Robert Purdom, Banker, and Solicitor, plus two other gentlemen, Charles Taylor, Teacher, and John Manuel, Burgh Surveyor, founded Hawick Golf Club in 1877.
These gentlemen applied to the town council for the privilege of utilising a portion of the Vertish Hill as a golf course.
This was accepted as long as no damage was done! If only they knew about some of us hackers!
A golf club was formed on 13th August 1877. There were 13 original members that year.
The Original Golf Course
So, the original golf course had a series of small holes, 4 inches in diameter, formed in the turf about 300 to 400 yards apart, and arranged in a course to suit the slopes of the vertish hill.
Eleven holes initially were designed.
However if a competition was tied, then 22 holes were played. Some local members still think that they are playing 22 holes, by the interesting routes they take to play the 18 hole golf course we have now.
In 1879 a further hole was added.
By 1894 a further 6 holes had been laid out to complete the standard 18 holes that we have today.
Some holes have been changed around over the years. The original course was some 4250yds long with a par of 78.
Oh! How some members still wish for that length of course.
Players used as many as eight different clubs to manoeuvre a gutta percha ball in the direction of these small holes. Some players managed to propel that type of ball over 160yards.
We have 14 such clubs, and still cannot do much better!
They would count how many strokes it took them for the whole round. An average of 5 strokes per hole was considered good.
It was stated that year, “ that if the golf club does nothing else but induce more inhabitants to go out, and enjoy the magnificent view and fresh breezes of the vertish hill, it will confer a great benefit on the town”.
How true this has been over the years.
In the early days of the club, the members had no clubhouse accommodation. It was not until the latter part of 1880, that a house was rented for this purpose.
It was soon found to be too small, and it was agreed to enlarge it in 1890. Even this enlarged property was not big enough and a new clubhouse was constructed in 1894, and opened in May 1895 by the Rt Hon Earl of Dalkeith.
Golf was confined to the male members of the community in Hawick, until the latter part of 1892. At that time the “golf craze” was at a peak, and it extended to the ladies of Hawick.
At first the Hawick Golf Club hardly behaved in a very gallant manner to the ladies.
The ladies approached the club in 1892 asking for the course to be laid out for the ladies. This was duly done, but they had no say in the management of the ladies club.
As you can imagine this was unacceptable to the ladies. So in 1893 they overcame that difficulty.
Some people had hinted that the ladies had only started golf to be near to, and to keep an eye on, their gentlemen.
Far be it for me, to comment.