Oban Golf Club, at Dunollie/Polamhinisteir/Ganavan. (1890 - WW2)

The Oban Golf club was founded in 1890.

The first short lived course was at Dunollie, Sonstan Bay. It was formally opened on Saturday 26 April 1890 with a match between Captain Stewart and Old Tom Morris, St Andrews.


Oban Golf Club, Dunollie Course. Report on the first course in April 1890..

The Scotsman Tuesday 29 April 1890. Image © Johnston Press plc.


In September 1891 William Black, the novelist, became a member at Oban Golf Club, he was "a keen participant in the game."

Dunollie location of the first course.


Oban Golf Club. The 1900 Ordnance Survey Map shows Dunollie location of the first course.

Ordnance Survey Map © Crown Copyright {year of publication 1900}.


The second  nine-hole course was at Polamhinisteir (Polvinist.) It moved in about 1905/6 to a course at Ganavan Sands where it continued until WW2

Following is the result of the April 1893 monthly medal played on the Polamhinisteir course; William Gardener, 78; Archibald Campbell, 79; Duncan Campbell, 85

Below is an extract from a report that appeared in the Glasgow Herald on Saturday 23rd March 1895. It’s intersting to note that the article mentions an earlier course at Ganavan. No evidence has been found so far regarding this pre-1890 course:-

The Oban Golf Club are endeavouring to secure a new course. The present course at Polamhinisteir, which was laid out two years ago, is a nine-hole course, and although it is convenient of access from the town it has not been a favourite course, especially with visitors. An effort is, therefore, being made to arrange for a new eighteen-hole course on Dunolliebey Farm, near Ganavan Sands, where the club formerly had a nine-hole course.”


Oban Golf Club, Polamhinisteir. Layout of the Oban Golf Club course at Polamhinisteir.

Layout of the Oban Golf Club course at Polamhinisteir.


Oban Golf Club, Argyll and Bute. Ordnance Survey Map showing the first golf course.

Ordnance Survey Map © Crown Copyright {year of publication 1900}.


The April 1896 medal was still being played on the Polamhinisteir course, result; W L Menzies (+1), 87; D Skinner, 95-8-87; John MacColl (+4), 89; T W Mair, 109-20-89; Archibald Campbell (+1), 90; James Gordon, 100-10-90; M B Macneill, 102-12-90; A S Black, 104- 12-92; Alex Shairp, 109-14-95; C A Rankin, 95-2-97.

A professional and amateur tournament was held on the Polamhinisteir course on Wednesday 8 May 1896. The competition was played over 36-holes with many leading professionals from Scotland taking part. £43 was divided into eight prizes, leading scores (professional); Archie Simpson (Aberdeen), 72; W Auchterlonie (St Andrews), 74; Ben Sayers (North Berwick) and Andrew Kirkaldy (St Andrews), 75; William Fernie (Troon), 76; R Mearns (Aberdeen), 82; G Pulford (Hoylake), 83; A Honeyman (Oban), 88. The best amateur scores; W L Menzies, 82; C Rankin, 93; A D Macneil, 103.  

In May 1897 Oban journeyed to Fort William to play an eight a side friendly match. The visitors were victorious winning by 4 matches to two.


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan, Argyll & Bute. Early Postcard of Oban Golf Links.

Early Postcard of Oban Golf Links by Stengel & Co.


The club eventually moved to a super 9-hole links course situated at Ganavan. The railway station was 2 miles away and in the summer months there was a motor car service to the links at Ganavan Sands. Local hotels were the Great Western, Marine and the King’s Arms, which was a 10 minute walk from the course. Sunday play was not allowed.


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan, Argyll & Bute. Scorecard for the nine-hole course.


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan, Argyll & Bute. Scorecard for the nine-hole course.


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan, Argyll & Bute. Front cover of the Oban scorecard.

Scorecard for the nine-hole Oban Course at Ganavan.


The following is taken from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Instituted 1890; Members, 120; secretary, W L Menzies, 73 George Street, Oban; captain, W Ironside; professional record, W Auchtertlonie, 73; amateur record, W L Menzies, 73; green-keeper, A Macdougall; entrance fee, 2s/6d, subs, 10/-; nine-holes; visitors' fees, 1/- a day,  2/6 a week; 5/- a month. The course is about 10 minutes' walk from Oban, and is a good sporting one.The greens have recently been enlarged and greatly improved.

In December 1907 Robert Wilson, who had been professional at Oban for eighteen months, was engaged as professional at Yeovil and East Somerset Golf Club. Wilson had previously worked under Willie Fernie at Troon, and would be laying out the new course at Yeovil.  

In 1914 there was a membership of 200 with entry fees of 2/6d; gents subs were 10/- and ladies 7/6d. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 3/6d a week and 7/6d a month.


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan Sands. The golf course and Maiden Island.


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan, Argyll & Bute. Ganavan Sands and the Golf Course.

Ganavan Sands and the Golf Course, Oban. Authors Collection.


Mention in a newspaper article in the Glasgow Evening Times of 23rd March 1923 which stated that "The Leeds expert Dr Mackenzie is very busy just now. He has begun at Oban planning an extension of the course at Ganavan Sands to 18-holes. The starting point will probably be behind the historic Dunollie Castle, and will thus be quite close to the town. This is a development which will be welcomed by vistors to Oban, which is a most attractive holiday resort." The existing 9 hole course was to be extended to 18 holes but there is no record of this actually happening.

In 1923 membership was 232. Visitors’ fees were now 1/6d a day, 7/6d a week, 12/6d a fortnight and 17/6d a month.

By the mid 1920s membership had fallen to about 160.

Throughout the 1930s to closure in the 1940s, visitors’ fees were 1/6d a day, 6/- a week, 10/- a fortnight and 15/- a month.

  Secretary Professional/greenkeeper
1906/14 W L Menzies, 73 George Street, Oban.  
1906   Allan McDougall (p)
1914   D Macgregor (p&g)
1923 J C Valentine, 19 Stevenson Street, Oban. Duncan Macgregor (g)
1920s   Thomas Allen (p&g)
1930s/40s R S Macvicar, 73 George Street, Oban. J D McCallum (g)


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan, Argyll & Bute. View of the golf course.

The buildings on the above postcard appear to have been added to the picture.


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan, Argyll & Bute. View over the golf course.

A more realistic view of the course at Ganavan on a Valentines postcard.


Oban Golf Club, Ganavan, Argyll & Bute. Location of the former golf course.

Location of the Ganavan course.

Grid reference NM86480,32915 co-ordinates 186480,732915.



Oban, Ganavan Golf Club disappeared following WW2.