Archive Room

Archive Room TableThe club’s historian and archivist are always very interested in retrieving information and artefacts relating to Nairn Golf Club and the history of golf in general.  The club would appreciate any help from members past or present and any member of the public who may be of assistance with trophies, photographs and any memorable conversations relating to Nairn Golf Club.

Many items have surfaced over the past two years instigating this thoughtful comment from one of our country members.

“It was with the delightful items of marginalia (for example the little card from the late 1940s or 1950s) that so seldom survive that are especially touching.  The little scorecard took me back to childhood in an instant, and with great vividness, for it was so typical of the time, the age; not just the item, but the size, the design and even the print font: such items bring the past to life as only certain smells of childhood that remind us powerfully of the long lost past, or very personal mementoes may do.  Why did such a trifle suddenly remind me of the smell of old-fashioned wet waterproofs in the age before designer labels and the clatter of cleats on stone-flagged locker rooms?”
John Warren

If you feel you are able to contribute please contact the Historian and Archivist at the Nairn Golf Club at

Jottings from the archives

Nairn Golf Club has attracted golfers and golfing interest since 1887.
In recent years an Archive has been created and it is thriving.
The Archive’s location, within the Clubhouse, is now a sanctuary for golfing enthusiasts.
The Archive has bound copies of all Club Minute Books thereby allowing detailed reference to the decisions of the day.
The development of the Courses and Clubhouse and the protection of the land from erosion can be analysed in detail from the available indexed information
The Archive room accommodates an extensive, referenced, library .
Records and photographs are available depicting Competitions, trophies ,collections, pictures and artefacts .
The Honours Boards within the clubhouse testify to the number of National and International Events , which have taken place at Nairn. Details ,about all those events ,are lodged on the shelves and within the cabinets.
Alcoves house displays mounted and changed by the Archivist.These displays highlight matters of particular interest generated by serendipity or occasioned by current news.
Special references, which are present in abundance, point to the work and achievements of pioneering members ,Club Professionals ,Visiting Professionals and famous Amateur golfers.
Patrons and benefactors are acknowledged and lauded.
The published word ,in relation to the special golfing experience, generated by the location, test and ambience of the Courses and Club is both available and increasingly cross referenced.
Whilst the vista from the Lounge is a constant reminder that Nairn may be a special Golf Club, the information within the Archive makes the case for it being unique.
It is intended to draw on these resources periodically, by drafting some jottings.
The following is derived from but a tiny element , of what the Archivists have assembled.
This grateful member is indebted to their vision.

I will start with Viscount Finlay.
Facts about him are recorded in different ways, within the two published Club Histories ,edited and written by Stuart Lindsay.
As members climb to the lounge from the foyer, the first picture on the right, at the bottom of the stairs, depicts Viscount Finlay and lists his achievements, culminating in his gaining high office as Lord Chancellor. He was of course both a benefactor and a founder member of the Club.
The Finlay Cup is a treasured manifestation of his heritage. The building, now called the Newton Hotel , was his Nairn residence.
We are in the midst of daily media coverage of the Rugby World Cup. Those, with an interest, are speculating on which nation will become the 2015 champions, Even those who do not follow the matches are exposed to press briefings about the dangers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy[CTE] and sundry other technicalities.
It was all a little different in the later 19th century.
Robert Finlay was the eldest son of Dr and Mrs William Finlay. He had 2 sisters and six brothers .All seven sons, were educated at Edinburgh Academy. Robert was the only brother who did not play rugby, the others all playing for The Academicals .
Three went on to be capped . Finlay JF, Finlay AB and Finlay NJ played for the Scotland XX against England at Raeburn Place in 1875.The match was declared a 0-0 draw despite Ninian dropping a goal which was “disallowed” under the arcane Laws of the day. Three brothers playing in the same Scotland team is unique. Ninian remains the youngest player ever to be capped by Scotland.
Seemingly Robert , by then Viscount Finlay, recounted a story against himself in 1924.He noted that when delivering an appeal judgement he was aware that the recipient’s attention was wandering.The languid exchange was replaced, however, by profound respect and detailed attention when it was realised that the Lord Chancellor was the brother of a legendary rugby player.
Returning to developments within the Archives. A project has been mounted to recognise the sacrifices made by Club Members in the World Wars.
Teak hexagonal plaques now hang on the wall of the Council Room listing names .They show that two Finlays lost their lives whilst serving.
EL Finlay was killed in Mesopotamia on 20 March 1916 and is recognised in the Basra War Cemetary.He had been a Club member since 21 April 1908
ENA Finlay,a Club member since 1907, was killed in action in France on 4 July 1916.
EL and ENA were the sons of JF and Mrs Finlay.
Members will be able to view the completed Memorial Book in due course .It is a current example of what can be achieved through utilising the resources of the Club Archive.
To finish these random Jottings I have chosen these extracts from the Minute Book of a century ago. They afford a glimpse of Club concerns:-
Committee of Management 7th November 1914:- Submitted letter dated 4th ultimo from the Mackintosh of Mackintosh, requesting the carrying over to next year his entrance fee and subscription, as, owing to his being on Service, he had been unable to take advantage of the course
The committee, while sympathising with the application, refused it on the ground that it was undesirable to create such a precedent
Committee of Management-2nd October 1915:- On the motion if Mr Fairlie, it was agreed that the penalty for “Out of Bounds” be stroke and distance in each case
Submitted letter, dated 13th ultimo by the tenant of Easter Delnies Farm, complaining of damage to his crop by trespass, in search of balls. Remitted the matter to the Secretary to settle on the best terms possible.
Read letter from Messrs Lamb and Co, agreeing, on behalf of Sir Robert Finlay, to the proposed alterations of the 17th and 18thholes .
These extracts afford a glimpse of an exodus of members because of the call to arms, the possibility of local definition of The Rules, clear indications of way ward shots being played and, despite war time constraints, Course development continuing.
Whilst future Jottings may expand on the influence of James Braid, the sporting records of FA Fairlie, the achievements of Jimmy Adams, the contributions of Charlie Yates or the influence of Sam Mackinlay, countless links have yet to be explored. New directions and connections may beckon—.
It is anticipated that the detailed entries in the Cameron and Gordon diaries will continue to provide much collateral information about the extensive, world- wide, golfing network, which holds Nairn in high regard.
The Archive is special and interest is welcomed.

22nd September 2015, Jigger.

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