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Balhousie Ladies’ and Boys’ Golf Course, Perth. (1870)

Ian Cairns author of, Golf over two Inches, the story of Perth’s historical courses, has been a great help with my research into Perthshire courses and has provided the following information regarding the course at Balhousie.  

“In Perth there was a Ladies’ and Boys’ Course laid out at Balhousie in 1870. This is situated just to the east of the present North Inch Course. This was very much cutting edge. Of course Perth was a hotbed of golf at that time with big competitions attracting all the Cracks and great club making and course development skills. Commonly ladies only played on putting greens at this time. Alas it seems to have been an idea just ahead of its time because the course was “abandoned” after a few years and returned to grazing.

As regards the Ladies and Boys course there is no knowledge of a formal club although both the Royal Perth and the King James Club were very active alongside it on the North Inch Course. A ladies club on the North Inch was not formed till 1928 (and is still going strongly). I assume that wives, girlfriends and children of the Royal and King James VI members would have played though there still was a propensity against women playing anything other than putting. We do know that Perth Academy had a boys’ (but not girls) championship every year at that time and this would have been a further support. I also think that Walter (Watty) MacDonald the first full time Head Green-keeper on the North Inch Course would have had a lot to do with it. He was something of a visionary and knew Old Tom Morris who had taken green-keeping to new heights at Prestwick. It would not surprise me if we ever found out that Watty was the real driver behind this course”.

The Google Map below pinpoints the approximate location of the former course.


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