The small town of Thornhill lies in the Nithsdale valley, along the main A76 road between Sanquhar and Dumfries, where it nestles between the Carsphairn and Scaur hills to the west and the Lowther hills to the east. It’s here that the local golf club was established back in 1893, with members honing their golfing skills on a 9-hole course.
It was reported in the St Andrews Citizen on 20th October 1894 that Old Tom Morris would travel to Edinburgh to lay out a course at the Barnton Estate, followed by a journey to Tayport to extend the course at Scotscraig, before heading to the south of Scotland the following week “for the purpose of laying out courses at Thornhill and Lockerbie”.
When extra land became available from Buccleuch Estates in the mid-1970s, a small committee was set up – including professional Marshall Douglas and Greens Convener Jim Boyle – to steer the club through the process of doubling the size of the course.
Original holes 1 to 5 on the old course became holes 10 to 14 on the new course and the old 9th hole became the closing hole on the new layout, with greens from old holes 6, 7 and 8 incorporated into the new set up at holes 2, 16 and 17.
When completed, the new layout offered a fine blend of heathland and parkland golf holes. The course measures 6,102 yards these days and it plays to a par of 71, with three par fives on the card at holes 2, 15 and 18.
A round at Thornhill starts with a 153-yard par three hole then there’s quite a gap until the next short hole is encountered at the 156-yard 8th. The toughest hole on the outward half is the 450-yard 4th, “Orra Green,” where out of bounds runs along the right and a ditch cuts across at an angle 100 yards before the raised, two-tiered putting surface.On the back nine, where most of the older moorland holes are situated, the 148-yard 14th is a delightful par three, with its three-tiered green located behind a low stone dyke, It’s followed by the signature hole at Thornhill, “Peat Sheugh,” a testing par five requiring a long carry across a pond and wetland area to a narrow fairway that dog legs sharply left.