GOLF CLUB is proud to be officially recognised as the 11th oldest
golf club in the world. The Club's history from its inception,
when members played over the original course on the town's Links,
to the present day, is outlined briefly below. Burntisland Golf
Club now forms an integral part of the new club, Burntisland
Golf House Club, which was formed after the Club moved to its
present location in the town. The Club's new location overlooks
the Forth Estuary, with spectacular views over to Edinburgh
and the Pentland Hills beyond and up the river to the famous
It is known that a form of golf was played on the "Links",
(the town's common lands) as early as the 1660s but it was not
until the late 18th century that a club was formed.
The Statistical Account of Scotland (Volume II), which was published
in 1791, states, "A golfing club was instituted lately
by the gentlemen of the town and neighbourhood." And the
New Statistical Account of Scotland (Volume IX) dated December
1836 states, "A golf club has been in existence upwards
of forty years."
The original course on the Links had 15 holes in all and was
25 acres in extent, but as it was common land certain areas
were used by fishermen drying and repairing their nets, housewives
hanging out their washing and residents grazing their livestock.
In the early days it seems that the Club was confined to a somewhat
select body, and this would account for the small number of
'natives' being members of the club, as they were principally
fishermen, tailors, shoemakers and a few weavers.
The game was followed keenly however by the townspeople, and
the enthusiasm of the tailors and shoemakers led them to two
discoveries. The tailors hit upon the method of making the old
feather balls and the shoemakers provided the craft and the
leather to cover them.
1874, the Christmas competition was in jeopardy because of the
snow covered ground, but play went ahead with the golfers using
red coloured golf balls, surely one of the first instances of
the coming of the Northern Railway to Burntisland the Links
was drastically reduced in size and by the late 1880s the congestion
on the course was such that the members decided that a new course
was required. A special meeting was held in May 1891 to consider
"the question of acquiring the ground at High Bents, Dodhead
as a golfing course." The proprietor of the land, Mr Kirke,
agreed to allow the club the use of the land at an annual rental
of £6. This area was on the high ground between Burntisland
and Kinghorn and was 12 acres in extent (6 holes were to be
Saturday, 6th June 1892 there was an opening ceremony at the
High Bents and Captain D. W. Stevenson, who had played the major
role in acquiring the land, opened the proceedings. After speeches
by local dignitaries, Miss Kirke of Greenmount, daughter of
the proprietor of the ground, was asked to play off the first
ball and "a silver mounted club was presented to the lady,
with which she drove off the ball amid much cheering."
Tom Morris of St Andrews was approached to give a report on
the feasibility of the land as a golf course and his letter
was read to the meeting in 1894 which opened with "I went
over the ground at High Bents on Saturday and my opinion is
that it would make a first class golf course. The reason I say
this is because the nature of the ground is nice and wavy, which
makes it all the more suitable for golf." To assist them
in the laying out of the course the services of Willie Park
Jnr. of Musselburgh were engaged.
a more detailed history of Burntisland Golf Club, the club
still has some bi-centenary booklets
available for sale, these are a must for anybody or organisation
with an interest in golfing memorabilia be quick as
there are only limited numbers left.