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.
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Note to editors
- The first recorded reference to Kingsbarns Golfing Society was made on 4th September 1793.
- The note in the minutes of Crail Golf Society confirmed that “members of the Kingsbarns Golfing Society be allowed to appear on the links at Crail in the uniform belonging to their own society, Blue Jackets.”
- Representatives for six other clubs played in the match, including players from Royal Burgess Golf Society, Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society, Royal Musselburgh Golf Club and Crail Golfing Society.
- Kingsbarns Golf Links is located seven miles south east of St Andrews, widely known as the Home of Golf. Kingsbarns opened in its present form in 2000 and has since been recognised as one of the very top golf courses in the world.
- Kingsbarns Golf Links is ranked No 6 in Golf World’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Britain & Ireland for 2016.
- Golf has been played at Kingsbarns since 1793. Dressed in blue coats, the Kingsbarns men met for their spring and autumn meetings to compete for the Kingsbarns Golf Society medals. After the course died out in the 1800s, in 1922 the Kingsbarns Golf Club was re-established with Willie Auchterlonie laying out a nine-hole course on the links. The course again reverted to rough pasture with the onset of the Second World War.
- Today’s course was designed by Kyle Phillips and has received a host of awards including being ranked No 1 by Golfweek Magazine (2010, 2011 and 2012) in the Great Britain and Ireland Modern Courses category, the 19th best course in the world by Golf Course Architecture’s 2013 poll and awarded Best Golf Club and Course Experience of the Year by the Scottish Golf Tourism Excellence Awards (2011, 2012 and 2013). In 2014, the course was awarded Overall Best Golf Experience in Scotland by The Scottish Golf Tourism Awards.
- Each Autumn Kingsbarns joins the Old Course, St Andrews and Carnoustie Golf Links to co-host the European Tour’s prestigious Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
- The image attached shows the winning team that includes Crail’s captain Pam Smith, the Society’s immediate past captain Mary Halliday, Seonaid Turnbull and Mandy Turnbull.
- For further information about Kingsbarns Golf Links, please visit kingsbarns.com
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