History of North Inch Golf Course
The Scottish town of Perth has played an important part in the history of golf. Whether or not it can claim to be the home of the first recognisable course – “Beasley’s World Atlas of Golf” asserts this of 6 holes on the North Inch – it can undoubtedly claim to have been amongst the first locations at which the game was played. This is confirmed by royal enactments in 1450; King Robert II forbade the playing of golf on the Inches, urging people instead to practice archery in preparation for an invasion from south of the border!
The North Inch course itself has had a long and steady evolution. In 1803 it had only six holes on the southern part, ironically on the only portion of the Inch which today is not part of the golf course. In the early 1860’s the course was then extended to 12 holes.
Not until 1892, however, were there 18 holes with the first tee in the south-west corner of Atholl Street and Rose Terrace, and the home green close by. The extension of six holes was made possible by the acquisition of the “Muirton Field” from Lord Mansfield. This was courtesy of funds put up by James F Pullar, a keen golfer and frequent contributor to the cause of local golf as detailed in the minute books of the Perth Artisans Golf Club. The additional holes were laid out by the legendary Tom Morris of St Andrews, who himself had played the course in competition. Unfortunately problems in the late 1890s resulted in a further curtailment of the course in 1897, and it was not until 1927, after a gift of land from John Dewar, that it became an 18 hole course again. In the interim there was a basic course of 6 holes, with an additional six coming into play on the “peninsula” each summer on the authority of the Town Council. “Rounds” very often consisted of two series of 12 holes.
In 1935 Reverend T.D. Miller recorded of the North Inch:
“In respect of the putting greens and the course itself, the mower and roller are continually in operation, and the greens are made to look like billiard tables, most of them without slope or undulation. It is very different from 50 years ago, when even the scythe and the spade were seldom used on them.”
Hopefully today’s visiting golfers will agree that the current standards resemble more the course of 1935 than that of 1885!