Was this play in the first ever Dispatch?

John Jones believes this could be a photograph of the inaugural Dispatch Trophy competition
John Jones believes this could be a photograph of the inaugural Dispatch Trophy competition
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Compared to lots of other golf tournaments these days, the Dispatch Trophy can still attract a decent crowd for the final.

One would certainly be guaranteed if Harrison and Silverknowes won their respective semi-finals this morning to set up a mouth-watering title showdown in the 116th staging of the Edinburgh Leisure-supported event.

But, as pictures unearthed by John Jones in a junk shop in the Capital show, the team tournament for amateurs was once watched by the sort of galleries that are only evident these days at European Tour level.

“While looking through an old family photograph album in the shop in Victoria Street, I came across a group of images showing golfers,” said Jones, who shares a passion for collecting old photographs of Edinburgh and life in the city with writing.

“Apart from the ‘Braids 1890’, there was nothing to say what the event was or who featured in them, but it was evident from the number of spectators in attendance that it must have been a fairly important occasion.”

The Scotsman reported that, on competition days in the early years of the Dispatch Trophy, there was “little elbow room around the greens” and that “most of the local ‘cracks’ were playing.”

Jones, whose grandfather by the same name played in the event subsequently for one of the Braids clubs, cannot say for certain that the photographs he now owns are from the inaugural event in 1890.

But he added: “They do have some relevance because they show what the course looked like at that time and allows us to see how players and spectators dressed then.

“It is also worth remembering that these photographs were taken in the days of unmanicured golf courses, sand in boxes for teeing up, wooden-shafted clubs, gutta percha balls and stymies were still in play.”

Details of ‘A Storm in A Tin Cup’, a book penned by Jones about a hapless golfer and the depths to which his game can sink, can be found on www.johnnyjones.co.uk. “It is doing well,” said the Bruntsfield Links member.