Scotland’s Oldest Golf Clubs Gather At Kingsbarns
Kingsbarns Golfing Society is celebrating after hosting a memorable grand match to mark its 225th anniversary. Played over the revered Kingsbarns Golf Links in Fife on a glorious spring day, the commemorative tournament was supported by representatives from some of the world’s oldest golfing institutions.
The special event was organised to acknowledge the first documented reference of the Kingsbarns Golf Club which was recorded in the minutes of the nearby Crail Golfing Society in 1793. The date makes the Society one of only 14 golf organisations to reach this watershed moment.
“It’s a celebration of the fact we’ve reached 225 years, which is quite a milestone,” noted Malcolm Lister, secretary treasurer of the Kingsbarns Golfing Society. “We’re one of only a handful of societies in the world to reach this age, which is certainly something to celebrate. It has been a great pleasure to organise the match and secure the involvement of so many people from the world of golf. The response has been incredible.”
In order to mark the anniversary appropriately, the society invited members from some of the world’s oldest golf clubs and societies, as well as a representative from Crail to play in the specially arranged match. Six golf clubs took part in the event which followed a four-ball stableford format with the best two scores counting.
“Although there have been gaps in our history when the course has been ploughed up or given over to the war effort, Kingsbarns is our spiritual home,” said Lister. “To be able to play this anniversary match over such a fantastic course is a privilege, especially with so many of golf’s oldest clubs being represented on the day. It has without doubt been one of the best days in the club’s long history.”
As well as being its spiritual home, Kingsbarns Golf Links also holds and displays 13 of the Society’s medals and trophies; the oldest of which is the Wilson medal which dates back to 1923. The Society has older silverware by 100 years, but these are stored elsewhere.
Indeed, although golf has been played at Kingsbarns since 1793, play has been interrupted on more than one occasion. During the 1800s, for instance, the links were returned to agricultural use until 1922 when the Kingsbarns Golf Club was re-established. Willie Auchterlonie was then charged with the responsibility of laying out a nine-hole course which was enjoyed by club members and visitors until the onset of the Second World War when the course was again reverted to rough pasture.
“History surrounds Kingsbarns,” says Alan Hogg, chief executive of Kingsbarns Golf Links. “Golf has been played over these links on and off for hundreds of years, so it is our great pleasure to help one of the world’s oldest golfing societies celebrate what is undoubtedly a remarkable achievement. Last year we made our own history by hosting our first Major – the Ricoh Women’s British Open. I am sure we will make more history in the future, as no doubt the Kingsbarns Golfing Society will in the years to come.”
In total, 11 former Society captains played in the match alongside seven ordinary members and six invited guests. The ladies team, which included Crail’s captain Pam Smith, the Society’s immediate past captain Mary Halliday, Seonaid Turnbull and Mandy Turnbull, triumphed with 84pts. After the event, Malcolm Campbell, who represented the R&A, presented the Society with a Quaich to commemorate the occasion.