During a spectacular summer of golf, a group of historic golf clubs will celebrate a number of important milestones that coincide with The Open and the Seniors Open returning to Scotland. Links with History, which features some of the finest courses in Fife, has announced a run of notable anniversaries as well as confirming encouraging year-on-year booking figures.
The group was formed around four clubs, five courses and a shared golfing legacy stretching back 700 years. Featuring links, heathland and parkland courses designed by some of the legends of the game including Old Tom Morris and James Braid, Links with History celebrates golf’s golden era.
Not surprisingly, the courses are popular with visitors and this year alone, the group has seen a healthy rise in confirmed bookings with May’s figures showing a 25% increase compared to last year. In particular, celebrations will be in full swing at Lundin Golf Club which will mark its 150th anniversary in 2018. Founded in 1868, Lundin Golf Club is regarded as one of the finest links courses in the country after hosting prestigious events such as Final Qualifying for the Open Championship, World Junior Open and the East of Scotland Amateur Championship.
The club will add to this tally in July when it hosts Final Qualifying for the British Senior Open which is being staged at nearby St Andrews. Commenting on the special anniversary, Lundin Golf Club’s captain, Brian Main noted: “It is a privilege to be captain of Lundin Golf Club and a great honour to be captain during a year where the club celebrates a great milestone.”
Originally laid out by Tom Morris, Lundin Golf Club is nestled in Fife’s East Neuk and commands stunning views across the Firth of Forth. Further along the coast, the world’s seventh oldest golf club is also marking an important year that is being shaped almost entirely by women.
Crail Golfing Society’s ladies club champion, 14-year-old Anna McKay, recently signed for a new four-under-par ladies course record on the historic Balcomie Links. What’s more, the club will welcome 90 of the best women golfers in Europe aged 50 and over in September as they compete for the coveted British Senior Ladies’ Amateur Championship.
With a field containing past Curtis Cup players along with winners of a number of national titles, hosting such an event is particularly pleasing for Crail’s first female captain: “It is a great privilege to captain a cornerstone club of Scottish golf like Crail,” said Pam Smith. “The club is special. To be the first woman to hold such a respected position in a year that will showcase so much ladies golfing talent is a real thrill.”
Not to be outdone, Scotscraig Golf Club has seen remarkable growth in its junior section helped in part by a new pathway scheme that has introduced the game to over 75 children from local schools. The initiative has helped the club build its junior section to over 60 members who now enjoy new junior tees, a small four-hole course and a new junior mascot.
“It’s wonderful to see the club investing in the next generation of golfers,” noted Scotscraig Golf Club captain George Anderson. “Scotscraig has a great history. It’s the 13th oldest club in the world with great names like Old Tom Morris and James Braid associated with it. But we are also looking to the future and are creating a club that has a vibrant membership, an open-door policy to visitors and encourages its young players.”
Scotscraig, which will also host Final Qualifying for the British Senior Open, was originally laid out over six holes but was extended to nine in 1888. Thirty-five years later, the course was redesigned with the assistance of James Braid; a member of golf’s Great Triumvirate.
Similarly, Old Tom Morris was commissioned to lay out the original course at Ladybank Golf Club which also consisted of six holes. However, while Ladybank prepares for its 140th anniversary next year, the club is also investing in its facilities by refurbishing the clubhouse entrance, upgrading visitor and member locker rooms, improving toilets and shower amenities and introducing new signage.
The club has also signed an exclusive multi-year deal with AA/John Deere machinery to supply its greenkeeping machinery and will host Final Qualifying for the British Senior Open in June. “It’s been a busy time,” noted Gordon Simpson, managing secretary at Ladybank. “We’re making a lot of improvements both on and off the course, particularly in the clubhouse. This is part of an ongoing programme of developments across the board that will raise Ladybank’s status to where it belongs for a club with such an important history.”
Links with History is a group of great golf courses and glorious histories. Crail Golfing Society est 1786; Scotscraig Golf Club est 1817; Lundin Golf Club est 1868 and Ladybank Golf Club est 1879. These clubs include former Open Championship Final Qualifying venues as well as trailblazers from golf’s golden era.
For more information, visit www.linkswithhistory.com