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Earlston Golf Club. Scottish Borders.

Founded in August 1906, the course was designed by Willie Park of Musselburgh on land owned by Lord Binning; it was opened Wednesday 7th November 1906. A nine-hole course situated in an area known locally as “Caldies Hill” on high ground with sandy soil. At the time of its opening it was stated that "there were some rough and stony parts but the course was gradually improving". 

Following are the minutes of a meeting held in August 1906 – A meeting of those favourable to the formation of a Golf Club was held in the Smaller Exchange Hall on Wednesday evening 8th August 1906. There were 20 gentlemen present.

On the motion of Mr Harburton, the Rev Mr N C Keith was called to the chair. Mr Geo L McDonald was appointed clerk. The chairman gave a statement of what had been done and how far negotiations had proceeded with parties concerned.

The fields chosen as a suitable course being Caldies Hill. The chairman intimated that he had attained permission from the landlord, Lord Binning and tenants to use the fields for golf. The Rev A B Taylor moved that a Golf Club be formed and that a committee be appointed to negotiate with a professional golfer to layout the course. Committee; Rev Mr Keith, Mr Harburton, Rev Mr Taylor, Mr R N Smith and Mr Steedman.

 

Earlston Golf Club, Borders. A meeting in 1908.

The Earlston clubhouse and golfers at a "gymkhana" meeting in 1908.

 

In May 1909 Mrs Young, captain of the ladies’ section, provided a handbag as a competition prize. It was won by Miss May Smith with a score of 58. 

James McDonald won the May 1909 monthly medal with a score of 86.

The AGM was held in the "small room" of the Corn Exchange in November 1909 with the Rev A B Taylor in the chair. It was reported that the course had very much improved and the membership was stable. The treasurer submitted the balance sheet which showed an income of £79/6s/9d and an expenditure of £48/1s/7d. The golf house fund income stood at £17/19s/10d. The following officers were elected; Lord Binning, president; Colonel Hope, vice-president; R W Smith, captain; John Weatherston, vice-captain; John Steedman, treasurer; G L McDonald, secretary; Management Committee – J Morris, D Hogg, G Angus, Rev N C Keith and Rev A B Taylor. Ladies’ section; Mrs Young, captain; Miss Ethe Herbertson, vice-captain; Mrs Newton, secretary; Committee – Mrs G L McDonald, Miss Aitkenhead, Miss Hewat, Miss Archibald and Miss Hogg. It was announced that J P McDonald had won the Wallace Cup.  

Following are results from competitions played on the Caldies Hill course on Saturday 31st May 1913; Gents’ competition – A A Burt, 40 nett; J D McDonald, 42; Geo Simpson, 43; Ladies’ – Miss Ruth Wallace, 58-4-54; Miss Jenny Kerr, 62-3-59; Juniors – James Hewitt, 113-18-95; Alexander Blair, 112-14-98; Mixed foursome – W F Aikman & Miss E H Hebertson; Gents’ approaching – Harry Aikmen  and Hardie Readman; Ladies’ approaching – Miss Jenny Kerr. 

In 1914 the secretary was R F Garroch, Temperance Hotel, Earlston. The club had a membership of 64 gent’s and 37 ladies. There was no entry fee. Subs for gents were 10/- and ladies 5/-. Visitors’ fees were 6d a day, 2/- a week and 4/- a month. Sunday play was not allowed. The railway station was 10 minutes away.

Results from the Spring Meeting played in May 1914; G Logan (scratch), 40; J R Borthwick (6), 41; A A Burt (11), 43. Ladies’ stroke competition; Miss Jenny Kerr (3), 54; Mrs Burt (8), 62. Mixed foursome; N C Keith and Miss Aitkenhead (11), 43 after a tie with G Logan and Miss Polls. 

The course was required for the war effort during WW1. Golf was played again between the two World wars but unfortunately, due to lack of funds it could not manage to survive following WW2. The course was subsequently used as a motorcycle scrambling circuit. There were hopes that the golf club and course could be resurrected but unfortunately this never materialised.

On the Monday evening of the 22nd June 1925 the final of the juveniles’ competition was played, Tom Montgomery beat Douglas Wallace by one hole. On the following evening twelve players motored to St Boswells to play a club match only to lose by11½ mathes to ½. Although it was a heavy defeat for Earlston many of the matches were close.

Result of a mixed foursome played on Saturday 12th September 1925; First – Miss M Crozier & Tom Montgomery; Second - Miss A Millar & Willie Anderson; Third - Mrs W M Frater & Frank Mitchell.

The prize presentation night was held in the Corn Exchange Hall on Friday 9th October 1925. Following a successful golfing season, the club captain, Mr T Bolan, presented the prizes to the following; Ladies’ section – Mrs Sharpe, Rose Bowl, Mrs D Broomfield was runner-up; Captain’s Prize – Mrs J Aikman; runner-up, Miss J Turnbull; September medal – Mrs W M Frater; Gent’s section; Wallace Cup – W Messer; runner-up, J Hewitt; Weatherston Shield – W S Donaldson; Captain’s Prize – R Crozier. Also in October 1925 the final of the juniors’ match-play competition was played, Adam Cummings beat Douglas Wallace by 2&1.

The club were organising weekly whist drives during December 1925, they were held at Mr Bolan’s Tea Rooms on Wednesday evenings.  

Result of the Spring competition played in May 1929; A M Keillor (club captain), 74-10-64; Dickson Fleming, 85-20-65; William Messer, 83-14-69.

Result of the June 1929 gent’s monthly medal; D Fleming, 84-20-64; W Messer, 79-14-65; A Anderson, 81-16-65; R Thomson, 93-28-65.

Below is the result of a match played at Earlston against St Boswells Golf Club in June 1929.

Earlston   St Boswells  
Dr Campbell & A M Keillor 1 W Donaldson & A H Scott 0
William Messer & J A Hewitt 1 R Grieve & W L Scott 0
J F Turnbull & J S Brockie 1 C Peebles & A Haig 0
R H Lountain & G Wilkie 0 J Redpath & Rev R Minto 1
A Anderson & D Fleming 0 G Pate & G McKay 1
W S Donaldson & T Murray 0 H Patterson & W Mitchell 1
A W Kerr & William Riddle 1 D Black & R Dickson 0
William Brockie & J Tait 0 A Scott & C C Gibson 1
T Nichol & J Vallance 1 W Quarry & Mr Meiklejohn 0
  5   4

 

On Friday 19th July 1929 the final of the ladies’ competition for the Challenge Rose Bowl presented by Mrs Sharpe, The Park, took place. The winner was Miss Jennie Lunn, Mrs W Donaldson was the runner-up.

Playing in the August 1929 monthly medal Dr L G Campbell set a new course record of 32 – 5,3,3,4,3,4,4,3,3. The previous record was 36. Playing in the same competition the following players qualified for the club championship; D Fleming, W Messer, J S Brockie, J A Hewitt, J Fairley, Dr L G Campbell, R Thomson and T Murray.

The annual meeting was held in the Lesser Exchange Hall in December 1936, Mr D Denham presided. The treasurer submitted his financial report which was adopted. The following office bearers were elected; captain, A R G Romanes; secretary, A R G Romanes; treasurer, Miss M L Milton; match secretary, A R G Romanes; ladies’ captain, Mrs W S Donaldson; vice-captain, Miss N Hunter; competition secretary, Mr J Fairley; ladies’ competition secretary, Miss I Mack; committee of management – The Misses A D Douglas, I Mack, A Aitchison, A Millar, Mrs W Frater, Messrs D Denham, W Dobson, J Fairley, J Wilkie, D Fleming, T Fell. 

Below is the result of a mixed foursome match played at Earlston against Lennel (Coldstream) in June 1937.

Earlston   Lennel  
Miss M L Milton & J Fairley 1 Miss Jackson & J Moffat 0
Mrs W Frater & R M Campbell 0 Mrs Jackson & W Jackson 1
Miss T Mack & D Fleming (half) 0 Miss D Gray & A P Scott (half) 0
Mrs J Aikman & G Wilkie 1 Mrs R L Williamson & R L WIlliamson 0
Miss N Hunter & S Hogg 1 Miss Reid & W Cairns 0
Miss E S Kerr & M Brodie 0 Miss Edgar & J Sinclair 1
Mrs T Bell & A Romanes 0 Miss Hardie & R Ormiston 1
Mrs R Pauling & M Dobson 0 Miss McDougal & J R Proud 1
Miss A Aitchison & R A Thomson  0 Miss Skinner & H T Shaw 1
  3   5

 

Below is the result of a match played at Earlston against Lennel Golf Club, Coldstream (also now defunct) in June 1938.  

Earlston   Lennel  
J Fairley & S Hogg 0 J Moffat & W Jackson 1
G Wilkie & D Denham 1 R Ormiston & A P Scott 0
R A Thomson & G Hunter 0 J E Sinclair & R S Orr 1
R Henderson & T Bell 1 K T Shaw & W Lillico 0
W Brockie & B Mason 1 J A Jamieson & T Nelson 0
R S Thomson & G Mason 0 R Lillico & W Tait 1
T Muchol & B Frater 1 A Stavert & Rev J G L Christie 0
H Fleming & R Keddie 1 R Maigach & A Stavert jun 0
  5   3

 

The monthly medal winner for May 1939 was Miss J Whitelaw. The June competition winner was Miss Margaret Spence. Two stroke competitions were won by Mrs W Frater and Miss Whitelaw. In a gentlemen’s stroke competition R A Thomson and D W Denham tied.  

The final of the Wallace Silver Challenge Cup was played in July 1939 and was won by R Campbell who beat D D Fleming by 4 and 2.

The annual meeting was held in Rhymer’s Mill Canteen on Thursday 21st March 1940, Thomas Bell presided. The whole of the committee of management were re-elected. Office bearers; captain, T Bell; vice-captain, R Henderson; ladies’ captain Miss N Hunter; joint secretaries, R Keddie and J Fairley; treasurer, Miss M L Milton; committee – T Bell, R Henderson, J Fairley, D W Denham, R Keddie, D Hunter; green committee – D W Denham, T Bell and J Fairley. Through the courtesy of Mr Pattison the club decided to carry on for the new season.

A national daily newspaper reported a few years ago that the Earlston Artisans club had purchased land on the moon for the sum of £101, which they intended to use to develop a golf course! Brian Thorburn, Earlston  secretary at the time, said, “We hope it won’t be too long before we have lots of new stars in the club”.

The Google Map below shows the location of the former course.