putt, sirNicePlaying golf on a historic course is just one of the pleasures of a holiday at Hill of Tarvit,Adam Campbelldiscovered46SPRING 2012HOLIDAYSPhotography:
WWW.NTS.ORG.UK47?I DON'T USUALLY WEAR a waistcoat, jacket and tieand an approximation of plus fours - in my casecorduroyswith long socks over the trouser legs -when I go for a game of golf, but at the Kingarrockcourse on the Trust's Hill of Tarvit property I knowmy efforts will be rewarded.By turning up in period costume ready for a spotof "stick and ball", my reward for getting into theswing of things will be a specially wrapped golf ballwith the playing characteristics of those that wereteed up back in the 1920s.For this is no ordinary nine-hole course, but one thathas been re-created inthe image of the course that wasinstalled on the propertyby its owner, the financierand jute manufacturerFrederick Sharp, in theearly 20th century before itwas turnedover toagriculture during theSecond World War.The idea behind the course, which reopened in2008, is that visitors should experience the game as itwas played almost 100 years ago. It's like golf as livinghistory, complete with hickory-shafted clubs withnames like mashie, niblick and spoon, old-fashionedballs and tees and a miniature clubhouse, the oldForester's Cottage, that is packed with golfingmemorabilia from the period.The proprietor David Anderson, also turned out infull regalia, tops me off with a flat, round'doolichter' cap of the sort that might have beenworn by the Sharps and their friends. He is quick topoint out, however, that unlike practically any othergolf course in the country, when it comes to dressKingarrock doesn't actually stand on ceremony. "There is no etiquette here," he says. "It's like you'rea guest of the family out for a knockabout. We do thisin the atmosphere of fun and relaxation." So whetheryou're a scratch golfer or someone who has seldompicked up a club, you are made welcome. In thatspirit, the traditional rule whereby players have fiveminutes to find their ball has been changed to thehalf-minute rule. "We don'twaste time looking forballs," says David, laughing.I am a passable golfermyself, but out on thecourseI quickly appreciatethat golf of 100 years agobears very little resemblanceto the game of today. The softer balls travel nothing like the distance ofthe modern ball and the hickory clubs, Davidexplains - after I've dug some impressively amateurishdivots - require a different kind of swing. "You'resupposed to swing slowly and stand more upright," hesays encouragingly, but with a knowing smile. It iscertainly a different game from the one played onthe championship courses of St Andrews, a mere 10"There is no etiquette here. It's like you're a guest of the family out for a knockabout"