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[*]
Dorothy Campbell Hurd
Amateur Golfer (1883-1945)
[Dorothy Campbell]
Dorothy Campbell Hurd
© Golf Illustrated 1915

[13th on the West
Links]
13th on West Links 'Pit'
© Digitalsport UK

[Canty
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Canty Bay, North Berwick
© Digitalsport UK

'Plump in the middle
of the Congregation'

By Dorothy Campbell Hurd
North Berwick Factfile

This extract is from an article first published in Golf Illustrated in August 1915. Dorothy remembers the long hot summers living in Inchgarry House overlooking the 18th tee on the West Links, North Berwick.

The North Berwick links which lay between our house and the sea is very narrow and the holes lie parallel on a strip of land which seems barely wide enough to allow play in even one direction. There a little rocky cape juts out into the sea and on its sloping sides are the first and seventeenth holes - "Pointgarry Out and Pointgarry In."

Of course there was no golf played there on Sundays and on that day our favorite spot, Pointgarry, saw a different scene, as a children's service was held in the afternoon just at that place amongst the rocks where an overstrong approach to the seventeenth would have fallen plump in the middle of the congregation. I fear that I heartily disliked those services for were not our mornings spent in a stuffy church with windows hermetically sealed where we sat on the hardest of pews and listened to endless expoundings of the most involved portions of the old Testament.

The days when there were big matches were red letter ones for us as our nurse generally yielded to a little coaxing and would take us to follow amongst the gallery for the last two holes. The first of these that I can remember was a tie for either the New Club or Tantallon Club medal between the late A. M. Ross, a very well known Scottish golfer of the old school, and Jack McCulloch, afterwards my brother-in-law, who about that time published a clever little book called "Golf in the Year 2000."

I cannot remember anything about the play in this match but very fresh in my memory is the awe and admiration I felt for people who could do anything well enough to be followed by a crowd so large that it had to be kept in order with a rope!

In 1905, Dorothy Campbell played for the British team that beat a U.S. squad led by the Curtis sisters, six matches to one.
[Dorothy Campbell]
Equally keen was our disappointment when our favorite was beaten. As several clubs played their tournaments there, hardly a week during the summer passed without at least one match which hundreds of people would follow.

I have often been told that my devotion to a club and ball began at the age of two when I used to disport myself on the links outside our garden gate attired in the then fashionable stiffly starched attire of babyhood. It was then that the late Robert Chambers, head of the famous Edinburgh publishing house told my mother that I should be a great golfer some day a harmless pleasantry that hugely pleased her although a Sassenach and one whom to this day does not know a niblick from a brassie.

At that time North Berwick was very different from what it is now for its sudden popularity in the early nineties shook it out of all semblance to the peaceful, sleepy, picturesque place as I like to think of it still.

Then it was just a straggling long line of red sandstone houses set down haphazard on the East Lothian shore, unchanged since a couple of decades before when Robert Louis Stevenson used to build a bieldy spot on the shore and hold his playmates spellbound with his wonderful tales, as they munched green apples by the light of a smoky "bouat."

The links then were principally as Providence had fashioned them, with perfectly natural bunkers and a great many little hills and hollows which made excellent hazards. They were on common ground as far as the third green where the Dalrymple and Hamilton-Ogilvie properties "marched" and were divided by a stone wall.

Past that one could not go without paying a shilling to the peri at the gate, one Anderson, known generally as "Bob" although I do not know whether that was his real name or only a reference to the coin he demanded. His son afterwards came to America and was made professional to the Oakmont Country Club.

I believe that the first woman who played on the links at North Berwick was Miss Violet Chambers and I have often heard my mother say that she was almost mobbed when she first started as the sight was such a surprise to the conservative people of the town.

Later on the daughters of the English Church clergyman took it up and gradually enough people became interested to warrant the making of a ladies' course: which was shortly afterwards laid out in a field of a few acres, to the west of the Marine Hotel. I was not made a member until I was twelve years old and until then had to be contented to play with our faithful nurse, Marion McSwan, on the small links relegated to the caddies. This was a course of the roughest description, with holes innocent of tins or even of flags and whose only caretakers were the cows who occasionally condescended to browse there. Sometimes we would mark out a little course of our own on the wet sand after the tide had gone out, our playmates at that time often being Lady Victoria and Lady Isabel Kerr, Young Cameron of Lochiel, the children of the Duke of Montrose and other children none of whom ever became distinguished on the links but who died very bravely in Northern France or cheerfully gave their husbands and brothers to do so.

I have only got a very indistinct recollection of the first real match I ever played which is not surprising as I was only five years old at the time. It was a two ball foursome in which I had as partner a Mr. Arthur Dewar, who was afterwards member of Parliament for some place in Scotland, I forget exactly where.

The course was considerably shorter than it is now as its Western boundary was the Eel Burn but before the end it seemed painfully long to me, as I was so weary that I had to be carried on my partner's shoulder between shots. Even so, with the inherent stubbornness of the Scots we finished our round and actually won the match on the eighteenth green. Somehow this performance did not find favor in the eyes of our nurse, for after I was tucked up in my crib that night I heard her confide in the under nurse that she would like to take the nose of my recent partner and 'gie it a guid pull through his hair for such daft-like capers!'

Notes
Robert Chambers mentioned above, built St Baldred's Tower as his residence and was captain of Tantallon Golf Club (1880-88). His granddaughter Violet Chambers was the best lady golfer in North Berwick in the early 1900s. She often spoke at meetings about the appalling conditions for those working in agriculture and the fishing industry. Under her married name of Violet Tweedale she wrote several books on her favorite subject of spiritualism. Dorothy also mentioned 'Bob' Anderson collecting the green fees at the March Dyke. She was referring to Tom Anderson the head greenkeeper and his son Thomas Anderson Jnr who was pro at Oakmont C C, Pennsylvania in 1913-15. Dorothy Campbell's first husband was a member at Oakmont during this period. No mention of Tom's brother Willie Anderson, four times winner of the US Open - maybe by 1915 when the article was written, Anderson was history.

Copyright © Douglas C. Seaton 2012, All Rights Reserved.