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Antique Golf Clubs from Scotland
Scottish Golf History


Monifieth: Buying the links by bazaar: 1899
(Source: © 2000, Douglas MacKenzie)

Bazaars were quite often held at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century to raise money for golf. We have seen records of this happening in Braemar, Biggar, Carnoustie and, in this case, Monifieth. The Monifieth Golf Links Bazaar was held on the 28th – 30th September 1899 (contrary to what the booklet itself says) to raise £4000 so that ‘the Golf Links of Monifieth may be consecrated to the public use and enjoyments for all time’. It is particularly appropriate to write about the bazaar this month as a presentation copy of the bazaar book is being auctioned at Phillips in Chester with a guide price of just what the original bazaar sought to raise !

Members of the bazaar committee were obviously confident because they had spent their own money in advance to buy the links and, as the introduction in the bazaar book has it, this ‘betokens a confidence in the revenue-yielding power of the bazaar’. The event was opened by Arthur Balfour, later to become prime minister, and the golf-mad politician who did much to popularise the game.

The need to buy the links was as a result of the Earl of Dalhousie being offered money by a developer to build houses on the links (the same was the case with the Carnoustie bazaar). T Carlaw Martin, who wrote the introduction to the bazaar book, takes up the tale, no doubt with moustache bristling in indignation,

‘For many decades –thanks to the grace of the noble family of Dalhousie and the courtesy of the Panmure club, the custodians of the green – the golfer of Tayside has put the links to their foreordained purpose obtaining much salutary exercise and bracing exhilaration therefrom. Conceive, then, the consternation when the mere manipulator of stone and lime appeared on the scene, threatening to plant houses where the far-driven ball had freely rolled. No wonder, as in the days of the London ‘prentices, the rallying word was “Clubs !” Speculative builders doubtless have their uses in what Omar terms the “sorry scheme of things”, also their due place on the planet. On the golfing green their presence is abhorrent, and their works a desecration. Nature cries out against them, and this Bazaar, enforcing the cry, proposes to stall off the invaders, thus preserving to futurity the Links in their original charm and for their predestined ends.’


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