A tragedy occurred on the Kingholm Links resulting in the death of 12 year old David McKay who was accidentally killed after being struck by a golf ball in April 1894. As a result of this the committee decided to lease ground at Summerhill and an amicable arrangement was reached with the owner Mr J W Whitelaw for renting 36 acres of land at £110 per year to provide a nine hole course which was laid out by Willie Fernie.
In 1895 a 6 hole golf course was condescendingly provided for the women and juniors between the present first fairway and the wall of nearby Jessiefield Prison.
In 1930 the committee managed to lease land on the Pearmount side of the course and the first open competition to be played over the new 18 holes in 1935 was the Barbour Cup which is still a hugely popular competition.
Some years later in 1949 the Summerhill part of the course was purchased and financed by debentures and private bonds from members. As recently as 1976 the Pearmount part of the course was acquired at the cost of £46,000, largely financed through bonds from members a most generous grant from the Scottish Sports Council of £10,000.
In 1994 the committee purchased two fields from a local farmer, thereby increasing the par of the course from 68 to 70. This also increased the existing par three 9th to a par four, and eliminated the par three 15th, replacing it with the new par four 10th.
The first professional attached to Dumfries & Galloway Golf Club was the aforementioned Mr Willie Fernie, who in 1883 won the Open Championship at Musselburgh. The previous year Willie was runner-up in the same competition when he was beaten by a single stroke in a play-off with Bob Ferguson, incidentally the same player was beaten by Willie Fernie the next year. Willie is also the only Open winner to record double figures at any one hole, his card included a 10.
Willie came back to Dumfries to tremendous public acclaim to lay out the Summerhill course in 1894, the club moving there a year later. Willie also provided for many years the services of an assistant club maker for the Dumfries Club, so essential in the days of the old gutty ball and the wooden hickory shafted clubs which were prone to splitting under impact.
The golfing talent was certainly to be found in the Fernie blood, all five of Willie Fernie’s sons became golf professionals, two of them taking up appointments in America.
Willie Fernie was undoubtedly the D&G’s greatest golfer.