A Golf Club with a Pedigree and Looking to the Future
Kirkcaldy Golf Club came into existence in the latter part of 1904. At an open meeting on 26 September a Committee was formed and one of its first decisions was to invite “old” Tom Morris of St Andrews to advise on the layout of the proposed site for a course. On the basis of his report the Committee entered negotiations with the local Laird for the lease of ground – the land on which golf has now been played for well over 100 years! Whilst Tom Morris advised on the layout of an 18-hole course he recommended that the Club should begin with a 9-hole course – this was to allow for the harrowing, grass seeding and rolling of those fields where the turf was not immediately suitable for play. Things moved quickly and a 9-hole course was ready for play by the end of November 1904.
The full 18-hole course was opened in May 1906 with a new clubhouse, to replace a temporary structure, opening in late August of the same year.
Duncan v Vardon
An exhibition match between George Duncan, at that time the last Scotsman to win The Open, and Harry Vardon of the Vardon grip and 6 times Open Champion, took place during 1914.
Panton & Morgan v Brown & Lindsay
In 1957 an exhibition match involving leading Scottish professionals John Panton and Eric Brown was held. Panton was the reigning British Match Play Champion and had won the Scottish Professional Championship on 6 occasions. Brown was a former Scottish Amateur Champion and current Scottish Professional Champion. Panton was partnered by Jimmy Morgan, 5 times winner of the Club Championship, and Brown was partnered by the Club Champion John Lindsay. The memorable match was watched by several hundred spectators.
In 1964 the Raith/Novar Estate was approached with a plan to swap the Meadows (a part of the original course prone to severe flooding) for the field now occupied by the 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th holes. This was agreed and by August 1965 the new greens were ready for play with the Meadows abandoned in September 1965.
In March 1973 a Special General Meeting was held to consider the purchase of the land occupied by the course from the Laird – this was duly completed with a grant from the Sports Council, a loan from Kirkcaldy Town Council, a levy on members and an increase in entrance fees.
Plans for the upgrading of the Clubhouse were approved in 1976 with the reopening of the Clubhouse on 24 September 1977. Around the same period there were other major changes to the course:
- The re re-routing of the burn at what was then the 18th hole (now the 17th) to run in front of the green of an extended hole.
- Following the acquisition of the ground in front of the Clubhouse, the introduction of a dog-leg to a longer 1st
- The construction of a new 18th hole to provide a finishing hole at the Clubhouse.
Towards the end of 1997 the last major refurbishment of the Clubhouse took place to provide the excellent facilities which are in use today.
Centenary Week Celebrations
The Duke of York visited the Club on 20 September 2004 in his role as the serving Captain of the R&A Golf Club. After lunch he played a foursome over the course which was being swept by a westerly gale at the time. His Royal Highness reported that he had “thoroughly enjoyed playing the course for the first time, even if the conditions were more than a little blowy!” and thanked the Club for providing “an excellent lunch”.
The course already provides a challenging and rewarding golfing experience with scenic views, well-manicured greens and testing tee positions. Kirkcaldy Golf Club is not, however, complacent and is continually looking at ways to further improve the course and facilities for all who come to play. As part of a comprehensive 5-year plan, developed through the active participation of members, it is planned to introduce a driving range and improve the current practice facilities.
For a detailed account of the History of Kirkcaldy Golf Club please download our publication ‘ Kirkcaldy Golf Club 1904-2004’