Golf is one of the sports of Scotland. You cannot go far without seeing a golf course. Or two or sometimes , three. Even small villages have a golf course on their edge. Our previous village, Longside, had a golf course. Now our nearest village, Inverallochy, also has a golf course. And it would appear from the historians that Cairnbulg also knocked a few balls about.
The above pictures were taken today, at Fraserburgh Golf Course. This is a Links course, which means it is beside the sea. When we did bed and breakfast we used to get Germans by the ton wanting to play the Links courses as they had none. We have loads.
The following extract is from Fraserburgh Past and Present by John Cranna, a former Fraserburgh Harbour Master, and was published in 1914.
According to Cranna, golf had been played on the Fraserburgh Links from at least the 17th century. He bases this upon the unearthing of a Fraserburgh church record of the admonishing of an individual who broke the Sabbath by playing golf on the Fraserburgh Links in 1613.
Golf was not played on the Corbie Hill course until the 1890s.
Cranna mentions that Rosehearty golfers also did battle with their Fraserburgh counterparts on the Fraserburgh Links, observing that in every instance Fraserburgh was victorious.
However, he makes no such observation concerning the matches against Cairnbulg and Inverallochy golfers whom he terms “no mean players in their day”. It would seem, therefore, that on some of these bygone New Years Days it was the Fraserburgh players who had to pay for the drinks.
“50 or 60 years ago” takes us back to the years from 1854 to 1864 since Cranna had written his book for publication in 1914. While much of the inter-village rivalry between Belgers (Cairnbulg)* and Cottoners (Inverallochy*) has subsided, it may be considered highly unlikely that in that era any Cairnbulg golfer would be playing on Inverallochy ground and vice versa. Banding together in order to beat the Brochers would have been an entirely different matter. We know that Cairnbulg golfers used to play “wast bye” on the piece of ground which lies inland from the Watch Hut and Harbour. We also know that Inverallochy golfers used to play on ground which is now part of Inverallochy Golf Course. If Cranna is correct, and his book is still regarded as the defining history of Fraserburgh, the most likely scenario may be that of the existence of several golf holes on both Cairnbulg and Inverallochy ground over 150 years ago.
* my words.
Now I have played golf. And enjoyed it. But the hysterical laughter and onlookers rolling around on the floor on viewing my swings, rather put me off. Having said that, I seem to remember I had a pretty decent score at the end.
And if the golfers peered over the sand dunes today, this is what they would see.