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Golf in Queen’s Park


Glasgow Golf Club was formed in 1787 and they played originally on Glasgow Green. Industrialisation in the first half of the nineteenth century led to a rapid increase in Glasgow’s population, which meant that there was more pressure on the available green space within the city than ever before. Faced with a lack of alternative courses, the Glasgow Golf Club folded in the 1830s.


Some members of the Prestwick Golf Club, formed in 1851, lived and worked in Glasgow and were keen to establish a club closer to the city and so in 1870 the Glasgow Golf Club was reconstituted.


Aerial view of Queen's Park with recreation ground at top right. Photo: Historic Environment Scotland, 1928
Queen’s Park from above with recreation ground at top right. Photo: HES / Canmore, 1928


The recently formed South Side Park or Queen’s Park as it became officially known was the site they chose. Charlie Hunter, the professional from Prestwick, laid out a 9-hole course on the Recreation Grounds but there were no bunkers at this stage. Membership was a guinea per year and a fee of £2 per year was paid to the keeper of Queen’s Park Bowling Club to look after the golf clubs and the greens.


When the first match was played on the 5th of March 1870, Young Tom Morris – the leading Scottish professional at the time and winner of four successive Open Championships by the age of 21 – joined the Lord Provost, the captain of the club and others.


Young Tom Morris (1851 – 1875) Scottish golfing prodigy & champion
Young Tom Morris (1851 – 1875) Scottish golfing prodigy & champion


The course would not have compared favourably to courses of today. Lawn mowers had recently been invented but those would have been used only on the greens. The grass on the fairways would still be very long and would need to be scythed but somehow the golfers managed and in 1873 they invited another club, Leith Thistle, to play a competition.


Discussions moved on to building a clubhouse and the Parks Department granted permission for a building to be erected but the sport was not as popular in the city as it was on the coast. The club was still relatively small and, afraid of accruing debt, decided to quit Queen’s Park and move to Alexandra Park in the east end of the city which was more affordable.


There is still to this day, a 9-hole golf course at Alexandra Park but Glasgow Golf Club have prospered and moved on to own two courses, one near Bearsden and another on the coast, near Irvine.


There were calls to bring golf back to Queen’s Park when the park was expanded in the mid-1890s but they came to nothing.


By Bruce Downie
Published March 2022


Image credits:

Queen’s Park, Glasgow. Oblique aerial photograph taken facing east, Date 8/8/1928 – Photo copyright of Historic Environment Scotland, Aerofilms Collection. Canmore ID 168587 https://canmore.org.uk/collection/1259303

Young Tom Morris; Wikimedia, Public Domain.


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