Orkney Golf Club

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About the Club

As the Victorian era drew to a close the members of the Orkney Golf Club became dissatisfied with the conditions on their course at Pickaquoy that they entered discussion with the factor for the Dundas Estates to rent an area of grass between the fields of Grainbank farm and the heather of Wideford hill. For an area of approximately 40 acres the annual rent was agreed at £12 provided the owner of the land could still use the area for the grazing of his sheep.

The tenancy of the land at Pickaquoy having been terminated at Martimas 1901 there was not much time to convert the newly acquired land at Grainbank into a nine hole golf course for the coming season but with the enthusiasm of members and the use of horses and carts, picks and shovels and hard physical labour the fairways and greens were ready for use by the summer of 1902.

When competition started members had to accept that here were some imperfections on the greens, which were small and only mowed weekly, there were also imperfections and bare patches on the fairways which were narrow and bordered on one or both sides by areas of heather but these defects and imperfections did not deter members and competitions progressed. One of the early trophies, which is still a subject for annual contest between clubs of the Northern Counties, was presented by John Wilson, sheriff of the area, and was first played for on the new Grainbank course on 19th August 1903; Stromness walked off with the Wilson Cup.

The Clubhouse, erected in 1902, had no facilities for social or club functions but as membership increased there was a demand for additional space and it was decided to extend the building by adding a club room to one end of the building and a small kitchen to the other at a total cost of £60. With this extension the ladies were able to enjoy a cup of tea while watching their partners on the course. This extension was just completed before war broke out.

Throughout the period of hostilities principally service personnel used the course and maintenance was at a minimum. This was speedily rectified as men returned from the war: fairways and greens were repaired and rejuvenated and golf again became a popular sport. Ladies whose long skirts of the previous century had been shortened, also became playing members.
Green fees at the time were:- Men, one Guinea; Ladies, 1/2 Guinea; Juniors 2/6

In the early twenties, with the popularity of the sport on the increase and with the inclusion of lady members, the Committee was concerned at the congestion on the nine-hole course, especially on Saturdays and Wednesdays. The possibility of restricting membership was being considered but before any action was taken Dundas Estates came to the rescue; the Club was offered the rental of an additional 60 acres on which to lay out a further 9 holes thus promoting the course to the standard of 18 holes.

The land now obtained on an exclusive long-term lease had considerable areas of heather and some very wet areas but the position of the tees and fairways was soon decided and the plan of the future course pegged out. Construction of the nine new tees and greens proceeded apace throughout the winter. Three tees and greens had to be built in areas of heather and the fairways to these were narrow and rough with deep heather on all sides ready to capture any off course ball. Despite these and other difficulties the planned opening of the extended course was achieved and on Wednesday 4th of July 1923, in the presence of some 200 members and friends, the opening ceremony took place.

Less than 2 years later the club was faced with a new problem. The owners of the land advised the club that the leased land was to be sold with the entry at Martimas 1925. Negotiations with the factor, who was a member of the club, resulted in an agreed price of £500, a lot of money in 1925, but this was raised and the Club were now owners of 119 acres.

Many of the active members were called to the forces at outbreak of war in 1939 and that included our greenkeeper. In consequence the condition of the course deteriorated but members soon made good the defects. Money was short and to reduce maintenance it was decided to compress the course into a smaller area and eliminate the "heather holes". The redesigned fairways on the smaller area were approximately 100 yards longer and with minor alterations, have proved successful.

Modernisation and enlargement of the clubhouse was the next project and to finance this a 20-acre field of surplus land was sold. The improved clubhouse facilities satisfied members until the leaks through the original roof became unbearable. Discussions took priority in the late eighties and it was finally decided that a new Club House was necessary. Plans were approved, construction commenced in 1991 and the building opened in 92.

Directions

1 mile west of Kirkwall
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Club facilities

Club HouseHas a Club House
Club HireDoes not offer Club Hire
Putting GreenHas a Putting Green
Pro ShopDoes not have a Pro Shop
Practice AreaHas a Practice Area
Club BarHas a Club Bar
Driving RangeDoes not have a Driving Range
RestaurantHas a Restaurant
Trolley Hire offers Trolley Hire
ChangingDoes not have Changing Rooms
Buggy Hire offers Buggy Hire
Lessons can provide Lessons

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