#3: St. Boswells Golf Club
After the challenge of Cadrona and the wind, we decided to try what is described as ‘the most picturesque of courses on the banks of the Tweed...’ St. Boswells Golf Club. It is located on the road to Dryburn Abbey and I have passed it several times and always longed to call in for an ‘emergency nine’ holes. So today was the day, and it did not disappoint.
St. Boswells’ Lady Secretary Sue afforded us a warm welcome. It currently has approximately 40 active lady members. Women are an important part of the club and have more than equal playing rights. She graciously gave me a book on the history of the course, and it seems the course land itself was originally acquired through a lady, Mrs. Scott of Lessudden House. Mrs. Scott had advertised grazing land to rent, so a committee was formed and Willie Park Jr from Musselburgh was hired as its designer. It officially opened on August 25, 1899.
Then it was a walking only course, but now St. Boswell's offers the hire of both pull trolleys and buggies. However, this lady likes to carry, and Sue confirmed the course was an easy and pleasant walk. So, again, happy to be on the first tee, I started with a smile.
As I weighed up my club selection on the first tee, there was a couple of local gentlemen there as well. And although they were happy to follow us off, we insisted that as locals they go first.
They were grateful and pointed out to us to be careful off the tee: ‘Dinnae go left, lass’ was the advice! It seems that they have a ‘local rule’ that if you go left, you have to pay a pound for disturbing the cattle in the adjacent field! Here is the notice:
I did take a ‘wee look’ in the Charity Box at the Bar when we finished our round. It seems like not many locals go into that field!! I guess the reputation of the Scots parting with their money carries onto the golf course as well. The cows, it appears, are safe from flying white balls.
The course begins with this challenge to avoid the 'coos' on the left and the Eildon Hills in the distance on the right as the second tee sends you down the hill to the banks of the River Tweed. It is quite hard to keep one's focus on the first green straight infront of you, but somehow I managed.
Here is the view to the right off the Ladies Tee:
St. Boswells IS a beautiful course. It has two par 5’s for ladies and many short par 4’s that are par 3’s for men. I wished my husband had been there for I thought I might have out scored him on a few holes.... So I’ve made a mental note to be sure to return with him soon.
Most of the holes are tree lined on one side and flanked by the beautiful banks of the River Tweed on the other. I came dangerously close to being caught by both on several occasions. No more so than the 6th hole. It is long par 4 that drops down into a shallow, but hidden, gully. As I approached my second shot, I realised that I had made a gross error by not checking what was there. My ball was dangerously close to a deep water hazard! I thanked my luck and moved onto the next tee.
On the 7th tee, we noticed a single gentleman playing behind, so we offered to let him play through us. He gratefully accepted and then he said to me, ‘You know, if your ball had gone in, it would not be the worst. Last month we had a member with an electric push trolly who forgot to turn it off. He had to watch from the 6th green as his electric trolly and all his clubs went straight into that pond. It was quite a chew on to get his clubs out and it certainly ruined his round.’
Here is the view from the 6th tee as Ann is teeing off. The water hazard is hidden down the right: watch out!
We finished off our round chuckling to ourselves about how you would get a trolly out of the pond!
So while we didn’t break any course records at St. Boswells, we certainly had a delightful day. The course is in great condition with superb greens. With its back drop of the Eildon Hills and the River Tweed, Willie Park Jr has really designed a fun course. The clubhouse is delightful and the members are very welcoming.
In summary, this Lady of the Links thinks St. Boswell’s should not be missed.
Footnotes: The course is 9 holes and if played twice the Ladies Yardage is 4910 with a par of 79. It has many challenging par 4's and there are not many bunkers on the course...or at least I didn't find many! The tree lined fairways seem to attract balls, but somehow manage to push them out to just the right places. It was only the unseen water hazard on the 6th that caught us off guard.