Welcome to Rothesay Golf Club
Enjoy a day playing on one of Scotland's most scenic golf courses in a picturesque setting with panoramic views covering the seven Counties surrounding the Firth of Clyde.
Founded in 1892, Rothesay Golf Club was moved, extended and relaid out by James Braid in 1908, with a first tee only ¾ of a mile from Rothesay pier. Over the course of the 20th century most famous golfers played and enthused about the course. The course circles around Canada Hill which at about 400ft gives spectacular views of the Firth of Clude, the Cowal Hills, Lochs Ridden and Striven, the Mull of Kintyre, the isle of Arran and the Ayrshire Hills. The great Walter Hagen played the course and said that the views could not be beaten anywhere in the world.
Only 5419 yards in length, the 18 holes present a very tough challenge to scratch golfers and beginner alike. Ryder Cup stalwart Eric Brown thought the 4th hole one of the most difficult Par 3's in Europe.
Member of Argyll and Bute Golf Union .
Open Competitions 2023
Please be in touch with any questions about upcoming events, membership rates or club facilities.
Rothesay Golf Club, Glebelands Rd, Rothesay, Isle of Bute PA20 9HN
OUR AMENITIES AND SERVICES
Rothesay Golf Club - The Course
Arguably one of Scotland's most scenic, our island course designed by James Braid and Ben Sayers boasts unparalleled panoramic views of the Kyles of Bute, Clyde coast, Arran and the Cowal Peninsula. At only 5419 yards long don't be deceived, Rothesay golf course will present any player a challenge whether it be the rolling par 4's or the testing par 3's where par is always a good score.
Come along and experience island life and its atmosphere. Enjoy a challenging days golf.
Enjoy a relaxing day at our Clubhouse. We offer food and refreshments following your round. The clubhouse is also open to social members of the club. The clubhouse offers a venue for private functions such weddings, birthdays etc. Please contact the club for more information.
A Warm Welcome awaits all Visitors to Rothesay Golf Club
Most of our visitors come back to Rothesay year after year, but whether you are 'regulars' or making your first visit to play our course, be assured that a warm and friendly welcome awaits you. Our Golf Shop Supervisor, Liz is happy to organise your society outings and take care of any special requests for meals, trolleys, buggies etc., and our staff, both on the course and in the Clubhouse, will do their best to make your visit an enjoyable one. Your satisfaction is our aim! We have a friendly Clubhouse, where golfers can enjoy refreshments after a round.
THE HISTORY OF ROTHESAY GOLF CLUB
Most extensive and enhancing views are to be had, embracing elevated ground in no less than seven Scottish counties. The Bays of Rothesay and Port Bannatyne, with the Kyles of Bute and Loch Striven, lie spread out like an extensive lake, which, with on the one hand the sound of Bute and on the other the majestic sweep of the Firth of Clyde from the Cloch to the Cumbrae and Garroch Head present a sea vista unsurpassed for variety and beauty.But only half the tale of loveliness has been told, for on the one hand, there are the grandly rugged peaks of Arran, and, on the other, the tamer but still magnificent hills of Dumbarton and Argyllshire with Ben Lomond crowning the lofty and picturesque range. Then at our feet are the lovely and peaceful Lochs Fad and Ascog - The town of Rothesay with its ancient castle, tapering spires and well-wooded hillsides; and smiling across the bay, the castles of Toward - old and new, with their rich background of pine-clad hill."
A history of Rothesay Golf Club was published in 1992 to celebrate the centenary of the foundation of the club. The history was called "From Westlands to Eastlands" to mark the fact that the club had come into existence on Burgh land to the west of the town, and had, in 1908, transferred to burgh land to the east.
The driving force behind the formation of the club was Mr John Windsor Stuart, factor to the Marquess of Bute, who pointed out the importance of "having a golf course adjacent to a holiday resort like Rothesay."
The ground chosen for a nine hole course was described as "rough uncultured hill ground" behind Westland farmhouse, yet the professional engaged to "lay out" the course, William Campbell, gave his opinion that "the course could be prepared for play in about three weeks time." The pampered golfers of today are entitled to wonder what sort of course could be constructed in such a short space of time, but play on the course was soon in full swing. The "green was opened" by Mr A Graham Murray, MP, captain of the club, on 27th August 1892. Mr Murray, QC, MP, was at the same time captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. There is no record as to which he regarded the greater honour.
In September that same year, Mr Murray gifted a "Challenge Silver Club" (cleek) to be played for by Millport (on the nearby island of Cumbrae) and Rothesay Golf Clubs in annual matches. That cleek has now been competed for between the clubs for a 110 years - probably a record.
The course record for 18 holes on the Westlands nine hole course was to be held by F G or Freddie Tait who in 1894, had established a new course record for St.Andrews, and who was to go on to win the British Amateur championship in 1896 and 1898. In 1895 the Westlands course was new, the greens had not had time to settle, and hazards such as rushes, whins, rocks, muddy ground, dykes, quarries, fences around greens (to keep out cattle), hedges and goodness knows what else had to be negotiated, so Mr Tait probably thought St. Andrews a "dawdle".
Despite the "difficulties" the Westland golfers obviously enjoyed their games, and, unlike the boring vouchers of today, they competed for such interesting prizes as "a handsome dressing-case; a silver cruet-stand of a special golfing design; a three guinea portrait of the winner".
However all good things must come to an end, and, in 1908, the club, being unable to acquire the necessary land to extend to 18 holes, moved to the present Eastands site, with the blessing of the rate payers, one of whom observed "Let the gutty-whackers pay for their sport".
Nevertheless the Council pressed ahead assisted by Lord Bute, and the professional from North Berwick, Ben Sayers was engaged to peg out the new course, some of which was to take in tees and greens belonging to the Glenburn Hydropathic golf course.
Mr.Sayers said (unlike Mr. Campbell at Westlands) that "If work were to begin about December, the ground would be in first class condition by Easter" slow going.
The new course was formally opened on Saturday 30th May 1908, the Town Council having invited James Braid, Harry Vardon, Arnaud Massy and Ben Sayers to play an exhibition match.
James Braid and Harry Vardon were two of the "Triumvirate" (the third being J H Taylor) which dominated British professional golf for 20 years before the First World War.Braid was to win the Open Championship 5 and Vardon 6 times. Arnaud Massy was the first overseas player to win the open and was in fact the holder having won the title at Hoylake in 1907. Braid was to win it in 1908. Ben Sayers took a leading position in the game, both as an exponent and as club maker for over 40 years.It is no wonder that their exhibition match attracted over 2,000 spectators (Imaging what the engaging of such a quartet would cost today?)