The Course Extension


ON Monday, September 25, 1906, in the hall at the Municipal Buildings, the Club held a meeting in private where the desirability of an 18 hole course was discussed.


The outcome was that the Club decided to go it alone, to extend the course and worry about the finances later – an appeal would be launched to the townspeople and a number of fund raising events were to be held. For any shortfall a loan would be taken out to cover the costs.


The services of Jack Morris, nephew of Tom Morris, the designer of the original nine holes, would later be engaged to layout the additional holes and to reshape the existing format.


George Morris, ‘Old Tom’ Morris’s older brother, was greenkeeper of Carnoustie. As well as this role, he was a clubmaker and known for golf course architecture. As a result he was invited to design the first holes at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake). On this visit south he took with him his son, Jack.


Jack was to remain at the club in overall charge, doing this from his shop behind the close by Royal Hotel which also acted as the clubhouse. He was to become the highly respected club professional and to complete the remaining holes of the 18 hole layout.


At Hoylake he coached the great amateur John Ball, owner of the Royal Hotel, who became the first amateur to win the Open in 1890. In the heyday of Jack's career as a player he had as a caddie, a stiffly built little fellow to whom Morris always explained the finer arts of the game as they went round together. That caddie is better known today as J. H. Taylor, the five times British Open Champion.


Jack was persuaded by the Club to come to Ramsey to design the 18 hole course extension after Mr W Farrie of Troon had let the Club down. Jack didn’t disappoint, producing an 18 hole layout that would receive many plaudits.




Draining of the bog


LAND over which the extension would sit encompassed the fields adjacent to the existing course and the marsh land, often described then as ‘the snipe bog’, on the far side of the Crossag Road (sic).


It is quite amazing that by March 1, 1907, the Ramsey Courier was able to report on the progress that had been made in the preparation of the new course. To such an extent that the drainage had been completed, the greens formed and top dressed. Hundreds of loads of spoil had been carted to the ground to fill up holes and make a level course. The report adds that as soon as weather permitted the whole course would be rolled and ready for play by Whit weekend.


Things were definitely looking up, the AGM was presented with a healthy balance sheet with income now at £208 and money in the bank standing at well over £50. Tickets issued to visitors during the year totalled 658, a satisfactory increase on 1906.The Secretary, Mr Fergusson, was singled out for plaudits. His efforts on the course and in the running of the Club were much appreciated. He in turn, recognised the assistance of Messrs Dawson and Midwood.


Remarkably, although not meeting the hoped for deadline of Whit weekend, the new course was ready for play on July 13. An amazing feat given that it was all done by human endeavour without any mechanical or other assistance except for the efforts of a loaned horse!


The exact amount of drainage work that was put into the ‘snipe bog’ can be clearly seen in the photograph taken at the time, with drainage centres of as little as six feet.





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