opening 1892BURNTISLAND 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 Forth Bridges.
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 Links
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.
Coloured Balls!
In 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 this happening.
New Course
After 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 laid out).
Grand Opening
On 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
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.

For 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.

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