It was Jack Morris, nephew of the famous Old Tom Morris who drew up the Course Plan in 1906 for 9 holes, which were opened in 1907. His fee was £1.11s.6p. (£ 1.57 ½ p). Twenty three years later, ﬁve times Open Champion, James Braid presented his plans for an extended 18 hole course which was opened in 1931. Braid received 10 Guineas for his efforts.
Since those early days the course has undergone considerable investment with the purchase of adjoining land, building the tees and greens to USGA speciﬁcation. The old Clubhouse is now part of a private residence and major drainage work throughout the course and practice ground has been completed to maximise playing conditions.
The Course was slipping into The Dee!
The ﬁrst recorded reference to the erosion of the cliffs which consist of rock free boulder-clay was in 1909, the next in 1923 when insurance was taken out against claims for accidents through the crumbling cliffs. A short hole was abandoned in 1936 but it was not until the mid 60’s that the serious continual loss of playing area was recognised as a real problem. The 5th tee disappeared into the Dee, the back of the 3rd followed suit and another short hole which was played back from the now 4th green towards the present 5th tee was abandoned. The original foot of the cliffs can be seen as sandstone blocks some 50yds into the river, the remains of a quay partly built in the 1800’s. In 1987 £125,000 was spent protecting the area beneath the 3rd green but erosion was still occurring along the full length of the course. With time running out before the 6th went the way of its predecessors and no assistance being offered by the National or Local Governance, the members voted to spend £250,000 to protect the remaining two thirds of the cliffs.
The cliffs were chamfered to a gentle slope and grassed to minimise the tops rolling over and rock armour was placed along the toe of the cliffs. This work was carried out in 1993/4 and with continual maintenance has proved to be a resounding success thus ensuring that the Club has retained some of the most attractive holes of the course.
* LINK: Morris’s daughter Dorothy married Leonard Mickle whose son John is and Past Captain and grandson Paul is a current member and Chairman of the Handicap Committee.
Article in part from “The Story so Far’ by the late Ian Crutchley a Past Captain of the Club