The Club emerged in 1787 as part of the general conviviality and "clubiness" of Glasgow at that time. But golf had been played in Glasgow without formality from earlier times. It was the organisation that was new. There was no doubt where the Club's golf was to be played - the Glasgow Green - the multipurpose common land. At that time the Green had the varied terrain and climate required for this sport, and since it had many uses and users, including grazing animals, this meant that the grass was short and playable at all times. The Club's eating and drinking was hosted in the local pubs and the first members immediately purchased an impressive silver golf club as their main trophy, to which the winner each year attached a silver ball. But in the troubled times of the early 1800s the club disbanded, as did many other sporting and social societies at this time.
The Club revived in 1870 and the old silver golf club reappeared, having been preserved by the family of a thoughtful member. Soon the Green was unsuitable for skilled play, not only because of the encircling growth of the city, but also because it had been "improved" by the civic authority - it had been flattened in a job-creation scheme during hard times. The club moved from place to place thereafter, leasing new areas away from the city centre, but it finally purchased land and a mansion at Killermont in 1904 to provide peace and security – until recently.
Winter parkland turf was not ideal for golf and the Club is unique in having a second course at Gailes on the Ayrshire coast, giving additional links golf all year round for the members. The ancient and well-known Club that survives today is a high-profile part of the business and professional life of Glasgow. It is financially secure as a result of the long waiting list for membership, but it has attracted criticism for its all-male membership and there are persistent suggestions that membership fails to represent all the religious and ethnic groups of the city.
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