Cupar Golf Club, Fife.
The club was instituted on 7th November 1855. The first six-hole course was located at Tailabout. In the mid 1870s the club moved for a short time to a course at Springfield House Park. In 1882 the Cupar Golf Club gave up the course at Springfield House to play their golf at Ladybank at the same time keeping their identity.
Hilltarvit Golf Club appeared in 1892 and played on a course on three fields at Hilltarvit Farm.
In 1898 Cupar Golf Club amalgamated with the Hilltarvit Golf Club and it was agreed at a meeting that the club would be called the Cupar Golf Club. The club would play golf their golf on a revised layout of the nine-hole Hilltarvit course (see Hilltarvit entry for course layout.)
The following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Fife Herald on Thursday 24th April 1856. “The first annual competition for the Silver Medal, presented by the President, Major Hutchison of the Fifeshire Militia Artillery, took place on the golfing ground last Thursday. The day was delightful, and the ground, for the use of which the club is indebted to the kindness of Mr Russell, Tailabout, was in excellent trim, and the risks sufficient to test to test the dexterity of the most skilful players. Allan Robertson – King of clubs, was present, guiding and directing the operations on this the first grand day of the infant club. The ground was also graced by the presence of a number of ladies, apparently well pleased spectators of the sport. Six couples started, and after three rounds, equalling 18-holes, Major Hutchison was declared winner of the medal at 77. Other scores; Mr Morrison and Mr Horsbrugh, 89; Mr Bogie, Balass, 90; Mr Small, Foodie, 93; Mr Morton, Ladeddie and Mr Hogarth, 94; Andrew Taylor, 97. After the medal various foursomes were played, one by Major Hutchison and Robert Kirk against Mr Horsbrugh and Allan Robertson. In the evening about 30 gentlemen members of the club and friends dined at the Royal Hotel – Major Hutchison, president, in the chair, and Mr Morrison, secretary of the club, croupier.”
On Thursday 22nd April 1858 the annual meeting took place, the competition three rounds or eighteen holes. Allan Robertson of St Andrews “king of golfers” was umpire and manager, as in previous years. Result; Colonel Low, 81; Mr Morton, 83; Mr Bethune, Blebo, 87; Mr Horsbrugh, 87; A Taylor, 90; Mr Brigss, Prestonhall, 93; Mr Bogie, Newmill, 96; Mr Hogarth, 100; J Small, Foodie, 100; Mr Morrison, 101; Mr Brown, Balgarvie, 103.
The annual meeting took place on Thursday 9th May 1861. It was won by William Morrison with a score of 90, Mr Bethune was second 91 and Captain Lyon, third 95. Mr Horsbrugh was to be captain of the club for the coming year.
The winner at the annual meeting in April 1863 at Tailabout was Dr James Walker, Bonnygate, 87. “The weather was favourable for the match, but owing to the limited extent of the ground, a considerable number of balls were, on this as on former occasions, lost.”
In September 1864 a competition was held at Tailabout for a medal presented by Robert Richardson of Restalrig. Mr Robertson himself won the competition with a score of 81.
At the annual meeting on Wednesday 25th April 1866 Allan Briggs of Prestonhall was elected captain. Afterwards seven couples took part in the annual medal which was won by Dr Walker with a score of 83. There were some professional players attending including Tom Morris jnr and Bob Kirk.
In the annual competition played in May 1867 the winner was Mr A P Hogarth. His score of 77 was “as low as any on the records of the club.”
At the fourteenth annual competition at Tailabout in April 1869 Mr Mitchell was elected captain. The winner of the Hutchison medal was Mr A P Hogarth with rounds of 25, 25 and 26, total 76.
At the meeting in April 1871 A Beatson Bell, Sheriff Substitute of Fife was elected captain. William Bayne jnr won the medal with a score of 77.
At the autumn meeting in September 1874 the Richardson medal was won by the captain of the club, John C Watson of Dura House, with a score of 85. It was stated that the ground “was rather rough.”
The annual business meeting followed by the playing of the Hutchison medal took place on Saturday 8th April 1876. Captain Bremner was elected club captain, and the winner of the medal on the Tailabout course was again by John C Watson, 83.
In November 1877 the annual competition took place at Springfield House. After some excellent play the medal was won by John Jamieson, Solicitor with a score of 82.
The November competition in 1877 was probably the last one played on the Tailabout course. Due to a dispute with the landowner, the club decided to cease play at Tailabout at about this time.
Following is a description of the former Tailabout course: The first hole was over the river Eden, the second hole was over water running out from Tailabout Mill, the third was near the railway bridge, being about the width of a road between the two waters, the fourth returned over the same ground, the fifth was to a corner called the triangle and the sixth was from the triangle across the Eden to Thomastown.
It was reported in the Fife Herald in September 1878 that “Some members of the Cupar Golf Club are presently enjoying an occasional round on their golf ground at Springfield House Park, the grass now being short enough for the purpose. The putting greens are not, of course, as keen as those at St Andrews, Elie or Leven, but the situation is very beautiful, and a tolerably enjoyable game can be had there. The annual medal of the club comes off next month.”
The Richardson medal was competed for at the autumn meeting of the club on Saturday 3rd October 1878. The competition was played at Home Park, Springfield House, and was won by John C Watson with a score of 80, runner-up was Mr Jamieson, 83 and in third place was William Watson, 86.
The annual meeting was held at Springfield House on Saturday 1st November 1879. The medal presented to the club by Colonel Richardson, Restalrig House, ended in a tie between John C Watson and William Watson both with 87. John C Watson won the play off.
In June 1882 a number of members of the Cupar Golf Club enjoyed a friendly match on the Ladybank course.
The autumn meeting in October 1882 was held on the Ladybank course, the club’s ground at Springfield House being unfit for play due to the long grass. The Richardson medal was won by J H Carswell, Rathillet, 84. Following the medal dinner was taken at the Royal Hotel. Mr William Duncan, captain, was in the chair with ex-captain J C Watson acting as croupier.
It appears that the playing of golf by the Cupar Golf Club on the Springfield House course was to be short lived. In July 1883 it was reported that the Cupar club had arranged with the Ladybank Club to play on their course, in so doing retaining the name of Cupar Golf Club.
In September 1883 the competition for the Richardson Medal was played over the Ladybank course. John C Watson secured the medal with a score of 80 for the eighteen holes. Other scores; Samuel Johnston, 86; John H Carswell, 88; William Watson, 92; William Rhodes, 92.
It was reported in May 1889 that “The committee of the Ladies’ Cupar Golf Club have pleasure in announcing that the green at Bonvil Park will be in good order and ready to be played over on Wednesday 22nd May.”
The following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Dundee Courier on Wednesday 19th October 1898. “Amalgamation of Cupar and Hilltarvit Clubs – Last night a joint meeting of the members of the Cupar (Ladybank) Club and Hilltarvit Club met in the upper room of the Corn Exchange to consider the question of the amalgamation of the two clubs. On the motion of Dr Sneddon, seconded by Mr J L Anderson, it was unanimously agreed that the clubs be amalgamated. The following conditions were agreed on; (1) – that the name of the club shall be the “Cupar Golf Club”; (2) - that the subscription for the current year should be fixed at 7s/6d; (3) – that the amalgamated clubs adopt the current lease of the Hilltarvit Club; (4) – that the club remain at Hilltarvit for at least three years, provided that the rent be not increased. It was stated that the membership of the club at the outset would be about eighty.”
The Google Map below shows the area around Tailabout, site of the first Cupar course.