History and Heritage
Aberdour Golf Club is over 120 years old and was formed in 1896. Over a period of 5 years Jack Bald, a Club member of many years standing, diligently researched the history of the Club from 1896 to 1996 and authored the book “The First Hundred Years” to commemorate the Club’s Centenary. Our Honorary President, Ron Scott, has compiled a detailed history of the Golf Club based on extracts from this book and from the 20 years from 1996 to the present day. We hope the following will be of interest to members, visitors and those who enjoy the history and tradition of golf.
In 1893 a local committee explored the creation of a Golf Club in Aberdour and locating an appropriate site.
In 1896 a 3 year lease was obtained for land on Couston Farm on the Western outskirts of the village. £300 was raised through a Village Bazaar to fund construction of the course. Yearly rent for the 40 to 50 Acres was £50 and the farmer retained the right to graze sheep.
In 1896, the first Annual General Meeting of the Club elected Rev. W.H. Gray Club Captain. Membership in the first year was 62 gentlemen, 16 ladies and 3 youths. Willie Park of Musselburgh helped to design the 3,105 yard, 9 hole course at Couston Farm. This was considered fairly long as most players only had a driver, brassie, cleek, mashie and putter. The first course record was 80 over 18 holes. When the lease terminated in 1900 members played over Burntisland Golf Course.
In 1897 during the opening competition a player at the first tee struck a sheep and with the ball lodged in its fleece, the sheep took fright and bolted across the green where the ball dropped from its back and landed close to the hole. Asked to give a ruling, the Committee concluded that the ball had still been in flight and should be played where it had come to rest without penalty.
In 1905 the Earl of Moray Estate offered the Club Bellhouse Park to the west of Seaside Place. The Earl officially opened the 9 hole course in 1907
The Club flourished and soon had 88 male, 94 lady and 4 youth members. An 18 hole course was opened in 1914. In 1919 the Club purchased the Victory Cup and The Grand Fleet Cup was presented by officers of the Grand Fleet.
The 1920s saw the first New Year’s Day competition for a bottle of whisky costing 12/6 (62.5 pence today) and the second Annual Dinner Dance held in the Aberdour Palais de Danse. Membership was restricted for the first time to 175 Men; 100 Ladies and 25 Youths.
In the 1930s for the first time local children were allowed membership for 5 shillings per annum (25 pence today); Caddies were allowed at a charge of 1 shillingand two pence (6 pence today), and a Youths Competition took place.
During the war: defensive gun emplacements were built adjacent to the sea reducing the course to 10 holes. For 18 hole competitions, members played the first 9 holes twice. Two huts, erected beside the dogleg on the present 16th hole, became the clubhouse with access from the Tennis Courts.
Part-time staff looked after the club; bunkers and rough were neither raked nor cut and became formidable hazards; golf balls and tees were extremely scarce and consequently the 5 minute rule for searching was stretched! Most players used sand provided in boxes to make a tee.
On Sundays, as golf was not permitted, village youths often searched for balls.
By 1943 the Royal Artillery left and detachments of the Polish Army arrived at the Golf Course Camp. The Clubhouse was the Officers mess until 1947. Once the War Department released the course it took a year to remove the reinforced concrete and restore the 18 holes and the area where the Clubhouse is now.
In 1950/60s Aberdour won the Fifeshire Advertiser Team Championship for the first time. The Local Authority granted the Club a drinks licence. The Club Council negotiated a new 20 year lease of the course and holes 16, 17 and 18 became the 1st 2nd and 3rd.
In the 1970s land (Charleshill) to the south of St Colme House was purchased from the Moray Estate Development Company for £12,000 so that the course could be extended. Aberdour Juniors won the Fife Boys Team Championship six times. A Clubhouse extension included steward’s accommodation, a dining room and extra toilets.
1980s First Ladies Open was held; Juniors had further success in the Fife Boys Team Championship and Aberdour Men won the Fife Team Championship. Work started on the Charleshill extension.
1990s for the first time the Club hosted the Senior Men’s Open, Ladies Senior Open and Fife Seniors Championship. By 1998 Gents and Ladies had equal membership. The locker rooms were upgraded and the main lounge refurbished.
In the 1996 Centenary Year after five years of fundraising and liaising with Fife Golfing Association the Club hosted prestigious Stroke play, Matchplay and County Championships throughout the year. Other matches included a pro/am competition with 12 leading professionals in the Scottish Order of Merit. Members and guests enjoyed a Civic Reception in Dunfermline City Chambers, a Centenary Ball, a Period Dress mixed foursomes, club, interclub and open competitions. The large Centenary Cup entry required play to start at 6.30am.
During the 2000s members rejected a proposal to build a new Clubhouse but approval was given for general improvements to the existing Clubhouse. The club hosted the Scottish Boys and Girls Under 14 and under 16 Stroke-play Championships. Scott Michie, Thornton GC set a new course record of 59 in the 2nd round of the inaugural Gents 36 Hole Open. Included a hole in one at the 12th The Golf Club was voted 4th Best Golfing Experience in Scotland in 2012 and 2013
Today: Club membership totals over 800 and over 3000 visitors play annually. Course length is 5447 yards