of Archie Baird.

 

Eyemouth Golf Club, Borders. Archie Baird.

The above image shows Archie Baird in the 1990s with the early “home made” club and ball that was used at Eyemouth.

 

The Eyemouth Golf Club was established in 1894 and originally played on a nine-hole course to the south side of the harbour. Archie Baird continues – “On the south side of the harbour Eyemouth Golf Club was founded in 1894 but most of the fishermen were still happy to play “Eyemouth Golf” on the Fort or on the beach. This information came mostly from Jimmie Aitchison, who, in 1995, can still remember playing with a “club” and a “ball” made by his grandfather. Danny Stott also played on the “Fort” five-hole course and made the sketch (above) of the links”   

I would also like to thank Jim Martin, former vice-president of the Eyemouth club for his valuable contribution regarding the earlier Eyemouth courses. 

It was reported in May 1894 that Sir Walter G Simpson, Bart., had opened the Eyemouth golf links. The nine-hole course with holes varying in length from 139 to 239 yards was located “along the cliffs south of the town with commanding views of the rocky coastline from St Abb’s Head to near the Holy Island” 

It was announced by the secretary, W McDougall, in December 1894, that an Open Handicap Competition would be played on New Year’s Day. 

The general meeting was held in March 1896. The following officers were appointed; Hon President, Sir Walter G Simpson (re-elected); president, Bailie Robertson; captain, David Fairburn. The Balabraes scratch trophy was won by D Hume, 94. He was also winner of the handicap badge, 94-7-87.

The annual general meeting was held in the Library on the 1st March 1902, Bailie McIvor presided. Owing to an increase in expenditure it was decided to raise the annual subscriptions from 5/- to 7/6. Office bearers for the year; captain, Joseph Wood; secretary, T D Prentice, assistant, James Miller; treasurer, William McDougal, assistant, J Halliburton; Committee – Bailie McIvor, William Scott, G B Sinclair, Leonard D Robertson and A Donaldson.

The first match of the season was played on Thursday 7th March 1902 between sides chosen by the secretary and captain, result below. 

Captain   Secretary  
D Fairburn 7 T Prentice 0
D Hume 5 W Flett 0
Joseph Wood 0 A Miller 4
Jas Miller 0 L Robertson 0
William McDougall 2 J Halliburton 0
J H Kerr 0 D Meek 3
Bailie McIvor 0 A Donaldson 1
  14   8

 

Eyemouth Golf Club, Borders. Eyemouth from the golf course 1900s.

Eyemouth harbour from the golf course in the early 1900s.

 

The following is from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Membership of 60; Hon. Treasurer - W McDougall, Commercial Bank, Eyemouth; Captain - D C Stephen; Entrance fee nil and subs 7s/6d; 9-holes; Bogey about 70-72; Terms for visitors - 1s a day, 2s a week and 5s per month. Pleasantly situated on Gunsgreen braes, on the bracing Berwickshire coast. Hazards are dykes, braes and gullies. 

It was decided in March 1916 that the club would suspend play for the year due to the war. 

In the early 1950s the club had a membership of 45. The secretary was R P Maltman, Lily Bank, Eyemouth, the green-keeper was D Meek. The nine-hole course had a SSS of 70 and a par of 72. Amateur course record A R B Wood, 66. Visitors’ fees were 1/6 a day and 4/6 a week. Sunday play was not allowed at this time. 

Below is the result of a match played at Eyemouth against Duns Golf Club on Thursday evening 5th June 1952. Following the match the visitors were entertained at the Whale Hotel.

Eyemouth   Duns  
A B Lowe & W Messer 0 W Cowe & V Parl 1
G Simpson & D McLaren 1 W Miller & J Kirk 0
W J Lough & C Bell 0 T Greaves & W Anderson 1
J Patterson & J Collin (half) 0 A M Connell & C M Anderson (half) 0
W Collin & W Craig 0 J McTaggart & R L Stevenson  1
J Maltman & R Waddell 1 J Rutherford & D B Johnston 0
D Dougal & W Dean (half) 0 A S Lees & J Thomson (half) 0
G Patterson & C Dougal 1 T Lees & G Bain 0
  3   3

Alterations were made to the course in about 1970 when the deep water harbour was opened. In 1995 a new road was built across the course to the basin. (Jim Martin)  

 

Eyemouth Golf Club, Borders. The 1970s nine-hole course.

The revised 1970 ten-hole course at Eyemouth. Image courtesy of Jim Martin.

 

Below is the scorecard for the Eyemouth ten-hole course. Eight holes were played twice, the sixth and fifteenth once (Jim Martin).

 

Eyemouth Golf Club, Borders. Ten-hole scorecard.

 

Eyemouth Golf Club, Borders. Ten-hole course layout.

 

Eyemouth Golf Club, Borders. Local Rules.

 

The current Eyemouth 18-hole course was laid out in 1997.