Club History 1875 – 1885

It is thanks to the Ice Age that Muir of Ord finds itself in a great flat plain. As the glaciers melted, vast quantities of sand and gravel were spread out creating a well-drained market stance for the drovers of old.

It was on this unpromising land in 1875 that “the pioneer of golf in the north” Mr Alexander MacHardy, Chief Constable of Sutherland (later Chief Constable of Inverness-shire) and ex-Provost Birnie of Inverness first planned “The Muir” 9-hole course.

This Market Stance area was multipurpose, still hosting markets as well as other sporting activities in the early days. Lord Lovat, reportedly a keen golfer, may have joined Messrs MacHardy, Birnie and others for rounds of golf on this course.

In 1883 Lord Lovat offered this land to Mr MacHardy and his golfing friends for the formation of a golf club and the Inverness Golf Club was founded at a meeting in the Caledonian Hotel, Inverness on Wednesday 14th November 1883. On Saturday 17th the club played their first game on the Muir of Ord course. “The weather was favourable, and some sixteen gentlemen took part in the ancient and interesting game. A number of onlookers assembled and watched the proceedings with great interest.” (Ross-shire Journal 23/11/1883)

By March 1884 the course had “been put in very good order for the game”. Most members at this time came from Inverness and travelled to the course by train. There remains to be seen a break in the dyke alongside the railway line at the second tee and senior members recall hearing that the train used to stop here, by special request, to allow golfers disembark.

Soon frustration at the distance took hold and by October 1885 Inverness Golf Club had opened a new course at Culcabock in Inverness. They continued however to use the course at “The Muir” for a number of years. This was at least partly to do with problems with exclusive use of the Culcabock market stance which was temporarily “abandoned in consequence of the incursions of shinty players” (Scottish Highlander 12 Apr 1888), and problems later at the Longman course opened 1893 and abandoned 1898 (Inverness Courier 29 Nov 1898).