Weekend of celebration

David May is pictured accepting the �250 donation towards this weekend's celebrations from Gwen Ritchie.'Staff photograph

David May is pictured accepting the �250 donation towards this weekend's celebrations from Gwen Ritchie.'Staff photograph

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MORE than 450 golfers are set to play over Montrose Links this weekend as part of the main celebration marking four-and-a-half centuries of golf in the town.

On Saturday the players will be joined by four very special competitors, who will represent golf on the links through the centuries.

Teeing off at 11am will be one of the town’s first golfers, a 16th century innkeeper represented by Links Trust chairman Alan Crow.

He said: “My character preferred to play the ‘short’ version of golf as it only required a basic golf club. The more refined ‘long’ game called for a more sophisticated ‘glub for goff’ and tended to be favoured by the wealthier members of Montrose society.”

The women of Montrose were amongst the first ladies in the world to pick up a golf club so Montrose’s 16th century golfer will be joined by an Edwardian lady golfer, played by Ashley Alston.

The third golfer will be John Littlewood, who will be take the guise of a pilot, one of the many who, in between learning how to fly at RAF Montrose before World War Two, would relax with a game of golf on Montrose Links.

David May, chairman of the Montrose 450 committee, said: “The golfing heritage of Montrose Links provides a fascinating insight into the game and also the history and people of Montrose.

“Yet it’s vital that, as well as celebrating our wonderful golfing past, we also ensure the continued success of the game by encouraging young golfers, which is why Montrose 450 includes several initiatives aimed at junior and novice golfers.

“And that is also why the final member of this historic foursome will be Ryan Spark, a junior member of Montrose Mercantile Golf Club as this represents the future of golf in Montrose, which, with high numbers of local youngsters taking golf lessons, playing on the pitch and putt course and both Montrose courses, is certainly looking promising for the next 450 years.”

The event is one of a series being held throughout the golfing season including a Pro-Am Tournament on July 21. The celebrations will close during the end of season Open Tri-Am Tournament on October 6.

This weekend’s events were also given a financial boost this week by local business Robert Ritchie, which donated £250 to the celebrations.

Welcoming the donation, Mr May said: “I’m delighted that one of our own local companies is so supportive.”