Centenary golfing milestone marked by historical donation
Golf Aberdeen, part of award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen, is celebrating a historical golfing anniversary this month with the help of a kind donation.
April 2021 marks 100 years since Balnagask Golf Course reopened after a period of closure during World War One and local golfer and sanddollar café co-owner, Garry Millard, is helping the charity to celebrate the centenary milestone by gifting a historical golf club to the course.
The century-old club (a mashie iron, the modern equivalent of this being the 5-iron) was designed by Tom Whyte who was the Professional at Balnagask Golf Club around the time of reopening one hundred years ago.
Balnagask Golf Course, which is run by Golf Aberdeen, is widely acknowledged as one of the best municipal 18-hole courses in Scotland. James Braid, Archie Simpson and the Hawtree family all had a hand in carving out the coastal golf experience.
“It is fantastic that we have been able to mark the centenary with this extremely kind and historical gift from a fellow golfer. The fact we are celebrating this landmark anniversary at a time when golf has never been more popular in Scotland highlights our ongoing national affection for the sport and we are extremely proud of the range of golfing opportunities available in Aberdeen City.”Alistair Robertson, Sport Aberdeen Managing Director
Garry Millard commented: “My father-in-law found the club in an antiques shop in Bury St Edmonds. He is a keen golfer and visits us in Aberdeen a couple of times a year and we play golf together. When he realised the club was from Aberdeen, he brought it home last year and gifted it to me and I’m delighted to donate this to Balnagask Golf Course to mark this occasion.”
Balnagask Golf Course was originally opened on the 9 August 1905 by J. W. Crombie MP, however in 1915 membership declined as people got involved in the war effort. The course was officially reopened post-war on 13 April 1921 and since then has proved to be one of Aberdeen’s best loved courses. Golf Aberdeen has invested over £0.5m in the city’s courses since 2014, ensuring that a consistently high-quality experience is available to the local golf community.
Coby Needle, Marine Golf Club Secretary, added: “We are proud to be associated with a course that is such a key part of golf in the north-east of Scotland and I am pleased to be celebrating this milestone. I started Marine Golf Club in 2007 as a small, non-course-owning club, and we have remained active at Balnagask ever since. It is a fantastic course in an excellent location, and a constant challenge – even after all these years there are still holes which consistently defeat me.”
Graham Freeland, Nigg Bay Golf Club Captain, said: “Nigg Bay Golf Club has had a long-standing association with Balnagask Golf Course, around 67 years and it’s fantastic that the course is celebrating 100 years of catering for golfers from all over Aberdeen and the world.
“I have been the Captain of Nigg Bay for the last 10 years and have nothing but praise for all associated with the course. Nigg Bay has been spoilt for choice with great golfers to have graced Balnagask Golf Course. We have seen junior golfers develop into becoming great players and I’m sure the course played a major part in developing their skills.
“The course is a strong test for all who play on it at any time of year. All at Nigg Bay look forward to continuing to enjoy our great association with Balnagask Golf Course.”
Image caption (L to R) Allan Rae Sport Aberdeen Group Operations Manager, Garry Millard sandollar café co-owner and golf club donor and Coby Needle Marine Golf Club Secretary.