Golf Course


The view from Golf Course Corner – with the familiar features of Midhowe to the left, the island of Eynhallow, and Evie and Costa Head on Mainland
stretching away in the distance.

Most folk have heard of ‘Golf Course Corner’, that 90-degree bend in the road almost at the junction of the Westside and Quandale. Tommy Gibson, Brinola, tells us of the origin of the Rousay Golf Club:-

In the l920’s a golf club was formed in Rousay and a nine hole course was created in Inner Quandale. This was a very popular pastime with a large membership of young and not so young men. Hugh Marwick of Moan in Wasbister was employed as the green keeper. A corrugated iron shed was bought and placed above Wholme to keep the mowers and flags. Members of the Kirkwall and Stromness golf clubs were invited and came out to Rousay and played many tournaments. This club was finished by the end of the l930’s.

In the early sixties another golf club was formed. Concerts were rehearsed and performed, cards were played, dances were organised, all to raise funds. This club was active till about I967-8. This was due to depopulation in Rousay.

It was said at the time, this was the best natural golf course in the north of Scotland, with its braes, humps and hollows. One man walking between the first and second holes slid, fell and broke his leg ended up in hospital for a few weeks. The club was finished by the late 60’s.

A photo from Tommy’s collection showing John Inkster, Craigearn, playing a shot on the Westside course. Note the old farm buildings of Whome in the background. c.1965

The following is a report from The Orcadian concerning the Rousay Golf Club in 1968.

Rousay Golf Club organised a very successful evening’s entertainment on Friday April 12, in the Community Centre. This was a return for the Leap Year Dance given by the SWRI on February 29.

To begin with there was a short concert, compered by Rev. J Gillan as follows: Male Voice Choir, H Grieve, J Inkster, J Logie, H Lyon, H Mainland and W Mainland with Nigel Firth at the piano, sang “Dancing in Kyle”, “Clementine” (to Cwm Rhondda), and “Mocking Bird Hill”; Novelty Mystery Act – John and Bryan Inkster; songs with Guitar – Jim and Johnny Johnston. ITV Wrestling – Ian Flaws v. Hamish Delday, referee J Slater, commentator Johnny Johnston. Leap Year Theme – Rev. J Gillan; Skit: “There’s a hole in my Budget, dear Wilson” – Nigel Firth and Edwin Macaulay; Male Voice Choir – “Irish ‘Rover”, “The Unhappy Golfer”, and “Goodnight Ladies”.

Golf prizes for the year were presented by Mrs Liddle, who is in Orkney on holiday from Vancouver.

Mr J Inkster, president of the Golf Club, had a long list of people on his vote of thanks: Mr Gillan for acting as compere; Mrs Liddle for presenting the prizes, and donors of special prizes were all thanked. Raffles donated by J Craigie, D Gibson, H Grieve and Mr and Mrs J lnkster were gratefully acknowledged. The “golf widows” who prepared the buffet supper got a special thankyou also.

The dance followed, with Andy Munro as MC and N & E Firth and W Delday as musicians.

The Golf Club has been organised again after a lapse of many years. Through the kindness of the owner and tenants of Westness Farm they play on the course in Quendale. Any golfing visitors to Rousay will be welcomed by the Club.

Golf Prizes were as follows –

Challenge Cup by Master Bakers’ Association – Hugh Lyon;
Miniature Cup by George Donaldson, butcher – Hugh Lyon (to become his own property);
One Club Match – Special prize from R Garden – Hugh Lyon.
Monthly matches – J Inkster, lowest score over 36 holes; special prize from Wm Grieve – Jim Marwick.
Handicap Match – Jim Marwick.
Four-ball Foursome – Hugh Mainland and Jim Gibson.
Two-ball Foursome – John and Jim Marwick.
Juniors: One Club Match: Miniature Cup from George Donaldson butcher – Alister Marwick;
Special prize from Ronald Wilson, Stromness – Alister Marwick.
Winners of the raffle were: – Iced Cake – Colin Craigie; Bottle of Sherry – Sheena Marwick; Box of Pillowcases – Mr. A Delday; Box of Groceries – Mrs C Manson; Box of Carrots – Ann Campbell; Sacks of Turnips – Mrs A Q Cormack and Vincent Mainland.

Two photos, courtesy of Graham Lyon. They show him as a budding caddie on the Rousay golf course c1970 – and the cup presented to his father Hugh – mentioned in the prize list above.

Jean Davidson of Stromness was kind enough to contribute these two photos of the Ladies Championship cup won by Miss Molly Mainland, Hurtiso, in 1930.

I was sent this colour photo by Mary Mowat. She writes – “I wondered if you might be interested in this photo of Neil Mowat, my husband, playing golf on Rousay in the summer of 1968. We’ve been looking at old photos and can date it because of other photos taken at the time.”

[Costa Head and the western entrance of Eynhallow Sound in the background].