GOLF IN RAMSEY
GOLF on the Isle of Man has its roots in Ramsey thanks to a retired General who enjoyed the game and chose to live here.
Major-General John Brereton had served in India with The Royal East-India Company, rising from the rank of cadet. Like many officers, he found and fell in love with the Royal and Ancient game there. Upon his retirement in 1877 he returned to the UK eventually settling in Ramsey where he bought the beautiful Riversdale estate, (main house pictured above with The General) on the outskirts of Ramsey living with his wife, Marion, his mother-in-law Jessie Gillespie, four daughters, aged 5 to 15 and sons John and Charles. He had four servants and a governess/teacher for the children.
A nine hole course was soon established on a part of his land however who designed it and built it is not recorded. What is known is that it was not just a pitch and putt. This contemporary report from the Isle of Man Times 1893 shows it compared favourably with the then newly established Ramsey Golf Club course on Milntown Flat:
“A most enjoyable match was played on General Brereton’s private links at Riversdale on Thursday, between teams of four representing North and South Ramsey - Sulby River being taken as the line of demarcation.
Messrs Milns, Dawson, Roose and LaMothe represented the South; and Messrs Wilson, Corlett, Worrall and Crellin, the North. The first round of nine holes was very close and resulted in a tie.
After the teams had been most hospitably entertained to lunch by the genial host, a start was made for the second round, when the Northerners proved rather too strong for their opponents, winning, but only by three holes.
A foursome of was then played, which the North side again won by two holes. The weather was favourable and a highly delightful day’s golf was enjoyed.
The Riversdale links are of a truly sporting character with the hazards far more varied than at Milntown.”
Brereton was to be one of the key personalities responsible for the formation of Ramsey Golf Club and the first President of the club, remaining in the position until 1901,leaving the Island to take up residence in London.
During those 10 years he was an extremely popular and important figure within the club, on many occasions expressing a wish to step aside and let someone else fulfil the role however he was always persuaded by the membership to remain in the position.