“We understand that several gentlemen in town are taking active steps for the formation of a Golf Club, and that the Arnsbrae has been suggested as a suitable course. The introduction of this popular pastime in our town would, we believe, meet with every encouragement.” 2nd May 1891
Postcard of Alloa Golf Course in front of Arnsbrae House
Our original nine hole golf course was created at Arnsbrae in the summer of 1891. Former Open Champion Willie Park was contacted to view two proposed sites. Unable to attend he sent Mr Robert Tait, a professional golfer formerly from Musselburgh, who carried out a favourable inspection of the area. It was Mr Tait’s opinion that the turf was ideal for golf, and the sandy sub-soil and consequently good drainage would allow golf to be played all year round. He also reported to the committee where the holes should be and that it would be of little expense as all that would be required would be to roll out the putting greens and re-lay the turf.
The golf club was formed 8th July 1891 taking the name “Alloa Golf Club” with 49 members. The first gentlemen members paid an annual subscription of One Guinea (£1.05). Within a year, putting greens had been laid and levelled and a greenskeeper employed, who’s job was also to make and repair golf clubs.
“This favourable pastime was inaugurated in Alloa on Wednesday afternoon past, when one dozen gentlemen had a game over the new course in Arnsbrae, when nine holes were made and red flags inserted and that the field now presents something like the appearance of a golf course. The putting greens are of course still very rough, but a short time should see them in proper condition. It is understood that the party were very highly pleased with the initial game, and are looking with much interest to being now able to participate in the pastime without having to go so far from home to indulge in it. The committee are in course of preparing the rules to regulate the game and management of the club.” 6th June 1891
THE GRAND FETE & BAZAR
In late 1906 the all gentlemen committee approached the ladies section to request their support to fund the building of a new clubhouse. The new pavilion was duly built in 1907 using monies from the incredible £792 17s 1d raised by the ladies Grand Fete & Bazar. This money was used to pay for the setting of bunkers and other improvements to the course. It also funded the addition of the pavilion veranda in 1910. The club continued to thrive in the new century as the game of golf became increasingly popular. In fact, measures were required to limit play at certain times of the day by some categories of membership and the constraints of a nine hole course began to take effect. In 1907 the membership stood at 172, by the start of 1910 it had risen to 230, which comprised of 135 gentlemen and 95 ladies.
Opening of the pavilion in 1907
MOVING TO BRAEHEAD
The land on which the course was built had been leased from the tenant of Arnsbrae, Mr A Gail, though the landowner was James Younger of Younger’s Brewery and in whose memory the Braehead Open is named. In 1923 Captain Younger requested that the club move from Arnsbrae and offered, as an alternative, two fields to the west of the original course, along with the farmhouse at Braehead which was to be used as a pavilion. On 16th October 1926 this new nine hole course was opened for play, with a Mr Dawson having a hole in one at the 166 yard 5th hole the following Tuesday.
ALLOA GOLF CLUB MOVE TO SCHAWPARK
Membership of the club fell during the next few years, possibly due to difficulties that the members from Alloa were having travelling to this new location. This was borne out in a report from 30th July 1932 which stated that:
“Members of the Alloa Golf Club would be interested to learn that Messr W Alexander & Sons Ltd have commenced a special evening bus service from the County Buildings to the Golf Course via Grange Road”.
Unfortunately this was not enough to save the club and following many heated meetings, a majority of the members decided to move the “Alloa Golf Club” to Schawpark where a new 18 hole course was being built in 1935-36.