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Ford Valley Golf Club, Pathhead, Ford, Edinburgh. (1923 - WW2)

I would like to thank Jim Forson for his help and for the following contribution. Jim is currently writing the history of the club for the local community (2014).

“The idea of a golf course at Pathhead was first mooted in the late summer of 1923. The principal mover was Dr. Robert Craig, the local GP along with a few other gentlemen. Ben Sayers of North Berwick was brought in during January 1924 to look at the proposed ground for a 9-hole course. His report was very positive and by February 1924 agreement had been reached with the 2 principal landowners - namely, The Earl of Stair, Oxenfoord Castle and Mr Henry Callander, Prestonhall to lease the ground. In May 1924, Mr Williamson of Newtongrange was appointed green-keeper (one of 24 applicants). The official opening of the course took place on Saturday 14 June 1924 when the Earl of Stair drove a ball from the first tee, Miss Callander of Prestonhall having teed the ball for the Earl. The 9-hole course lay on either side of Ford village and ran under the magnificent five arched Lothian Viaduct designed by Thomas Telford in 1831 (and still in use today). The course lay immediately to the North of Pathhead with the Tyne Water running through the course.

The holes varied between 110yds to 372yds with initially only natural hazards and no bunkers. The clubhouse was a large wooden shed taken from a nearby abandoned oil works it was converted to a very commodious structure being opened on 8th August 1924. In 1926, Mr Charles Robertson, the club secretary and local schoolmaster completed the 18 holes in 66 to win the July medal. In July 1933 a member completed the 9 holes in 31 shots. The course was very popular with visitors especially from Edinburgh and beyond.”


Ford Valley Golf Club, Pathead. The opening shot.

Miss Callander tees the ball up in preparation for the Earl of Stair to hit the opening shot.


Report on the progress of the club in May 1924.


Ford Valley Golf Club, Pathead. Report on the progress of the club in May 1924.

Dalkeith Advertiser Thursday 1 May 1924. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


In 1925 the secretary was the Reverend R Inglis MA, UF Manse, Ford. A 9-hole course. The greenkeeper was W Williamson. Visitors’ fees were 6d a round and 1/- a day. Sunday play was not allowed. There were stations at Dalkeith or Edinburgh.

Below is the result of a foursomes match played at Lauder Golf Club on Thursday 10 May 1928.

Lauder Golf Club   Ford Valley Golf Club  
Logan Broomfield & Thomas H Scott (half) 0 Chas Robb & William Williamson (half) 0
A G Doughty & Alex White 1 W A Clarke & John Philip 0
J W Nevison & J M Graham 1 John Williamson & W T Kelly 0
Geo Geggie & C P Gordon 1 Bert White & Andrew McKinley 0
J M Broomfield & J M Milligan 1 Robert Hanton & Bert Stewart 0
C M Scroggie & A Rutherford 1 Allan C Bain & Neil Craik 0
J M Bell & J H Scroggie 1 Thomas Hanton & Rae Jones  0
J Rutherford jun & Norman Murray 0 Arch Lamont & Adam Anderson 1
  6   1

+Below is the result of a match played at Ford Valley against Gifford Golf Club in May 1932.

Ford Valley Golf Club    Gifford Golf Club  
C Robertson & C P Gordon 0 D Neilson & J Brown 1
W T Kelly & Bert White 1 J Orr & A H Hardie 0
D Sharp & W A Clark 0 Dr Bryce & D Barrie 1
A Anderson & W Scott 1 D Turnbull & W Buick 0
A McKinlay & W Calton 1 J Bell and Rev J Cumming 0
J Sommerville & C Brown 1 J Aitchison & J Nichol 0
  4   2


On Thursday 7th September 1933 the first “Open Amateur Championship for One-Armed Golfers” was played at Barnton Golf Club. Representing the Ford Valley Golf Club was Lieutenant Colonel J W Balfour Paul D.S.O. He also played in the tournament when it was played at St Andrews in June 1937.  

Throughout the 1930s and until the club’s closure after WWII, the secretary was C Robertson, Schoolhouse, Pathhead and the green-keeper was still the long serving W Williamson. The 9-hole course had a SSS of 68. There was a membership of 140 in the 1930s declining to about 90 following WWII. The amateur course record was held by C Robertson (66). Visitors’ fees were as 1925. The SMT bus service from Edinburgh passed the course.


Ford Valley Golf Club, Pathead. The course in 2014.

Picture of the Telford Viaduct at Pathead taken in 2014, the A68 road now runs over the viaduct. The first green was immediately in front of the spot where the picture was taken with the first tee and clubhouse up the slope to the right. Along the line of trees on the left was the fourth hole with the green this side of the viaduct. Holes 5 to 9 were on the other side of the viaduct. Image and text courtesy of Jim Forson.


The Google Map below pinpoints the area once occupied by the course.