Bute to stage world’s oldest surviving inter-club event just years after it almost folded
A SCOTTISH club is looking forward to staging what is believed to be the oldest surviving inter-club golf tournament in the world - just a few years after hungry livestock from a neighbouring farm brought it to the brink of closure.
Bute Golf Club, situated just seven miles from Rothesay on the west coast of the island, has been chosen to stage the Firth of Clyde Trophy, an event organised by the Associated Clubs of Clyde, whose patrons are former Ryder Cup captains Sam Torrance and Ben Crenshaw.
First played for in 1899, the event has been contested continuously since then - with the exception of the war years - and features teams representing Skelmorlie, Rothesay, Port Bannatyne, Gourock, Millport, Largs and Kyles of Bute, as well as Innellan, Blairmore and Strone, Cowal, Routenburn, and this year’s hosts Bute.
The five-man team event takes place this June and will cap a stunning turnaround in the fortunes of Bute GC.
As recently as 2009, the course was left fighting for its existence after livestock, from a neighbouring farm with grazing rights, devastated the links.
Since then, the club has enjoyed sole occupancy of the land and the committee of management has embarked on an ambitious programme of restoration and renewal, which has cost more than £40,000.
The improvements include major investment in all nine greens, new tees and the installation of the links’ first three bunkers. The first hole has also been completely reshaped to form a right-to-left dogleg, with a new water feature put in to guard the approaches to the green.
All of these improvements have reinvigorated the club. Golf has been played there for 127 years, with ‘The Sleeping Warrior’ mountains on Arran forming a spectacular backdrop to the course.
One of Scottish golf’s true ‘hidden gems’, Bute GC is also served by an old wooden clubhouse, built in 1911. There is no staff; just an open door to the wooden lockers of yore and the time-honoured ‘honesty box’ where visitors are expected to deposit the sum of £15 for a day ticket.
For more information on Bute Golf Club, log-on to butegolfclub.com