The Clubs and Societies of the North Inch
There are currently six clubs who play their golf on the North Inch: The Royal Perth Golfing Society, The Perth Artisans, The Perth Merchants, Perth Ladies, The Letham Club and the Perth Railway Golf Club, but there have been many more societies and informal groups who have played here over the years.
The oldest of the remaining clubs is the Royal Perth Golfing Society which was founded in 1824 at which time the course was on the South Inch rather than the North Inch. The club was the first ever to be awarded ‘Royal’ status in 1833. It was believed that when St Andrews was later awarded Royal status that they insisted the words “and Ancient” be added to the title to show that they were the older club – therefore we have the “Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews” to this day (or the R&A as they are known). The Royal Perth and the Royal and Ancient Club of St Andrews still play each other every year in what is thought to be the oldest continuously held team match in the world!
Also important to the history of golf on the North Inch is the King James VI golf club. Originally founded in 1858 when the North Inch was taking over form the South Inch as the main venue for golf in Perth, The King James VI club was born out of a demand for a second club in Perth. The two clubs played together on the North Inch for around 40 years before the King James club moved to its present location on Moncrieff Island in 1897.
The largest of the clubs on the Inch, The Perth Artisan Golf Club, has been in existence since 1879 and currently resides behind the 2nd tee in the clubhouse which was purchased for the grand sum of £564 back in 1936. As their name suggests, the Artisans were originally a club for men who worked with their hands and among its founding members were Andrew Forgan the club and ball maker from St Andrews who would also go on to be the green keeper at North Inch.
The Perth Merchants Golf Club was founded in 1905 and were similar to the Artisans in that they would traditionally work on a Saturday, therefore the preferred day for golf was a Wednesday when they would work a half day and play golf in the afternoons. This tradition of Wednesday competitions continues today although they also reserve tee times on Mondays and Fridays for their members.
The Perth Ladies Golf Club has been in existence since 1928 and are a small but well organised club who do a great deal to attract new golfers to the North Inch whilst the Railway Golf Club and The Letham club are smaller societies and more recent additions but both clubs have full fixture lists on the Inch throughout the summer and their competitions are always well attended.
There are many more clubs and societies , formal or informal, which have come and gone throughout the years, some of which are still around in other guises, others that have moved on to new courses, but all have played a part in the history of golf on the North Inch.
Golf Over Two Inches – I H Cairns