The decision to construct a golf course on the Nunfield Estate, Dumfries was made at a meeting held in May 1912. From modest beginnings fine courses are wrought and so it was that William Fernie, a famous Scottish golfer heralding from Kinghorn and winner of the Open in 1883, was entrusted with the surveying of a stretch of open ground on the Nunfield Estate, Dumfries. Fernie planned the original course in two loops so that the ninth and eighteenth holes would finish at the clubhouse. Such a design still offers important advantages; members can start a nine hole game without an often futile walk to the tenth tee, dual starting points within easy reach of the clubhouse are also a sure means of alleviating two scourges of the modern game, course congestion and slow play.
Willie Fernie was obviously more attuned to the needs of the modern golfer than many of today’s course designers. In producing the blueprint for a course that combines a compact design with a fair and enjoyable challenge, the course was redesigned in the Spring of 1929 by James Braid probably the most celebrated golf course designer of his time. Fernie and Braid laid the foundations for a well balanced and challenging course.
The course was officially opened on 11th October 1913 with an exhibition match in which Percy Hills and Mr. J.M. Bowie competed against Harry Fulford and James Bennett, the Club Professional. The 71 scored by Hills established a course record that stood unchallenged for many years. However time does not stand still, even in the hallowed world of golf and a succession of distinguished visitors, among them Cotton, Rees, Allis Senior and Faulkner, have ensured a consistently high standard of play. The list is indeed illustrious; Hagan and Daley scored 69s, Bobby Locke added a 67, Harry Weetman continued the downward trend with a 66 only for Ken Bousfield to sweep to a superb 64 that owed much to infrequent and inspired putting.
The quality of the course has improved at a similar pace to the course record, a trend interrupted only by the war when golf was relegated behind wheat and potato crops. The subsequent reconstruction allowed the incorporation of new land and the extension of the eighth , eleventh and twelfth holes.
When describing a golf club as progressive, one must necessarily, and sadly, be rather selective. However, the development of Nunfield is an eloquent testimony to an attitude of far sightedness among members and committees. Improvements on the course have often coincided with the hosting of prestigious tournaments. The club held its first major championship in 1958 with the British Youths Championship when the course was extended to measure 6000 yards. The Scottish Girls’ Strokeplay Championship has also been staged at Nunfield in 1963 and 1968, a period that also saw the conversion and complete transformation of the clubhouse, resulting notably in the addition of an expansive lounge area with extensive views of the course.
The pattern of development continued with the planting of large numbers of trees in the sixties, one of many schemes overseen by long serving green keeper, W. McKelvie, who brought further distinction to the club in winning the Green keeper of the Year award in 1968.
Amongst other notable events and players whose paths have crossed at Dumfries are the Scottish Girls’ Match play and open Stroke play events won by Jane Connachan and Kathryn Imrie respectively. Such a tradition for encouraging feminine golfing excellence is underlined by the prominence of local players, Morag Wright, joint holder of the ladies’ course record, and Alice Barclay, winner of the ladies’ Championship an incredible 13 times. To complete an all-time Nunfield mixed foursome, enter into the fray Ian Brotherston and David James, simultaneously Scottish Internationalists in 1985. The club has also been fortunate in its roll call of club professionals – James Bennett, ID. McCulloch, Fred Robertson, Willie Davies, George Templeton, Gordon Gray and Stuart Syme have all served the club with distinction.

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15.06.2018 14:28
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