April Launch For 450 Years of Golf in Montrose
In 1562, a Montrose schoolboy, James Melvill, wrote in his diary that he’d been taught how to use ‘the glub for goff’ on Montrose Links by his school master, Reverend William Gray. Exactly 450 years later, golf remains the favoured activity on Montrose Links – and this is to be celebrated in the Angus town from April 2012 onwards.
Montrose 450, as the year of celebration has been named, will highlight this historic milestone in the town’s golfing history and will feature several special events on and around the Montrose Links’ golf courses -Broomfield and Montrose Medal, one of Carnoustie Country’s Open qualifying courses and the fifth oldest golf course in the world.
The fascinating history of golf in Montrose over the last 450 years is littered with anecdotes. For example, in 1629, the Marquis of Montrose abandoning his young bride only days after their wedding to play golf on the Links; 18th century gentry betting massive sums on a round played at night; and the golfers’ struggle over the centuries to save Montrose Links from the plough.
David May is chair of the group representing the three Montrose golf clubs organising the year of celebration. “Montrose 450 will kick off on Monday, 2 April, with a re-enactment of James Melvill and Reverend Gray’s 1562 game of golf on Montrose Links,” David revealed. “Golf may well have been played in Montrose before then but James Melvill’s note in his diary is the first recorded mention of the game in the town.”
The 450th anniversary celebrations will continue on Friday, 13 April when former Women’s British Open Champion Catriona Matthew will officially open Montrose Medal’s redesigned 11th hole, which has been extended to 450 yards. In addition, Ms Matthew will be conducting a golf clinic, providing local and visiting golfers with opportunities to pick up tips from one of the UK’s top golfers.
On 28 April, Montrose Museum’s 450 Exhibition will open and will run until 16 June. This exhibition will cover 450 years of golf in Montrose and will also feature a variety of golfing photos and artefacts from the Angus Museums Collection, Montrose golf clubs and members of the public.
In June, a Weekend of Celebration will take place, with golfers from across the UK participating in golf competitions and other special events to mark 450 years of golf in Montrose.
Jason Boyd, PGA golf professional at Montrose, explained that there will be several Montrose 450 golfing competitions during 2012, including a Pro-Am Tournament on 21 July and an Open Week, sponsored by Astute, from 23 - 27 July. “During the Open Week, around 300 golfers – Gents, Ladies and Juniors – will compete over five days,” said Jason, who added that, on October 6, the customary end of season Open Tri-Am Tournament will include the closing ceremony for Montrose 450.
As well as celebrating Montrose’s golfing past, Montrose 450 aims to promote golf’s future through a series of initiatives designed to encourage and support young golfers. “The Legacy Project is a key aspect of Montrose 450,” said Jason. “This will include the Junior Open Day, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and Montrose Round Table, which we’re hoping will attract young golfers from all over Angus, and also the soon-to-be opened, redeveloped pitch and putt course at Montrose Links.
“Thanks to GlaxoSmithKline funding, junior golfers won’t have to pay to use this course, which should help to ensure Montrosians’ 450-year love affair with golf continues for another 450 years.”