History

Uphall Golf Club has a long history.  It was founded in 1895 with the course being built on land called the “Burn Parks” leased from the local Houston Estate at the yearly rent of £30.

Who designed the course cannot be established but it appears that it was done before the formation of the actual club. The initial membership totalled 43 who each paid ten shillings and sixpence for their annual subscription. Sherriff Shairp the local landowner of Houston estate was elected the first honorary president.

Sixth Green (now sixteenth) circa 1912 with wooden hut clubhouse in the background.
Sixth Green (now sixteenth) circa 1912 with wooden hut clubhouse in the background.

All the greens were on natural contours with most being on inclines. There were no bunkers, and fences protected the greens from the resident sheep and cattle population. The rough was uncut and in the height of the season reached three feet in height.

The early years were difficult for the club and it was not until Captain Cumming of Houston House convened a meeting in the village to resurrect the club that things for the club started to improve. The fees were halved to attract new members and in 1905 the course was formally re-opened.

1912 Courier Trophy winners Uphall Golf Club
1912 Courier Trophy winners Uphall Golf Club

Captain Cumming left the village two years later for an appointment in England but presented the club with a Silver Cup on his departure which was used as the championship trophy and latterly became established as the Club’s premier match play trophy, the Cumming Cup.

The clubhouse at this time was no more than a small hut with small windows and sat where the modern equivalent sits today. A new Clubhouse was erected in 1923 on the same site.

The opening of the new clubhouse, July 18 1923
The opening of the new clubhouse, July 18 1923

In 1921 Dr R H Thomson was elected President of the club and held the office until 1959 when his son Dr Ian was elected his successor. He resigned this post in 1965 and was accorded the position of Honorary President.

During the first fifty years or so the club saw little change and it was not until 1951 when some land to the west of Houston House became available that the club started to develop. Two holes were built on the new land and the course was altered but kept at 9 holes. Eleven years later more land was leased which allowed the club to plan and build another 9 holes. Now that the club was to have 18 holes it was anticipated that there would be an influx of new members so steps were taken to plan and build an extension to the clubhouse. In the spring of 1964 the 18 holes were opened for play and the new clubhouse was completed.

The club now started to prosper and by 1971 the membership stood at 269 gents and 23 ladies. A pint of beer was 12.5 p and the annual subscription was £10 for gents and £ 5 for ladies. In less than ten years it was realised the clubhouse extension was too small and plans were made to demolish the building erected in 1923 and build a new one on the same site. The building was completed in 1975 and was opened by Dr Ian Thomson on the 16th of May.

The course continued to improve and by 1978 the club realising the worth of the course purchased the land at the huge cost of £39,750, the negotiations taking almost 4 years to complete.

Over the years many trees have been planted and the course looks somewhat different now to what it looked like thirty years ago. The first fulltime Greenkeeper David Winton was employed in 1971 at £22 per week and since then the staff has grown to a complement of 5 with an annual wage bill in excess of £70,000.

In 1980 the first Uphall Open Golf Competition was introduced and was named “The Cameron Bowl” after its sponsor The Cameron Iron Works of Livingston. It proved very popular throughout the region and the handicap limit was reduced from 9 to 6. This saw the introduction of more open competitions and now there a total of 6. The course is a regular venue for County events and has on several occasions hosted Lothian’s competitions.

The membership continued to rise and in 1990 a special meeting was held to discuss the building of a new clubhouse. Plans were made and by 1991 the new building was completed giving members a wide range of improved facilities. Gordon Law became the first Professional to be appointed at Uphall Golf Club when he accepted the post in 1991. His shop was enlarged in 2004 when the latest clubhouse extension was completed.

The clubhouse in 1995
The clubhouse in 1995

The last ten years has seen much needed improvements to the course with replacement greens being constructed at the 3rd 16th and 17th holes and the bringing into play of the tree plantations throughout the course.

Improvements are ongoing with the 11th green being rebuilt in 2010 to USGA specification featuring 3 new bunkers making the only par 5 on the course more demanding!

New bunkers have been added to the 5th and 12th Holes to make those short par 4’s a little bit more difficult.

The course was reassessed in 2011 and the course CSS has now increased from 67 to 68.

Further course enhancements are ongoing as we pursue our strategy of continual improvement.