MELROSE GOLF CLUB has a history spanning over 130 years. The club was instituted on 3rd April 1880. No written record of that meeting has been handed down as the first ever Minute Book of the club covering the period 1880 to 1892 has unfortunately not survived.
The following names are some of the original members who must have been instrumental in founding the Club. They were Mr A Curle, the first President of the Club and Mr John Freer, the first Secretary/Treasurer Dr Grierson, who became the first Honorary Life Member of the Club in 1888, was probably the first Captain of the Club although no record could be found to prove that.
Other known original members of the Club included Mr Frank T. Robertson, Mr A E Scougal, Mr A T Simson, Mr W Pennycook, Mr T S Bogie and Mr Drysdale.
By 9th July 1882, the membership of Melrose Golf Club numbered 30, from 1882 to 1890, after the Autumn Competition, the players adjourned to an Hotel for their Annual Dinner when prizes were presented to the winners.
The first Annual General Meeting recorded in the newspapers on Thursday 8th March 1883, was held in Mrs Cleaver’s commercial Hotel with Mr A. T Simson in the Chair. the Treasurers Accounts were submitted and examined. After paying for the erection of the new Clubhouse, the balance against the Club was only a few pounds, which the current year’s subscriptions then due would increase.
The membership in 1887 was 41 which increased to 55 the following year, 68 in 1893 and 72 in 1895.
The entrance fee and annual subscription in 1887 were fixed at ten shillings each but were reduced a year later to five shillings each and remained at those figures until 1895.
In 1895 the annual subscription was raised to ten shillings and sixpence with the entry fee still five shillings, but a working man’s subscription of five shillings was now included. That lasted only one year. The following year, subscriptions remained the same but a boys’ subscription of two shillings and sixpence was added.
THE FIRST CLUBHOUSE was built in 1882 and was opened on Saturday 8th July. This clubhouse was built by members and measured twelve feet square and had separate boxes running along two sides for the clubs of the different players. Over the door a slab was placed on the wall with two clubs crossed and the motto “far and sure” with the date 1882. The cost of building the clubhouse was just over £50.00.
The first extension to the clubhouse was undertaken in 1896 and this was to cost approximately £70.00. This extension was to be added to the back of the existing building to form a T shape. Also in 1896 there was a resolution that beer should not be sold in the Clubhouse meantime.
The second extension to the clubhouse was undertaken in 1907. When completed the outward shape was almost a square instead of the previous T shape. The improvements which included a lavatory greatly increased comfort and convenience and it was hoped would attract members and visitors. The Clubhouse was rough casted and the wooden shutters which covered the windows were replaced with wire gauze on iron frames. The total total cost of the this was £92.12.6d.
In the 1960’s and first two years of the 1970’s the clubhouse had very little done to it and most of the lockers were not used and the interior became rather shabby and dirty. The old wooden floor began to decay and for a time was covered with rubber matting and linoleum. The next transformation took place in 1972.
In June of that year plans were made for improvements to be carried out to provide a social meeting place at the front and changing accommodation at the rear of the Gent’s Clubhouse.
Further plans were planned for 1973. During 1974 the Committee agreed plans for an extension measuring 31 feet by 12 feet to be added to the right hand side of the Gent’s Clubhouse at a cost of £1142.
In 1978 Messrs J S Crawford began work on a new extension which would be completed by the beginning of April. The new Clubhouse would add to the amenities and comfort of the members and would provide premises for social functions in the years to come.
BEFORE THE LADIES CLUB WAS FORMED
The earliest record found of Ladies playing golf at Melrose, occurred in June 1894. It was reported that the Ladies held a competititon for a clock presented by Mr William Dick and golf balls presented by Mr A Davidson. Miss Lumgair was the winner of the clock and Miss Renwick won the golf balls. Other scorers mentioned were Miss A.A. Turnbull, Miss A. Turnbull, Miss Henderson and Miss J Lumgair.
There was a record in October 1896 of a Ladies competition for a gold bangle, presented by Mr W Y King when Miss K Dunn won it with a score of 72.
During 1896 the Minute Books of the Men’s Club stated that Ladies would be admitted to membership on payment of an annual subscription of five shillings with no charge for entry. Five years later, in 1901, Mr Andrew Davidson was appointed to interview the Ladies with a view to forming a Ladies Club, but nothing developed from the meeting. By 1904, the Ladies subscription was raised to seven shillings and sixpence.
THE LADIES CLUB SINCE ITS INSTITUTION
On Friday 19th May 1905 a meeting was held in the Ormiston Hall for the purpose of forming a Ladies Golf Club. There was a large attendance and the proposal was adopted with great enthusiasm.
The first officials were elected as follows:-
President – Mrs Simson, Eildon Grove
Captain – Mrs Wade, St. John’s
Secretary – Mrs Fordyce, Southfield
Treasurer – Miss Davidson, Market Place
On Saturday 3rd June, 1905, the formal opening of the Melrose Ladies Club took place at Dingleton Common, when the ceremony was performed by Provost Mark Turnbull in the presence of a large number of players and spectators. Thereafter a mixed foursomes competition was played for prizes presented by members of the Golf Club.
In December 1905, Lady Mary Kidd of Lowood, intimated that she would give a trophy to the Ladies Club and the following year she presented a Rose Bowl for competition.
In 1908 the membership of the Ladies Club was 70. The subscription of the Ladies Club in 1920 was eight shillings and juveniles up to seventeen years paid four shillings.
After the Second World War in 1946, it was decided to merge the Ladies and Gents Clubs when the Ladies would have three representatives on the General Committee. 1951 wasthe year that the Minute Books of the Ladies Club became available. On 27th March the Ladies held their first A.G.M. since both Clubs were amalgamated, and a Ladies Committee was formed to attend to the business of their Club.
All details on this page were taken with permission from A History of Melrose Golf Club,
researched and published by Mr David A MacKenzie – which covers the first hundred years of the clubs history.