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Downfield Golf Club, Baldovan, Dundee. (1895 - WW1)

On Friday 1 November 1895 a meeting was held in Downfield Public Hall to discuss the formation of a golf club. It was unanimously decided to form a club. Mr William Smith, Parish Councillor was appointed president and Mr George Tarbat interim secretary. A deputation consisting of the president, Dr Butter, Mr Anderson and the secretary were to meet with Sir Reginald Ogilvy to try and obtain ground on Old Farm, Baldovan.

Report below on a constructive meeting with Sir Reginald Ogilvy on the proposed course.


Downfield Golf Club, Baldovan. Report on the proposed course in November 1895.

Dundee Courier Wednesday 13 November 1895. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


The course was opened on Saturday 28 December 1895. Unfortunately the weather on the day was terrible with a heavy fall of snow. The Hon President braved the weather to hit the opening shot off the first tee but subsequent play was out of the question.   

The club was often referred to as Baldovan in the early years. The original clubhouse was a former horse drawn tramcar.

The following images are from the Dundee Advertiser 3 February 1896. Images © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Downfield Golf Club, Baldovan, Dundee. Layout of the golf course.


Downfield Golf Club, Baldovan, Dundee. Text accompanying course layout.


Result of a match played at Kirriemuir on the Kirremuir Hill course in July 1899.

Kirriemuir Golf Club   Downfield Golf Club  
D Burnett & A Sutherland 2 Rev D Lockhead & J Tarbet 0
H Black & A Black 0 J Melville & M Holder 4
W H Cromarty & W Wilson 6 W Laing & J Laing 0
E Legge & T Birrell 10 C C Laing & G J Tarbat 0
P Graham & J P Milne 0 J Anderson & W Fekford 0
J Herald & A Low 0 A Taylor & W Smith 1
H E Peacock & J Scott 4 J Mollison & W Sellars 0
  22   5

There was a good turn out of members for the annual New Year’s Day tournament in 1900, scoring proved difficult due to the frost; First class – winner, Lewis Carmichael; second, William Sellar; third, D Y Preston; Second class – Charles Soutar; Robert Smith; R S Luke; Ladies competition, Miss Tawse; Miss Black; Miss Irons.


Downfield Golf Club, Baldovan. The Baldovan golf pavilion.

The Baldovan club pavilion.


There was a good crowd gathered on the afternoon of Saturday 30 June 1900 to see the exhibition match between Willie and David Auchterlonie, of St Andrews, and two lucky Downfield members. The course was in great condition after some recent improvements, although the greens were a little heavy. Willie was partnered with Mr Golder and David with Mr Melville. All the players were in good form, and the match, which was closely contested throughout, resulted in a win for Willie and his partner by 2 and 1. After tea, which was served on the course to those present, the brothers played a singles match over nine holes, during which a new record was set. Unfortunately which brother actually set the record was not reported, but the score was, as follows 3,3,4,4,3,4,5,5,4 = 35. It was planned that the members would play a mixed foursome to finish the day off, but unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and the Secretary versus Captain match was called off.

From the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Membership of 124; Hon. secretary - W Eckford, Clifton Bank, Downfield, Dundee; Captain - W Smith J.P; Entrance Fee nil and Subs £1; Nine-holes; Amateur Record - J Melville, 34; Terms for visitors - 3d a round of eighteen-holes, 2s/6d a week, 5s a month. This is a good inland course within the policies of Baldoran House, owned by Sir Reg. Ogilvy, Bart.

Result of a match Played against St Andrews on Saturday 11 April 1908 at Downfield. The course was in splendid order and received much praise from the visiting team.

Downfield Golf Club   St Andrews Golf Club  
J C Dickson 1 J Young 0
A M Reid 0 J C Blair 1
John Whyte 0 G Law 1
W Bruce 1 A Dewar 0
W Brechin 1 J Law 0
W Eckford 1 J Linder 0
M Golder 0 R Condie 0
W Dickson 1 J D Spence 0
W C Lamb 1 D Cunningham 0
D Scott 0 C Kilpatrick 1
C M Pearson 1 A Scott 0
A Paton 1 J Burns 0
G Ford 0 H M Singer 1
  8   4

Result of a bogey competition played in May 1908; J R Taylor, 5up; W Bruce (4) and A M Reid (scratch) 3up. The third round for the Smith gold medal also took place; D Sott beat W Wishart; W Eckford beat A J Forbes; W Brechin beat J M Clark; M Golder beat A Paton.

Playing over the Baldovan course on Saturday 29th August 1908 Mr Fred Baldie, St Andrews Club, completed the nine holes in 31 strokes, a new course record (4,3,4,4,4,2,4,3,3). The previous record of 32 was set in June 1907 by J C Dickson.

Result of a match played at Baldovan against the local Temperance Club in August 1908.

Temperance Club   Downfield  
E Shield 1 John Whyte 0
Dr Crawford 0 W Brechin 1
W Hogg 1 A Paton 0
C M Pearson 0 D Scott 1
Robert Smith 0 J Irons 1
William Smith 1 J E Baxter 0
J Smith 0 Geo Taylor 0
R Lickley 0 J Lalor Nixon 1
  3   4

Result of a bogey competition held on Saturday 5 September 1908; J M Clark (6) 2up; W Bruce (3) and G Proctor (12) tied for second on all square; J C Dickson third.

Result of a match played against Cupar at Baldovan in September 1908.

Downfield Golf Club   Cupar Golf Club  
J C Dickson 0 J Watt 1
A M Reid 0 C Russell 1
J Melville 1 J Baillie 0
W Bruce 0 G Harris 0
J Whyte 0 A Kinsman 1
W Brechin 0 A J Loutit 0
J M Clark 1 J L Anderson 0
J Irons 0 J Dobie 1
D Scott 1 H B Ashton 0
Alex Paton 1 J Mitchell 0
C M Pearson 1 G Ramsay 0
F Boyd 0 R H K Clark 1
  5   5

Result of a match against "Courier and Electric" played over the Monifieth links in May 1910.

Courier and Electric   Downfield Golf Club  
W Thomson 1 J C Dickson 0
N F Thomson 1 William Bruce 0
Edward Shield 1 N Dickson 0
S C Thomson (halved) 0 J M Clark (halved) 0
William Gray 1 W Brechin 0
J S Anderson 0 W C Lamb 1
Peter Reid 1 A Paton 0
J Davidson 1 A Davie 0
J R Bathie 0 D Scott 1
J Macdougall 0 C M Pearson 1
W F Anderson 0 F W Yates 1
N Matheson 0 F Boyd 1
S C Hutton (halved) 0 N McCann (halved) 0
Edward Panton 0 G C Proctor 1
  6   6

The annual meeting of the Baldovan club was held in December 1910 Captain W C Lamb, presided. The following officers were elected; Hon. Captain, Sir Gilchrist Ogilvy, Bart.; captain, W C Lamb; vice-captain, J White; secretary, W Eckford; treasurer, A M Reid; match-secretary, J C Dickson; green curator, J M Clark. 


Downfield Golf Club, Baldovan, Dundee. Opening of the New Pavilion 1913.


The above image is from the Dundee Evening Telegraph Monday 28 April 1913. “Mr Spark driving off at the first tee, with the new pavilion in the rear. The opening ceremony was performed by Mr C Mitchell.” 

On Thursday 21 August 1913 Mr J Carmichael Dickinson, a well known Forfarshire golfer, equalled the course record for the Downfield course. His impressive score as follows; Out - 5,4,4,4,4,3,4,4,3 = 35; Home – 4,3,4,4,4,4,5,3,2 = 33, total 68.

The Baldovan course was returned to agriculture following WW1.

The current Downfield club was founded in 1932 on a course designed by James Braid. Unfortunately most of this course was lost and used for a housing development in 1964, only five of the original holes still exist.


Downfield Golf Club, Baldovan, Dundee. Location of the Baldovan Course.

Location of the Baldovan course. Grid reference NO39145,34430, co-ordinates 339145,734430.