Iain Macleod, who has been golfing here since the 1950s, completes his trilogy by discussing Bute’s 3rd Course: Port Bannatyne.
Although the youngest of the three Bute courses, Port Bannatyne dates back to the year of the Titanic disaster and celebrated its centenary in 2012. That was marked by a host of special events, including a Centenary Ball in the Pavilion and the launch of the club’s history “But not a Grouse in Sight”. The title refers to the demise of the Red Grouse – though some rabbits remain!
Set on the slopes above the village, the course is now unique in comprising 13 holes; a round comprising the first 12 holes, holes 1 to 5 played again, before a separate 18th. The result is a course of 4306 yards, with an SSS of 66.
The course looks over Kames Bay to Loch Striven and Cowal hills to the east and, from higher up, to Ettrick Bay, the Kyles of Bute and Kintyre to the west.
IBy 1990 the committee was already making plans to address the inadequacies and congestion of the 1974 timber clubhouse. This came to fruition when, in May 1998, a new two-storey brick clubhouse, costing almost £225, 000, some 80% grant-funded from a variety of sources, was opened by Charlie Green OBE, the Walker Cup captain.
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All three Bute clubs are members of the Firth of Clyde Association, with Rothesay being one of the seven founding member clubs in 1898. Port Bannatyne was accepted for membership in 1972, with Bute G.C. following in 2013. All now compete in the Association’s annual Firth of Clyde and ”Wee” trophies.
An additional vehicle for the camaraderie of inter-club competition is the Bute Seniors League, competed for by the clubs’ 55 and over members, on a home and away basis in May and early June each season.
Golfers elsewhere can only look on in envy at the variety of readily-available opportunities for playing and competing on this small island