Sconser Golf Club was formed at a meeting held in Sligachan Hotel on 23rd November 1964 and the course was later constructed on a piece of land leased to the club by Ian Campbell of Sconser. Shortly afterwards Mr Campbell found himself in conversation with Neil Maclean, a fellow Skye man who was a surgeon in Glasgow. Mr Maclean suggested that a medical colleague of his was also an avid golfer, who had represented his country at international level and who, if approached, might be willing to assist in the project.
Dr Frank Deighton, a former Walker Cup player, was then asked by Mr Campbell to design and lay out nine holes for the purpose of playing golf – a challenge he enthusiastically accepted. As the course developed Mr Campbell generously allowed members to use part of one of the outbuildings beside his house as a club room - the original 1st tee was near the site of the present 7th tee. George Gibson - a founder member of the club who lived in Portree but now resides in Inverarnie - remembers the early days. He said that there were no fairways as only tees and greens had been partially prepared and he recalls with some amusement memories of cutting the greens with a hand mower on balmy summer evenings - barefooted!
Over the next 20 years the club grew and became established. In 1984 the land was purchased from the Campbell family and a fence erected to remove the sheep which had traditionally grazed on the course. Electric fences, which had been installed around the greens to prevent damage from the animals, became a thing of the past. Mr. Alastair MacDonald, Sconser, was employed as a part-time greenkeeper. Mr MacDonald's son, Donnie, eventually became our full time greenkeeper up until the early 2000s.
Mrs Margaret Foskett (nee Maclean) – a founder member from Sconser township, and one of the original ‘gang of four’ who approached Mr Campbell to discuss the idea of creating a golf course - remembers some disquiet in her family as she prepared to attend the inaugural meeting to form the club. Some of her close relatives had sheep that had grazed happily and undisturbed on the site of the course for many years!
Two years later mineral extraction on the shore (beside what is now the 2nd/11th fairway) resulted in significant coastal erosion and threatened part of the golf course. Thankfully remedial work was carried out, the problem was resolved and no further damage has been done to the course.
At about the same time, and as tourism was becoming more and more significant to the economy of the area, it was felt that the club's identity required clarification. In 1987 Mr Murdo Beaton, who was then Secretary, proposed that the name of the club be changed from Sconser Golf Club to The Isle of Skye Golf Club. This proposal was approved at the AGM and the present club officially came into existence. Mr Beaton also became the first member of the new club.
In 1988 the present clubhouse and car park were constructed with the help of MacFarlane Builders and the playing order of the holes was amended to its present day layout. Dr Deighton was invited and graciously accepted an invitation to return to the island to open the new clubhouse and did so in some style, launching the ceremonial drive from the tee just in front of the new building.
Ten years later and once again, as interest in the club and golf in Skye and Lochalsh continued to bloom, additional land was purchased with the aim of creating an 18 hole course which it was hoped would attract more visitors to the area. A funding submission was prepared and submitted to the Sports Lottery Fund but unfortunately, as the government funding resources were reduced, the criteria for financial assistance changed. So too did the general economic situation and gradually and sadly the proposal became unrealistic.
In 1999 a tearoom and small golf-related shop were created in the clubhouse and, with seasonal stewards on site. With this enhanced facility, the club was able to increase revenue from members and visitors alike.
Today the Isle of Skye Golf Club has around 150 members and employs one full-time greenkeeper and one part-time seasonal assistant to keep the course in excellent condition. Three ‘seasonal’ stewards are employed in the clubhouse to take green fees, process memberships, hire clubs and trolleys and sell sweets and soft drinks.
However by far the most popular items for visitors are the club’s own-logo golf merchandise products which are hopefully used as souvenirs to remind people of their pleasant experience of playing a round on the picturesque course at the Isle of Skye Golf Club in Sconser.
In conclusion - when contacted recently about the club's anniversary, Dr Deighton was delighted to hear that his creation had stood the test of time and requested that we pass on his very best wishes to all involved with the celebrations.
Dr Deighton, our golf course designer, passed away peacefully on 23rd February 2018 aged 90.
His daughter, Nicky, and her husband ,Justin, contacted us to see if we were available to meet with them at the clubhouse prior to their scattering Dr Deighton's ashes on the golf course. On Thursday 5th April on behalf of the club we did so and spent some time with them both before and after the ceremony.
Nicky produced a scrapbook of memorabilia relating to her father's golfing exploits and we were pleased to see included some photographs of the clubhouse opening ceremony, some other photographs of him in action (one with Jack Nicklaus), one of our scorecards/course maps and a 'cutting' from the WHFP edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the IOSGC.
Both Nicky and Justin have been captivated by the club and the island itself and are very much looking forward to visiting us from time to time in the future.
With many thanks to John Marshall and Ian Marr