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Fochabers Golf Club, Gordon Castle, Elgin, Moray. (1892 - 1950s)

Founded in 1892.

A 9-hole course beautifully situated within the Policies and close to Gordon Castle beside the River Spey, the club had a membership of about 140 at its peak. The station at Fochabers Town only ½ mile away. Local hotels were the Gordon Arms and the Grant arms. Sunday play was not allowed.

The following report appeared in the Inverness Courier in November 1892. “Some time ago the Duke of Richmond was petitioned to give ground for a golf course for Fochabers. With his customary kindness his Grace at once took the matter into consideration, and sent an expert golfer over all the likely ground in the district. The survey report was unfavourable – no good course could be found within reasonable distance of the village. His Grace soon got over the difficulty by kindly granting the town the use of his private course right in front of the castle. Not only has the golf course been granted, but it will be altered and improved free of cost. Mr J Osborne, Gordon Castle, an enthusiastic and successful golfer, has gone over the route and planned the remodelling of a considerable portion of it; and very soon the embryo society will have a splendid opportunity of making themselves proficient in the popular game”  

 

Fochabers Golf Club, Gordon Castle, Elgin, Moray. Result of a match played in March 1894.

From the Aberdeen Press & Journal Tuesday 27th March 1894. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Report on the annual meeting in April 1894.

 

Fochabers Golf Club, Gordon Castle, Elgin, Moray. The annual meeting in April 1894.

From the Aberdeen Press & Journal Friday 6th April 1894. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Monthly medal result from November 1895, played in good weather, but frosty conditions made approach play difficult. There was a tie for first place; A Guild, 77+2-79; C R Webster, 86-7-79. Other scores, A Cruickshank, 85-2-83; W Smith, scratch 86.

In May 1896 the first monthly competition for the ladies' section took place, the prize of a brooch was presented by Mr C Gray, treasurer of the club. It was won by Miss McKenzie, 56 scratch, runner-up, Miss Innes, 70-9-61.

Result of a match played at Buckie Golf Club in May 1896.

Buckie Golf Club   Fochabers Golf Club  
W F Johnston 6 A Guild 0
W J B Macdonald 1 A Cruickshank 0
T J Anderson 8 A Leighton 0
A Morrison 6 C R Webster 0
R Annand 2 P Nicol 0
J Keir 9 J H Bailey 0
Dr. Duguld, jun. 2 W Cuthbert 0
D Gow 0 J Lowe 4
J Macdonald 8 W Christie 0
C Davidson 4 A Mitchell 0
A Stephen 0 W C Ross 6
  46   10

The captain in 1899 was C R Webster and the vice-captain, P Nicol, jun.

Result of the June medal 1899. A tie between Mr Alex Reid, 85 (scratch) and Mr William McLean, 89-3-85, Mr McLean won the play-off. Mr C R Webster was tird with 90 (scratch).

The autumn competition for the Wedderspoon Cup took place on 14th October 1899. Mr John Low was the winner with an aggregate of 170 in the spring and autumn matches. He was the lowest scorer in the autumn competition with a score of 86-6-80. The next best scores were; Dr Ironside 174, Mr Peter Nicol 179. In the ladies monthly medal Miss Storie won with a score of 75-9-66, Mrs Low was second with 69 (scratch).

Miss Jessie McKenzie, Lakeside, Gordon Castle was the winner the ladies silver medal competition played in January 1900 with a score of 68.

Below is the result of a match played at Gordon Castle against an inexperienced Keith Golf Club team in August 1901.

Fochabers Golf Club   Keith Golf Club  
John C Levay 5 W Taylor 0
James McLean 0 D M Lamont 3
W C Levay 5 Harvey Mitchell 0
Charles Morgan 3 George Taylor 0
Dr. Ironside 2 A Auchinlachie 0
John Low 4 John Mitchell 0
C W Cochrane 3 Gordon Rhind 0
H B Levay, jun. 5 A B Stuart 0
George W Manson 6 John Eyval 0
H B Levay, sen. 3 A Thomson 0
  36   3

On New Year’s Day 1913 a mixed foursome took place on the Gordon Castle course with teams chosen by the captain, John F Findlay, and the vice-captain, A E Knibb, result below. 

Captain's Team   Vice-Captain's Team  
John F Findlay & Miss Louise Gray 0 A E Knibb & Miss Maudie Bain 0
W F Cawood & Miss Mackenzie 1 John W Gray & Miss Jeannie Birnie  0
Charles A Webster & Miss Eileen Bruce 0 A R Milroy & Miss Dora Gray 1
William Wishart & Miss Elma Gray 1 William Birnie & Miss Georgina Reid 0
William McLean & Miss Louise Lipp  0 George McLean & Miss Jessie Mackenzie  1
Alexander Mitchell & Miss Phyllis Webster 1 R Mackenzie & Miss Flora Webster  0
Charles Gray & Miss Isa Macdonald 0 H R Levay & Miss Rosie Bain 1
John Webster & Miss A E Knibb 0 Charles Lipp & Miss Jeannie Levay 1
James A Webster & Mrs J F Findlay 0 Sam Lipp & Miss Crissie Levay 1
Peter Kemp & Miss Hetty Webster 0 Duncan Bain & Miss Lizzie Gray 1
  3   6

It was reported in January 1913 that the monthly competitions would be revived in both the gentlemen’s and ladies’ club. On Saturday 4th January the first competition was held, the prize being a silver button or a golf ball. There was a tie for first place between Pipe-Major Mackenzie, 46-9-37 and John W Gray, 38-1-37. The outcome was decided by the toss of a coin, Mr Gray making the lucky call. The runner-up was James Thomson, 38net. 

In 1914 the entry fee was 2/6d and subs for gents were 5/- and ladies 2/6d. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 2/6d a week and 5/- a month.

On Saturday January 24th 1914 a mixed foursome was played. The winners were Miss Louise Gray and John Fraser with a score of 45, the runners-up were Miss Jessie Mackenzie, Lakeside, and Dr Ironside, 46. Following the competition Mrs Knibb, captain of the ladies’ section, received a gift of a manicure set as a parting token as she and her husband were about to leave for China. 

Below, extremely rare postcard showing wounded army personnel and nursing staff dated April 1915. Thanks to Graham Rowley at http://www.oldsportsauction.com/ for the image.

 

Fochabers Golf Club, Gordon Castle, Elgin, Moray. Group on Gordon Castle Golf Links April 1915.

The reverse of the above postcard reads; Group on Gordon Castle Golf Links April 1915.

 

In 1923 visitors’ fees were 1/6d a day, 5/- a week, 7/6d a fortnight and 10/- a month.

Below is the result of a match played against Forres on the Gordon Castle course on Wednesday 20th August 1924. 

Fochabers Golf Club   Forres Golf Club  
J W Gray (half) 0 P F Cameron (half) 0
T C Gray 0 D H Henderson 1
F Tocher 1 H C H McBeath 0
J C Johnston 1 A H Taylor 0
D K Anderson (half) 0 D Campbell (half) 0
W McDonald 1 G Paterson 0
R J Andserson 1 W Sutherland 0
G McRae 1 A Garrow 0
W Geddes 1 J Neilson 0
J Fraser 1 G Philip 0
R Venters 0 J M Cant 1
J Rennie 1 Alex Singer 0
  8   2

The annual meeting was held in the Institute in December 1925, Dr McDiarmid in the chair. The following officers were elected for the season; President, The Duke of Richmond and Gordon; vice-president, Dr McDiarmid; captain, John Fraser; vice-captain, George McRae; secretary, R Anderson; treasurer, G Lipp. Mr J Clark was appointed convenor and Mr Cumming secretary of the Dance Committee. 

Result of the October 1926 monthly medal; James Hood, Ordiquish, 81-16-65; B George, 82-9-73. 

  Secretary Amateur course record
1914 C A Webster, Fochabers.  
1923 Thomas B Work OBE, Union Bank, Fochabers. S Lipp 69
1924 E M McEwan, Union Bank, Fochabers.  
1925/56 R J Anderson, Westmoreland St, Fochabers. J Rennie 67

The annual meeting was held in March 1931, Dr. McDiarmid in the chair. Following officers appointed; President, Duke of Richmond and Gordon; vice-president, Dr. McDiarmid; captain, G McRae; vice-captain, W Lyon; secretary, R J Anderson; treasurer, G Lipp. It was decided to purchase a horse mower for £40. 

Result of a ladies' eclectic competition played in June 1931; Miss A Rob (6,) 39; Miss J McKay (3,) 40; Miss G Symon (7,) 40.

Mr W Lyon, captain, presided at the annual meeting held in April 1935 the following officers were appointed; President, Duke of Richmond and Gordon; vice-president, Dr. McDiarmid; captain, W Lyon; vice-captain, W A Corser; secretary, R J Anderson; treasurer, A A Erskine. William Lyon, Sunnylea, was made a hon. member in consideration of the valuable services he had rendered and the interest he had taken in the club's affairs.  

Results from June 1937; Inauguration Cup – A J Bowie, 149-16-133; S Sime, 171-36-135; Muirhead Cup Final – W Riach beat J N Hood, 1up; mixed foursome – Miss Lillian Mitchell and W A Corser, 41-3-38; Miss I Bowie and A J Bowie, 45-6-39. 

Below is the result of a match played at Gordon Castle against Buckpool in June 1937. 

Fochabers Golf Club   Buckpool Golf Club  
J N Hood 1 S Crozer 0
R J Anderson 0 John Cowie 1
C F Reid 0 D Cruden 1
G McRae (half) 0 R Menzies (half) 0
D Asher 1 D Forbes 0
W A Corser 1 W Thomson 0
A J Bowie (half) 0 W Scorgie (half) 0
A Smith 1 J G Thain 0
A T Clark 1 C Milne 0
G Smith 0 J B Reid 1
J Thomson 1 James Cowie 0
W C Ross 1 J Esson 0
  7   3

Below is the result of a match played at Spey Bay in June 1938.  

Spey Bay Golf Club   Fochabers Golf Club  
J J Palmer 1 W R Riach 0
A Paterson jun 1 W Robertson 0
J Paterson 1 J Hood 0
J W Gray 1 R J Anderson 0
W Horne 1 A J Bowie 0
R J Palmer 1 D Asher 0
J A Penwright 1 W Corser 0
D G McGregor 0 R Low 1
W Bannerman 1 A Smith 0
  8   1

Match played in April 1939 with teams representing the captain and vice-captain.

Captain's Team   Vice-Captain's Team  
Dr. Graham (captain) 0 James Thomson (vice-captain) 0
W Riach 1 J N Hood 0
Mrs Erskine 0 R J Anderson 0
W Corser 0 Miss Webster 0
C Loveland 0 Miss Lipp 1
W Mitchell 1 A Smith 0
S Asher 0 R M Low 1
A King 0 A Duncan 1
G Chalmers 0 William Lyon 0
J Samson 1 A Sinclair 0
  3   3

The exact closure date of the club and course is, as yet, unknown.