Dollar Golf Club

Historical (and other) jottings

A Brief History

Oldest of the Clackmannanshire clubs, Dollar was founded by a group of local men in 1890, when they opened up a nine-hole course at Market Park. With the annual subscription for its nineteen members set at seven shillings and sixpence (37½p) it was on fairly flat low-lying ground which is in marked contrast to its present layout on the slopes of the Ochils. Although the members of today look on it as one of the traditional small clubs that are the backbone of the game in Scotland without any illusions of grandeur it has had its moments when, in the early part of the century, it attracted such players of renown as Ray, Vardon and Duncan.

The Ladies of Dollar were clearly the forerunners of today’s feminists as it was only three years later, in 1893, that they founded their own separate club, sharing the course with the men. This friendly state of affairs lasted only four years, however, as the men departed the scene to a new nine-hole course on Gloom Hill near Castle Campbell (below). They joined forces again in 1906 and it was a woman, the Countess of Mar and Kellie (left), who drove off to open the first eighteen-hole course in Clackmannanshire. Partnered by club-maker Ben Sayers from North Berwick they played in a match against Lady Maud Warrender and Lord Chelsea. (Note: The ball used by the Countess was mounted on an ornamental piece and although the original ball has been lost the very impressive and valuable ornamental mounting remains in the club to date. Click here to view)

It was Ben Sayers who had been invited to take over the design and layout of the new course after a well known greenkeeper of the day, a Mr Dickson, went off halfway through the work to take up a post at the famous Irish links of Portmarnock. One of the features of Sayers’ layout was an absence of bunkers because he realised the natural contours and small plateau greens cut out of the hillsides were difficult enough. The course starts off with two par-3 holes, the second having gained the reputation as a card killer despite being only 97 yards from tee to green. However, the shot is a blind one, virtually straight up a steep 40-50ft bank and it is not unusual in dry summer conditions for the ball to roll back down the hill and finish up further from the green that when it started! The course remains united being shared by both Ladies and Gentlemen but the Ladies retain their independence as a separate club.
(With extracts from the Alloa Advertiser - 12 February 1990)

Dollar's Progress to a Viable Future
The Drive to Survive - 4th August 2009
Click here for the full story

A Well-travelled Merchant's Cup Medal

There was a visitor to Clubhouse on Sunday 14th August 2011. He was a Mr George Gullen of the USA bringing with him a medal that last saw Dollar some 91 years previously! It was the medal awarded to his Grandfather, Mr George S. Gullen, as winner of the Merchants Cup in 1920. Pictured below is George, at the club, with the medal and the Merchants Cup, still competed for today, and which trophy remains in the Club Trophy Cabinet. George's Grandfather was one of twelve children who grew up in Dollar. Sometime around 1920 George S. and his older brother John S. (who was also a winner of the Merchant's Cup in 1908 or 1909) went to America where John became the Professional at Waccabuc Country Club and George became the Superintendent. They remained at the club until the 1950s.


For a brief history of the Waccabuc Country Club and the part played in its development by the Gullen brothers, originally members of Dollar and who emigrated to the USA in the 1920s
CLICK HERE

Fact or Fiction?
Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled 'Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden'... and thus the word  GOLF entered into the English language.

    1896 – THE CONCERNS OF THE LADY GOLFERS ...
On 6 June 1896 Mrs Alice P Gibson, Hon. Treasurer of Dollar Ladies’ Golf Club, wrote to Mr Willie Park of Musselburgh seeking his advice. The letter enquired whether it was permissible for the Lady Members to have “gentlemen friends” acting as caddies. Mr Park (pictured left) drafted his reply on the back of Mrs Gibson’s letter and stated that it was “quite usual" for a gentleman to carry a lady’s clubs and to coach her in a competition. In the postscript of her letter it is noted that Mrs Gibson stated that she had been purchasing clubs from Mr Park for the Dollar Ladies’ Golf Club for four years. Could this be the earliest reference to the Ladies’ Club? Mr Willie Park Jnr was Open Champion at Prestwick in 1887 and Musselburgh in 1889. Both he and his father were from golf’s leading family of the 19th century and thanks are due to Mr Mungo Park of Gloucestershire who forwarded a copy of this letter to Dollar. He had found it in the proof copy of the second edition of “The Game of Golf” written by his great uncle - Willie Park Jnr.


To see a copy of Mrs Alice Gibson's letter and the draft reply ........ CLICK HERE.

TOP PROFESSIONALS AT DOLLAR

Pictured (L-R) are Ted Ray, Sandy Herd, Tom Ball and George Duncan.

Click here for the full story

GOLF GYMKHANA - 10th SEPTEMBER 1910.


Gymkhana Day
Pictured above are just some of the villagers who turned out in force for the Dollar Golf Gymkhana held over the course on Saturday 10th September 1910. A programme of ten competititve events starting at 2 pm continued until 5 pm. First off was a Mixed Foursome played over six holes followed by stroke play competitions over nine holes for Gents and six for Ladies. Throughout the afternoon there were long driving and "Approaching Competitions" (nearest the pin ??) as well as Clock Golf, Golf Bagatelle and a Klondyke Competition at various single holes. Entry fees were from two (old) pence to six (old) pence and the prizes included silver boot & shoe clips, barometers, safety razor, hat pins, tea tray, pocket knives and silver timepieces. There was a candy stall and Afternnon Tea was served from three pm to six pm. Names of the winners have not been recorded.

Most people play a fair game of golf – if you watch them - Joey Adams

“DOLLAR BRAE – A WEDGE TOO FAR”

The following abridged extract is taken from the Glasgow Herald of 8th May 1990 and was written by Douglas Lowe on the occasion of the Club Centenary.

Dollar sounds like the kind of place American billionaires might live, a Dallas with an honest name. The golfers there spoil the fantasy by declaring the stakes at a round one pound, a Scottish one, on a course of the ultra-traditional variety. Except there is not a bunker in sight. They will tell you that this Clackmannanshire town’s name is a corruption of the French word, doleur, meaning gloomy, which is the feeling you get when your tee shot at the par-3 second fails to reach the green at the top of a near cliff face no more than a wedge distance away. Not even the sheep, which have occasional grazing rights, dare to tread there. The hole is called “Brae” (hill), which is putting it mildly, and the length is given as 97 yards, which could also be the height. Another theory is that the name Dollar is derived from the ancient Celtic word dal-aird, meaning “vale amid the hills”, which sounds more plausible, because the history of the place stretches back to the fifteenth century when it was a stronghold of the Clan Campbell, whose castle ruins peer down imperiously from the Ochils on the first green of a club which is a mere infant at 100 years old. Dollar is one of the hundreds of honest, straightforward kind of clubs, about which we tend to hear little in the wake of the billions of pounds spent during the wave of golf course enterprise in Scotland over the years.

“You will have time for a full round. It only takes two-and-a-half hours,” insisted Centenary Captain Jim Brown (left) who in the same breath reminded companions that his handicap had just risen to 17. The French word for this, I believe, is “banditisme”. Indeed, two-and-a-half hours was exactly the length of time it took for a four-ball, which was a refreshing change from the four hours plus which is becoming the norm at more celebrated venues.

Like all self-respecting Centenary clubs, Dollar have been digging into their history, and one unlikely fact uncovered is that the club at one time was a hotbed of trade unionism. In 1908, the caddies went on strike for an increase from sixpence to ninepence a round. The then Dundee Advertiser, in a leading article, commented: “It is satisfactory to find trade union principles percolating downwards in this fashion, and it promises well for the movement years hence”. One wonders if the perils of negotiating the cliff at the second had anything to do with this dispute. Certainly, you have to carry your own clubs nowadays, and this hole, which would surely rank as one of the most controversial in the world if more people knew about it, is there to stay at least for the time being. The committee have decided against altering the layout on the sound grounds that it is part of the character of the 5242-yard course which is hilly, short but testing, scenic, good fun and well kept by a greens staff of just two. Dollar was the first 18-hole course in the county, its layout completed by Ben Sayers, who thought the contours and trickiness of the greens did not require bunkers. However, its prominence declined with the development of larger courses. There are now fourteen courses within twelve miles. Not surprisingly then, Dollar has no waiting list with visitors warmly welcomed and well catered for in the congenial clubhouse.

As for the Dollar pound, the result was an honourable half and I retract the remark about the Captain’s handicap!

THE BIG MATCH AT DOLLAR

From the Dundee Courier 13.6.1921:
On Saturday afternoon E. Ray (left) and H. Vardon (right) played an exhibition game over the beautiful 18-hole course at Dollar. The weather was bright, with a stiff westerly breeze blowing.
Ray was frequently strong with his drives, and at the sixth (today's 8th), going downhill with the wind at his back, he overdrove the green, his ball going out of bounds. Vardon got down in 4, and at this point Ray was one up.
Vardon had a beautiful drive going to the eighth (10th); his ball came to rest about a yard from the pin. He missed his putt, but, holing out in three, squared the match. Going to the ninth (11th), 445 yards, Ray had a perfect 4 and turned one up. There was a succession of halves at bogey score till the fifteenth, where Vardon just missed getting a 3 and brought the game level with a 4. Ray slightly overdrove the seventeenth (290 yards), and holed out in 4 to Vardon's 5, who was weak both in his approach and putting. The last hole was halved in 4, and a fine game, watched by a big crowd of spectators, finished with Ray one up.
A medal round was played in the afternoon. The first three holes were halved in par play. At the fourth Ray half topped his drive and pulled a long iron shot, getting on the green with his third. Vardon was over the green in two and won with a 4. After that Vardon fell away a bit. He was inclined to be too strong with his approach shots, and although he had several times hard lines in just missing the hole with his putt, he was not putting as well as Ray. At the 13th (5th) Vardon had decidedly bad luck, his second shot bounced of the edge of the green and going out of bounds. At the tenth (12th) Ray holed a ten-yard putt, and at the eleventh (13th) a four-yard putt, while at the next hole he almost holed a thirty-yard approach shot. The Bogey score for the course is 77. Scores:-
E. Ray - Out, 434543435-35; in, 433533344-32=67 (Securing the course record at the time)
H. Vardon - Out, 434455535-38; in, 454743443-38=76
Both players expressed their high appreciation of the course, and remarked on the excellence of the turf and the quality of the greens.

Notes
Harry Vardon (1870-1939), British, won six British Open championships (1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911, and 1914). Rated by many as second only to Bobby Jones, he was known for his accurate drives and for his introduction of the overlapping grip. He won the U.S. Open in 1900 and over 60 important golf tournaments before retiring in 1934. A trophy named for him is awarded each year to the American or British professional with the lowest scoring average.

Edward R. G. (Ted) Ray (1877 - 1943), British, is best known for losing a play off for the 1913 U.S. Open with Harry Vardon and the winner Francis Ouimet, he won the British Open at Muirfield in 1912, and the U.S. Open at Inverness (Toledo) in 1920. He played several times on the Ryder Cup team for Great Britain, and captained the side in 1927. He was known for his prodigious length off the tee, though his ball often landed in awful lies. His recovery powers were said to be phenomenal and cartoonists usually caricatured him with a niblick in hand, festooned with clumps of heather and saplings, with an inseperable pipe clamped between his teeth.

DOLLAR CADDIES ON STRIKE

A strike of a rather novel nature is going on in Dollar just now. The caddies on the local golf course have struck work for an advance on the present rate of payment, and this has caused considerable inconvenience to members and visitors. It is understood the present rate is 6d (3p) per round, and the boys are desirous of having it increased to 9d (4½p). The boys congregate daily near the entrance to the course, but refuse to caddie to any one who will not pay the "Union Wage". "I'm a ninepenny man", is the rejoinder when a golfer makes application for their services at the old rate, and two "blacklegs" have had rather an awkward time of it at the hands of their colleagues. One youth who had been cajoled into doing the round in the hope of getting the higher fee grew suspicious towards the close, and finally dropped his bag at the penultimate hole and refused to go further until full payment was made. The Committee of the Golf Club have posted up a notice requesting members and their visitors not to exceed the recognised rate for caddies.
Extract from local newspaper Aug 1908

DOLLARBEG CHALLENGE CUP - 1907

This cup, open to the ladies clubs in Clackmannan and Kinross, was again won by the Dollar ladies with an aggregate of 253, made up of Miss Annie Laurie (1) 81, Miss Gardener (10) 85 and Miss Maud Strachan (5) 87.

Extract from the The Alloa Advertiser of 100 years ago

Dollar Golf Club - There is a reasonable ground for indulging the hope that this club has entered upon a new lease of life. In common with most inland greens, the Gloomhill course has been a victim of the modern deluge, and the at one time scanty herbage has lately flourished with semi-tropical luxuriance. Thanks to the kindly and generous initiative of Provost Fischer an arrangement is likely to become to whereby the rankness of the grass may no longer prove a barrier to the indulgence of the Royal and Ancient Game. The move to reduce the subscription to 5 shillings for artisans and apprentices is a step in the right direction, and will no doubt be freely taken advantage of by those who it is designed to benefit.

SEVERAL families have come to Dollar from different places to spend their Easter holiday and to enjoy the exhilerating and bracing hill air and no doubt the attractions of the beautiful golf course.
(Courtesy of the Alloa Advertiser)

'A Golf Addict among the Scots'
George Houghton, golf addict, traveller and writer has played golf courses countrywide and recorded his opinion on every one. Dollar was not a lot different when he played it some years ago other than that it was a mere 25 pence a round!
Click here to read his views


Dollar Museum
Just next door to the Golf Club is the Dollar Museum. It retains a lot of the Club's memorabilia including ducumentation and equipment. There is much of interest there and a visit is highly recommended to all members and visitors.

Click here for the Museum website.

ANNO DOMINI

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