The original 15-hole course was designed by Willie Park Jr. renowned Scottish golfer and course architectIt opened in August 1914 when green fees were 2s (10p) per day or £1 for a 4-week ticket. Play was not allowed on Sundays until October 1918. Basic “golf-house” facilities were provided for in the former farm buildings which were also used for staff accommodation.
With the Great War of 1914-18 upon them, the Club resolved that “any employee who may enlist in HM Forces for service during the War be allowed to take up his appointment if and when he returns”. Matthew Owen, the Club’s first professional enlisted but unfortunately was killed in action a year later. As part of the War effort, the course was let out for grazing; as well as bringing in £20 p.a., this avoided having to plough up the newly-laid fairways.
To make up a full 18-hole round, holes 1-3 were played again as the 16th, 17th, 18th. As this created severe congestion on the 1st / 16th tees efforts started in 1919 to acquire land north of the course for the final three holes. The Duke, as landlord, was not prepared to pressure his tenant farmers to relinquish prime agricultural land so it was not until 1936, following the death of one of the tenants, that the Club was able to obtain an extra 10-acre field. James Braid, another renowned Scottish golf architect, designed an extended course in 1938 but legal delays and the requisitioning of the additional field for wartime agricultural purposes meant a proper 18-hole course was not opened until March 1952.
The old farm buildings had served the Club well for a variety of purposes but in the mid-1930s a purpose-built clubhouse was needed. Despite delays over the lease and the raising of finance, the new building was opened in January 1940. Severe wartime restrictions immediately affected the clubhouse operation with blackouts, early closures, staff reductions, utility interruptions, and food and drink rationing. Only Members were served in the clubhouse and they were limited to one half measure of whisky.
Regular refurbishing and occasional layout changes were made to the clubhouse over its 70-year life, including enclosing the original north-facing verandahs. However the stylish single-storey design is almost unchanged and remains a testament to the 1930s Members and their interpretation of how to cater for the off-course needs of a wide range of golfers.
The last major reconstruction of the course came in 1957/58 when a further 15-acre field on the north-west boundary became available. Holes on the northern part of the course were extended or re-sited to give the layout which exists today. The Club has made many improvements to the course over the past 50 years including refreshing bunkers and planting additional trees. Recently particular attention has been given to the greens which are acknowledged to be in their best-ever condition.