How We Came To Be
Hayston Golf Club was founded in 1926 amid raging controversy that split the town of Kirkintilloch and it’s community. It all came about because of ‘the demon drink’.
In 1921, after a poll of the 12,000 population, it was decreed that all pubs in Kirkintilloch be closed and that the town should become ‘dry’. Considering that there were 14 pubs and 15 churches, the publicans had plainly been living on borrowed time!
Naturally this news did not please the members of Kirkintilloch Golf Club who liked nothing better than visiting a hostelry for a dram or two after their exertions on the course. Faced with such a fearful loss of amenities, an extraordinary general meeting was called to vote on plans for a new clubhouse and an application and an applicationfor a liquor licence. The motion was narrowly defeated and the disaffected members promptly agreed to form a breakaway club on leased land only a stones throw away, but just over the county line in Stirlingshire.
Thus Hayston Golf Club was born. To add a piquant note, the licensee Tom Pate, was also the club master, the equivalent to today’s secretary and was a lifelong friend of James Braid. So Braid, ironically a non-drinker, was asked to design the course, returning on many occasions to fine tune his original design. What’s more, Braid refused to submit an account on the grounds that it was a personal favour!
However, Tom and the members would have none of that and finally forced Braid to accept the grand sum of £5.00 (approx US$7.00).
Kirkintilloch remained a ‘dry toon’ until a referendum in 1968, long after Hayston had caused further scandal by voting to break the national trend and allow play on Sundays. The pulpits may have been rocking, and the brimstone smouldering, but the new club survived.
Now it prospers as never before and the Braid course, last visited by the great man in 1946, is better than ever thanks to modern green keeping techniques and the strategic planting of 25,000 trees. The site is a mere 72 acres, but Braid showed what imagination could do with a limited canvas – it appears much more expansive. The ground slopes and tilts this way and that, which lends itself nicely to elevated greens, deflecting hummocks and gathering bunkers.
The terrain contradicts the yardage and makes club selection a critical part of playing the course. Although the greens are mainly on the small side, they are very deceptive. Looking generally flat, they can be slippery in summer when they are fanned by the prevailing westerly wind.
The card reads 6,080 yards, par 70, although for most it appears somewhat longer.