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. He is pictured (right) outside the Royal Liverpool clubhouse in his later years. Drainage 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. Extension opening The official opening of the course, reserved until the Annual Golf Week in August, was Monday, 5th, at 2pm, by His Excellency the Governor, Lord Raglan. Although as the report below shows, such was the volume of traffic making its way to Ramsey that day, he was late. The report in the Ramsey Courier captures the day and the mood pervailing so well it would be sacrilege not to offer it in its entirety: “On Monday afternoon an interesting function took place at the Ramsey Golf Links, which cannot fail to have a beneficial effect upon the future prosperity of that northern watering place. The occasion was the opening of the extended course, also the new clubhouse. As is well known there had been constant complaints in the past about the congestion of the links, which was the primary cause of the extension of the course from nine to eighteen holes and Monday’s ceremony was to celebrate the completion of this important undertaking and it is needless to say, that much satisfaction was expressed when it became apparent that His Excellency the Governor had kindly consented to perform an opening ceremony. There was a large and influential, even a brilliant assemblage, one worthy of the event and amongst those present were many well-known votaries of the game, habitué’s of the links and many members of English golf clubs. The links are highly spoken of and are in first class condition. As to the position and aspect in the midst of lovely and picturesque surroundings, they are altogether unique and the club and accessories leave nothing to be desired. By the kind courtesy and permission of Colonel Herbert Hughes, CMG, VD, (pictured below with Lord Raglan), the splendid band of the 1st York and Lancaster Regiment camp at Milntown, was present and played delightful selections of music to the enjoyment of the visitors, under Mr J Tait, bandmaster. When His Excellency arrived, accompanied by Mr JM Cruickshank, who is President of the Club, the band struck up the National Anthem. After, conversing with Colonel Hughes, who was present and others. The first club The High-Bailiff, (Mr JM Cruickshank) speaking from a position overlooking the first green, briefly indicated the plan under which the extension had taken place. Ramsey, he said, had the honour of having introduced golf to the Isle of Man. They were the first club to start and had their links before any other club. General Brereton had some private links at Riversdale but it was chiefly due to the influence of the late Mr Bruce they were enabled to start those links. But nine holes proved to be quite insufficient to cope with the demand made upon them and it became manifest at once if they were to hold their position as a watering place, it was absolutely necessary to have the links extended. The congestion became such that they could not expect golfers to come and wait hour after hour for a turn, consequently an effort was made to extend the links. Looking at the pretty prospect now, and the verdant meadows, had they seen it six months ago, last November, they would never have thought it possible to bring it into the condition it was now. One of his Irish friends, who was a golfer, said: ‘I am sure many a snipe has been shot at here’, because it was a veritable bog (laughter). He thought now they had been able to make such an extension as would please the most captious critic. But all this of course, could not have been done without a considerable expenditure of money. On the drip – like the churches They had, therefore, gone on the credit system, like the churches (laughter) which were never happy except when in debt and seeking to relieve themselves by means of a bazaar (renewed laughter) and the Golf Club were copying from them. They were having a bazaar and would have had it this year were it not that they had many good friends amongst the Roman Catholic and the Methodists who had helped them from time to time and who were having bazaars this month. They, therefore, thought they could not enter into competition and consequently decided to defer the golf bazaar until next year (hear, hear). They had had promises of support of all interested in golf in order to help them in getting out of the debt necessary incurred in laying out the extension. He could not but bear testimony in the most emphatic manner that it was owing to the exertions of Mr Edward Dawson (left) and their energetic Secretary, Mr Fergusson, that they had been able to carry on the Club (applause). It was to a great extent due to the efforts of these two gentlemen they were indebted for the extended links. Horse power They had also to thank Mr WC Worrall, because he had given them a horse, which they still had the use of and without it they could not have got on at all. The old horse was working still, doing good work and he hoped Mr Worrall was not going to ask for it back again (laughter). Then they would take all they could out of it. The links originally were laid out by the veteran Tom Morris and the extension by his nephew, Jack Morris. They had, however, taken some liberties with the links as laid out by the veteran and his nephew. They were not beyond receiving hints even now as to further improvements. They had good golfers present that day and would be pleased to receive any hints they could give them as to the improvement of the links. In conclusion he asked his Excellency to declare the extended links open (applause). Lord Raglan, who was greeted with applause, said that he thought the first thing he should do was to make two apologies. He had to apologise for being late but that as the boy said, was not his fault but the other fellow’s (laughter). The fact that the traffic on the line was so great he had difficulty in getting his car and then he was delayed in getting here, therefore it was not his fault. In the next place he had to apologise, because being asked to open the golf links, he had to confess he was not a golfer (laughter), Recipe for golf Take a little earth, make a mound, place a ball on the top and hit it or not as the case might be. That he understood was golf (laughter). He was afraid he could not hit the ball because his education had been neglected, though he supposed he would have to learn before he could lead off but he might come there on another occasion and do so, when he saw how they went on with their new course at Ramsey. When the High-Bailiff had told him what they had done, he could not help but feel sorry that the snipe bog had been spoilt and in its place golf links had been made (laughter). He felt under the circumstances he had no right to offer an opinion on that particular subject but they ought to get to business as soon as possible. He did not know who had been selected to drive but he hoped he would drive an enormous distance (laughter). He had much pleasure in declaring the new golf links open (applause). Offer of lessons Mr FM LaMothe proposed a hearty vote of thanks to His Excellency for coming there that day, no doubt at considerable inconvenience. His Excellency had told them his education in golf had been neglected. But as he done them the honour of opening the extended links, perhaps he would pay them the compliment of coming to learn how to play the game. He would not be the first Lieut. Governor who played golf there. A predecessor of his, Sir West Ridgway, seemed to have a sort of predilection for the game and gave it a considerable amount of attention some years ago. However, they were all delighted to see His Excellency in Ramsey and whether he was a golfer or in other capacity, he would always be sure of receiving a very hearty welcome there (applause). Major Dickson, in seconding, begged, on behalf of the Ramsey Golf Club, to thank His Excellency for the honour he had done them by his presence there that day (applause).Governor, a writer not a golfer The High-Bailiff said it was customary on such occasions to present the opener with a silver-mounted golf club but they had taken the liberty to depart from the tradition because as His Excellency had told them, he was not a golfer. Instead, therefore, of presenting him with an emblem of this game, he had to present His Excellency with a silver inkstand, which, he trusted would be more useful than a silver-mounted club (applause). His Excellency thanked the mover and seconder for the vote of thanks and the Club for the presentation to him of that extremely beautiful inkstand. If he could not golf he could write, though very few people could read it when he had written it (laughter). Sometimes, he could not read it himself. Still he had no doubt if he came along enough to Ramsey he would not only learn to golf but to write (laughter) which again would be beneficial to those unfortunate people who had to read his writing (laughter). He thanked them very much. Mr WR Hogg, scratch, Trafford Park, Manchester, led them off with a splendid drive, in the place of His Excellency and went round the links. The Regimental Band played several charming selections.’ A handicap competition followed the opening. JD Ferguson, Dublin, returned the best score of the 60 entries with 81-8, 73. That evening a concert was held in the Pavilion. (The Pavilion has long been demolished, circa 1958. It stood on Queens Drive and apart from the hall, boasted tennis courts). New course received well The new course was proving to be a great success with big entries into all competitions following the official opening. It was just as well the Club had 18 holes, there is no way the amount of entries could have been accommodated on the old layout. A 18 hole stroke competition for men followed immediately after the opening, the Tuesday saw a 36 hole stroke competition for men, followed by a ladies 18 hole strokeplay competition and on the Wednesday, the most successful foursome competition ever held on the links was played over 18 holes. Competitions in the following weeks continued the trend.
 1907 The course extension
 RAMSEY GOLF CLUB, BROOKFIELD, RAMSEY, ISLE OF MAN, BRITISH ISLES IM8 1AA Telephone: Secretary 01624 812244. Professional 01624 814736. email: ramseygolfclub@manx.net