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Course History

The evolution of Dumfries and County Golf Club was linked to the burgeoning demand for golf at the beginning of the 20th century and the inability of the one club in the town Dumfries and Galloway Golf Club on the other side of the River Nith – to meet this demand.  Accordingly, after a short period of intense discussion, the County was established in May 1912 and it very quickly attracted 230 members.


  For the design of the course the Club approached the famous golfer, Willie Fernie, from Kinghorn in Fife, who had a close association with the town, having been the professional at the afore-mentioned Galloway Club when he won the Open Championship at Musselburgh in 1883.


  By the time Fernie returned to the town to lay out the course in land from the Nunfield Estate, he was attached to Royal Troon Golf Club and his architectural pedigree included significant input at Troon, Turnberry and The Old Course at St Andrews.  Fernie planned the course at the County in two distinct loops, both starting and finishing at the Clubhouse and making best possible use of the land available at that time.  This layout has continued to be of great advantage, allowing a two tee start, encouraging speedy play and alleviating course congestion – helpfully addressing two modern-day scourges. In the late 1920s, the celebrated golfer, five-time Open Champion and noted golf course architect, James Braid, suggested a radical overhaul of the course,removing many hedges and ditches, replacing these with his trademark bunkers.  At a stroke the somewhat agricultural hue of the County was removed, to be replaced by a look and design that both Fernie and Braid would still recognize today – a fitting tribute to their architectural skill and vision. 


  Both World Wars saw parts of the course requisitioned for agricultural purposes (principally wheat and potatoes) and following the Second World War, some further land was purchased from the Nunfield Estate to allow for minor course re-design and expansion.  In the 1960s further land was purchased from the adjoining Dalscone Estate and the course was further expanded to its present-day incarnation. The 1960s also saw an ambitious and extensive tree planting programme, precipitating the fine and challenging arboreal picture that the County presents today.


  The course is now encompassed within four distinct boundaries, militating against any further expansion.  While compact in nature measuring just less than 100 acres, its relative lack of length, especially by modern standards, should not be mistaken for an easy challenge. The par of 69 is more than a fair test. The many visitors to the course pass comment on the number of trees and the difficulty attached thereto, and the number of blind tee shots. However, the most consistent response from visitors and also the members is one of appreciation for the quality of the greens.  Some far-sighted planning in the 1990s focused on a programme over a period of time of the re-laying all the greens to USGA standards.  As a result, the greens at the County are as good as will be found anywhere and, indeed, are the envy of many.

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