Caermount Golf Club took itself to the first tee on the Braids in 1924. The Club had been officially founded at its inaugural meeting at 8pm on 17 October 1923 at 17 Springvalley Gardens in Morningside, Edinburgh. Among the office bearers elected for the 1924 season were the first President, J. Forrest Home and the first Captain, J.H. Martin. Caermount was formed so that friends from different clubs could play competitive golf together over the Braid Hills.
The name Caermount is adapted from the Caerketton Hill in the Pentlands, which can be seen from the Braid Hills golf courses. The Club had its own handicaps, organised competitions on the Braids, set bogey scores (pars) for the courses it played and cost 5s/1d to join. The maximum handicap permitted was 25 and a later set of rules mentions that members should be under age 30 at entry.
The emphasis was on camaraderie and competition, as the new Club organised outings to Braids and Gullane No.2 in its first year. The outing to Gullane has continued to this day and the Braids continued until 1991. The Club Championship also began in 1924 and has been the premier competition in Caermount ever since.
The Club also challenged other clubs to matches with Edinburgh Thistle being the first opponents on 29 March 1924 in a 20-a-side match, which Caermount won 9-1. Caermount also entered it's first team in the Dispatch Trophy in 1924, was admitted to the Lothians Golf Association in 1925 and began its involvement in the Lothian Team Tournament in 1926.
Over the first few seasons Caermount went from strength to strength, increasing the number of outings and matches it played. In 1925, JH Martin raised the Club's profile by setting a new course record on the Braids of 67. Formal sweepstakes were introduced for outings in 1926 and the first Vice-Presidents were elected to the club in 1927. Before the days of Club Trophies, the Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Captains would donate cash prizes for most of Caermount outings and competitions.
However by the early 1930s, enthusiasm had started to wane a little and the Chairman at the 1932 AGM asked "Have we come to a parting of the ways?". Fortunately they had not and membership stayed constant between 30-35 for the first ten years before breaking through the 40 barrier in 1938.
Golf wise it was golden decade for Caermount with victory in the Dispatch Trophy for the first time in 1933 and the Lothian Team Tournament in 1938. In 1937, a club tie and colours were introduced and two years later the club's oldest surviving cup, the Adam Trophy was donated. There is no official record of how the Club's colours were arrived at, but the most likely explanation is that they were drawn from the predominant school ties of the membership, namely Edinburgh Academy (light blue), George Watson's College (maroon/red) and George Heriot's (navy).
By now, Europe was descending into World War II. The 1939 AGM agrees to continue Caermount to keep the membership together. "Members who were serving with His Majesty's Forces" were exempt from paying the annual subscription. On a lighter note the AGM also passed a motion to hold all future AGMs on licensed premises.
Outings continued throughout the war years, but all matches and competitions were suspended from 1941 until 1946. Unfortunately, not all members returned to play in them, notably James Home, who died in a Japanese POW camp and John Spence who died after being discharged from the army.
The 1946 season began with the President stating the committee 'would get cracking' to attract young members. Post war golf ran into problems when the distribution of prizes had to be postponed until later in the year "when the golf ball situation might be easier". In 1948, a general lack of petrol in the country resulted in a very low turnout at the Gullane outing.
|On 21 October 1949 Caermount celebrated its 25th Anniversary
with a dinner at the Royal British Hotel. Captain I.M. Buchanan, 22 members
and 7 guests enjoyed a meal and speeches, which must have been good as it
incurred a loss of £1-4-8!
By 1952, Caermount had over 40 members who were obviously keen on their golf. The minutes note that the members arrived at the Braids at 7am to book times for a team match, but were not even first in the queue. The finances of the Club were so healthy, that subscriptions were reduced from £1 to 15/-. The playing strength of the club was very high at this time with 8 members representing the Lothians in 1955 and 6 in 1956. The legendary Ronnie Shade also won the Scottish Boys title in 1956 whilst a member of the club. This was reflected in the Dispatch Trophy, which Caermount won for the second time in 1957.
Scotsman Report Of Dispatch Trophy Win, 10 June 1957
Scotsman Pictures Of Dispatch Trophy Win, 10 June 1957
Evening Dispatch Report Of Celebratory Dinner , 21 October 1957
However, the outings and matches were not as successful and a lack of enthusiasm saw Club funds take a dip and a number of outings cancelled. Serious questions were being asked about Caermount's survival. Members John Slater and Ronnie Seiler wrote to the committee in 1958 encouraging a greater 'esprit de corps' and less reliance on golfing ability. By 1961, the only outing of the year attracted just 8 members and the Club Championship was not completed for the only time.
The situation did not improve much through the 1960s and the state of the Club was such that it would have been insolvent if the Braids outing of 1967 not been cancelled, or the Dispatch team had got past the 2nd round. This was in spite of the fact that the membership was still around the 40 mark.
However the tide started to turn from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s through initiatives run by Ronnie Seiler, John Slater and more latterly Derek Sneddon. The membership lists were reviewed and more active members invited to join. A Caermount Ladies section was formed in 1968 and played a couple of outings each year until 1970. Various social evenings were introduced such as dinners, skittle nights and golf film evenings.
All of these remedies proved to be a just the tonic and a much healthier Caermount celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1974. A celebratory outing was organised over Gullane Nos. 2 &3 on 14 April 1974 to mark the golfing anniversary. Afterwards Caermount took the Gullane starters out for supper, who recalled playing for Dirleton Castle against Caermount in former years.
On 24th October 1974 the 50th Anniversary Dinner was held at the BMA House where 72 members and guests included Captain Derek Sneddon, Mr Sinclair, Chairman of Walker Cup Selectors, Mr Raine, SGU President, Mr Simpson, Dispatch Trophy Convenor and the sports editor of the Evening News.
In 1976, the Caermount Junior Section was established for the first time, with Douglas Livingstone as Captain. Their first outing was over Gullane 3 at the Spring meeting of that year and the subscription was 50p. Matches between the senior and junior sections began with the juniors winning the inaugural match. The club jersey was also introduced in this year.
Since inception there had been many dances, social evenings and dinners organised on an ad hoc basis. However the first Caermount Annual Dinner took place on 20 October 1978 at Gullane GC. A bus from Edinburgh was included in the £6.50 per head price to hear Mr H. McGillivray, Captain of Longniddry make the toast to Caermount. The dinner was a success and continued at Gullane for the next couple of years before moving to via the Braid Hills Hotel in 1981 to the Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society in February 1983. It has been held there ever since apart from a couple of occasions where it went to the Roxburghe Hotel in 1984 (repairs at Bruntsfield) and Royal Burgess in 1990 (chair balancing antics at previous year's dinner!)
Membership in 1978 by now had reached 67 and included Ian Lambie, one of five members to win Scotland rugby caps. The first was Ronnie Aitken in the 1950s and the other three were Euan Kennedy, John Rutherford and Gavin Hastings in the 1980s.
In 1983, Caermount handicaps were replaced by national club handicaps following the introduction of the new SGU handicapping system. Members who did not have a national handicap were issued with a Caermount handicap, but this could not be used in official 'Open' events. This year also saw the maximum permitted number of members increase from 60 to 80 and within the three years, the extra capacity had been used, even though the annual subscription went through the £10 barrier in 1986. By 1992 the subscription was £20 and two years later the Caermount bow tie was produced from surplus stock of Club ties.
Throughout its existence, Caermount has sought to support and encourage junior golfers. In 1989, raffle money at the dinner raised £50 for prizes in the Under 16 Lothian Junior Golf Championship. The following year half of the donation was allocated to support the two leading qualifiers from the Lothians who were playing in the Scottish Boys Championship. This donation was raised to £100 and continues to this day. In 1998, the donation reverted to its original format and was used for prizes under the Caermount name at the Lothian Under 16 Championship.
In 1999 the Caermount celebrated its 75th Anniversary with an outing for members
over Braids No.1 with 1920s dress the order of the day. A second outing for
members and guests of the club was held over Gullane No.1 in September. It all
culminated in the 75th Anniversary Dinner in the Merchant Company Hall on 16
October 1999 where around 60 members enjoyed speakers and celebratory refreshments.
As we entered the new millenium, the Club continues to achieve new milestones, with its first ever appearance in the Seivewright Trophy final in 2001, the previous best being a semi-final loss in 1980. Unfortunately the team lost by one hole to the defending champions, Bruntsfield Short Hole. However triumph was not far away and success was achieved in 2003 with the Club's first ever win in the Walker Trophy for the Non-Course Owning Clubs in the Lothian Team Tournament.
2012 saw a return to the success of the early years when the team won the Dispatch Trophy for the first time since 1957 and with strong showings in the other team events recently, we are hopefuly of more success in the years to come.
Caermount currently has around 50 members, 6 annual outings and 6 matches against other clubs. The Club can reflect on a long and proud history of achievement both on and off the course. However as the years go by Caermount continues to adapt to meet the changing times and the Caermount website was introduced in 1998 and the Facebook page in 2011.
However as it evolves, Caermount continues to retain the values that have ensured its success so far and to live up to its motto of 'Lude Ludem' - 'Play the game'.
Past AGM Minutes
2004 AGM 2005 AGM 2006 AGM 2007 AGM 2008 AGM 2009 AGM 2010 AGM
Honorary Secretary Reports
2007 Report 2008 Report 2009 Report 2010 Report 2011 Report