Dunfermline Golf Club, Fife.
The club was founded in 1887.
The first course was to the east of the town at Halbeath, its home for just three years. It then moved to Ferryhills (see also Ferryhills Golf Club) until 1929, when it moved to Torrie (see also Valleyfield Golf Club). The final move to the clubs current course at Pitfirrane took place in 1953.
Following are the three major layout changes made to the North Queensferry course when home of the Dunfermline Golf Club.
The plan below shows the first eighteen-hole course at Ferryhills. (Report from the Edinburgh Evening News 11th May 1892.)
The Evening News report accompanying the above plan goes on to provide an interesting and important insight into the layout of the course, as follows; The nine hole-course of the Dunfermline Golf Club, having served the members for over a year, has now been extended to a full course by the acquisition of adjoining lands. The links are on the hills above North Queensferry, and immediately to the east of the railway. Crowning the summit is the clubhouse, which will be familiar to many as that of the exhibitors in the Edinburgh Exhibition of 1890. On the course, which has already been played over there are good putting greens, but on the new links a considerable expenditure of time and energy will be required in most cases to get the greens into proper trim, although the natural materials are good. The first four holes will be as played hitherto with the tricky second hole and the ever present hazard of the high hedge. Crossing the road the fifth hole is 200 yards to the east, in a park as level as a cricket field. A very luck approach shot might do this hole in two. Passing through a corner of the grounds of Crook’s House the new links proper are reached. The sixth hole is on the south slope of the hill, and so near does the boundary wall come that a heeled ball may easily be lost in the whins. Standing now on the highest part of the hill, the player looks down a long slope to the seventh hole, 230 yards away, at the foot of the hill. On the right a sudden fall away takes place from the cliff top, and many balls will be lost in the quarry below. To the left the hill slopes away abruptly, and any ball not absolutely on the line may roll a considerable distance. The green at this hole will, however, be good. The next two are the “sporting holes” of the new course, the eighth requires careful play and the ninth being a kind of miniature “Rockies.” The tenth hole will be the favourite of those who fancy their driving, two good shots being required to get on the green, on which, despite its new “bumpiness,” there is very good turf already. The holes next zigzag up the hill. At the twelfth hole, on a plateau, a stroke may be lost by not getting quite on the line. The stile is reached once more at the thirteenth hole, to the east of Crook’s House. The fourteenth is alongside the fifth, and then the road is crossed once more to the old course. The fifteenth hole is 260 yards distant on the very top of the hill. The next is just below the clubhouse, and a hazard is formed by the old wall, which crosses the line of play. Back over the wall the seventeenth hole is reached, and the course finishes behind the clubhouse with an easy hole. The whole distance is over two miles. There is considerable sport on the course, and as breezes are prevalent and slopes are steep considerable judgment must be exercised. It is also intended that the nine-hole course shall be kept up for those who wish the short game. There is not a hole on the course from which magnificent view may not be had from the May Isle to Ben Lomond. The murmur of the sea is ever heard, and from the shipyards at Inverkeithing the busy rattle of the riveters’ hammer is subdued by distance. Ships are lying at anchor, steamers continually passing up and down, whilst occasionally the quaint songs of the sailors are wafted up from the bay below.
The highest point on the course is the clubhouse on the old links, from which the hill slopes steeply down to the hedge, and then rises abruptly to the second hole. Holes five and fourteen are in a level meadow. On the new links the highest point is the sixth hole, from where there is a heavy slope all the way to the foot at the ninth tee. On the line of play to the seventh hole, the hill falls abruptly away to the right. Holes and yardages; One, 150 yards; Two, 190; Three, 210; Fourth, 120; Fifth, 200; Sixth, 180; Seventh, 230; Eighth, 210; Ninth, 240; Tenth, 300, Eleventh, 255; Twelfth, 180; Thirteenth, 175; Fourteenth, 200; Fifteenth, 260; Sixteenth, 210; Seventeenth, 200; Eighteenth, 190; Total, 3,700 yards.
In 1894 Old Tom Morris reconfigured the course and his modified layout is shown below.
The Ferryhills golf course can be seen on the 1931 Britain From Above link below. It was Ferryhills Golf Club at this time.
The following report is from the Dunfermline Saturday Press on Saturday 28th April 1888 “The captaincy of the Dunfermline Golf Club was played for on Saturday on the course at Halbeath when Mr P Goodall, teacher, carried off the honour with the score of 84 strokes for the eighteen holes. The President, Mr Robert Reid, has intimated is intention of presenting a handicap medal to the club, to be competed for annually”
Below, result of a club match played at Halbeath against Burntisland in dull and foggy weather on Wednesday 27th June 1888. The Dunfermline club had won its first match by 4 holes.
|P Goodall (captain)||2||A Wilson||0|
|D Gilmour||0||R Dover||10|
|J Robertson||0||James Wilson||4|
|A Carrick||0||E McLeod||1|
|W C Aikman||5||D Stevenson||0|
|J T Spence (club secretary)||12||R Henderson||0|
Winner of the June 1890 monthly competition for the Gilmour Medal was Mr P Goodall, 79.
At the AGM in April 1894 the President announced that the target of 300 members had been achieved and membership to the club had been closed. The following officers were elected; President, R W Stewart, Dunfermline; Vice President, Mr Dow, Dunfermline; Secretary, J W Robertson, Comely Park Place, Dunfermline; Treasurer, A B Dow; Captain R H Robertson, the following were elected to the committe; Robert Reid, Dunfermline and John Cowan, Ellenburgh.
In September 1894 the finals for the foursome competition for the Stewart and Wallace medals were held; semi-final, D L Ritchie and D Fowlis beat R W Stewart and P Anderson 5 and 3, in the other semi-final J C Macbeth and J R Husband beat J R Stevenson and C D Allister 3 and 2. In the final D L Ritchie and D Fowlis won at the first extra hole.
The annual meeting was held in the clubhouse at Ferryhills on Saturday 28th January 1899, Mr W C Aikman was presiding. The members had taken full advantage of the clubhouse, and the accounts for the year (the first full year since moving to the present house) showed a substantial balance for the club, which, it was hoped, would help with a clubhouse extension. Last year a new green opened at the fourth hole, and several new bunkers were introduced. More improvements were planned for the current year, particularly work on new tees. In November Mr Fairful resigned as Clubmaster, and it was considered necessary that the dual arrangement of Clubmaster and greenkeeper then existing should be discontinued, and a man should be appointed as Clubmaster. After consideration the committee appointed Mr Allan, both he and his wife had now taken up their duties. Mr Fairful was to continue as greenkeeper. From the financial statement it appeared that £308/8s/3d had been drawn by the Clubmaster for North British Railway tickets. It was also mentioned that the club was indebted to Mr Marr who had set up a club library, and to those members who had contributed. The following office bearers were elected; President, W C Aikman; Vice President, R H Littlejohn; Captain, Alexander Macbeth; Treasurer, William Reid, solicitor; Secretary, J W Robertson; Auditor, R A Marr, C.A; Committee, James Marshall, W S Spedding, Dr Dow, J C Macbeth, R Husband, R H Robertson.
In 1900 the secretary at Dunfermline was J W Robertson, 3 Comely Park Place, Dunfermline. It was listed as being 18 holes.
A competition for a gold charm, presented by the captain, Mr A Macbeth, took place on the Ferryhills course on Saturday 21st April 1900. T E Miller (6) and P Stroud (15) tied for the charm with a score of 79net; Club prize winners – J M Armour, 92-12-80; P S Black, 89-8-81; R H Robertson, 84-2-82; E Steel, 93-10-83; Dr Elder, 98-15-83; J Marshall, 96-12-84; G Macpherson jun, 99-15-84; A Macbeth, 97-12-85.
On Monday December 26th 1904 the annual Christmas competition took place on the Ferryhills course. The first prize was won by A Macbeth, Edinburgh, captain of the club, with a score of 85-6-79. There was a tie for second place between H Alexnader, scratch, and P S Black, (3) both with net scores of 80.
Result of the Reid medal and and a prize presented by Mr James Kirkhope played on Saturday 26th May 1906; D R Tullo, 77-3-74; D H Grieve, 77 scratch; J M Armour, 84-6-78; J C Stewart, 97-18-79; W Kirk, 92-12-80; P M Sinclair, 98-18-80; A Clark 93-12-81; D T Oliver, 93-12-81; J M Laing, 87-6-81; H B Alexander, 80+2-82; T E Miller, 87-5-82; C G Clark, 99-17-82.
In 1906 the secretary was W Reid, Solicitor, Dunfermline, the captain was A Macbeth and the greenkeeper J Wallace. Two professional were listed at this time, R B Martin, 33 Frederick Street, Edinburgh and C H Morton, Queen Street. Membership of 400. Entrance fee was 5/- and subs £1/1/0. The 18 hole sporting course was delightfully situated on the Firth of Forth with magnificent views of Ben Lomond, North Berwick and Bass Rock. Visitors' fees were 21/- a month. The railway station at Queensferry was 10 minutes away.
In 191 1 the secretary and greenkeeper were as 1906 and the professional was R B Martin. Entrance fee was now £5/5/0. Club telephone number was Inverkeithing 30. Membership of 350. Sunday play was not permitted.
Cruicks House became the clubhouse at Ferryhills in 1897. From the beginning the club had problems with the various quarries and workings surrounding the course. As these quarries grew the course layout was regularly being altered with numerous changes being made to various holes for safety reasons. In 1914 most of the course was taken over by the military for use as a training and logistics area, at this time golf was still being played but over a much shortened course.
The Scotsman of 14 November 1921 reported on a special meeting of members to consider the proposal to extend the Ferryhills course, as a result of quarry encroachments at one of the holes. Terms had been agreed for the lease of around 20 acres of adjoining land and Dr MacKenzie, the golf course architect, had been consulted regarding extending the course and making other improvements. Mackenzie submitted a report and his recommendations were adopted unanimously. (Dr MacKenzie was also working on the new course of the Pitreaver Golf Club at this time.)
He stated that the turf on the Ferryhills course was excellent, the new holes would be better designed he also added that the views from the course were unsurpassed. On completion of the work the report stated “Partly on the old course and partly on additional ground acquired, four new greens and relative bunkers have been constructed by a firm of contractors under the supervision of Dr Mackenzie. The course had been lengthened by fully 500 yards, and the new holes will form interesting features.” Dunfermline Press reported that the extended course would be opened for play on the 22nd April 1922.
By 1924 it appears that the club had further quarry problems. In a February edition of The Scotsman it was reported that Dr MacKenzie was again consulted and land overlooking the sea at Port Laing was to be leased and used for the extension to the course. In September 1924 The Scotsman reported that “extensive alterations and improvements have been carried through on the Dunfermline Golf Club’s course at Ferryhills by the British Golf Construction Company and the clubs own staff under the supervision of Dr Mackenzie” Fields overlooking the Forth adjacent to Port Laing were incorporated in the course and Mackenzie said that the new ground would “add very much to the attractiveness of an already very attractive course, giving holes of much interest and variety” MacKenzie eliminated blind holes and included two holes of 500 yards in length, with the course lengthened to 5,570 yards. The extended course opened for play on the 6th September 1924.
Thanks to Neil Crafter for supplying the information on the above course changes by Dr MacKenzie in the 1920s.
Result of the July monthly competition 1927; Scratch Prize – Andrew Gray, 76; Handicap Prize – J McLean, 86-16-70.
It was reported in February 1928 that due to the encroachment of quarry workings on the Ferryhills course the Dunfermline Club would be looking for a new home. Mr William Kirk presided over a large attendance at the annual meeting. The report and balance sheet was presented by the secretary and treasurer, Mr J M Davidson, solicitor. The report stated that the encroachment of the quarry could make it impossible to have a suitable course at Ferryhills, unless additional ground was acquired. Negotiations had been held with land owners west of the tunnel with a view to obtaining additional land. Two holes had already been abandoned due to quarry working and two new holes had been laid out near Jamestown.
At a special meeting held after the AGM a motion was passed authorising the committee to negotiate for a lease of the mansion house and part of the Torrie Estate for the new course; if the discussions were successful they were to proceed with the construction of the course. It was intended to abandon the current course and clubhouse by Whitsunday 1929. The special meeting was chaired by Mr Kirk, he explained that negotiations had taken place with a view to obtaining extra land at Ferryhills. He went on to say that within a comparatively short period of time the quarry workings would mean that the club would lose six greens in one of the most attractive parts of the course, also they would be unable to retain the occupancy of the present clubhouse. The committee were of the view that no further changes to the course were possible. It was found that the purchase of adjoining land to construct new holes and a clubhouse would cost between £7,000 and £8,000. In the circumstances it was felt that every effort should be made to move to the Torrie Estate. The committee were empowered to engage James Braid to consult on the layout of the Torrie course.
At the AGM the following were re-elected; Willliam Kirk, president; W G D Simpson, vice-president; P T Bonnar, captain; J M Davidson, secretary and treasurer; D A Fraser and Ronald J Reid filled two vacant positions on the committee. The statement of assets and liabilities showed a surplus of £433.
It was announced in November 1928 that the Dunfermline Golf Club would allow Sunday play on the new course at Torrie.
The annual meeting of the club was held at the Ferry Hills clubhouse on Saturday 9th February 1929. Mr William Kirk, the president, said, “It was remarkable that, although little more than twelve months had elapsed since their attention was first directed to Torrie, they were on the eve of taking possession of their new quarters.”
The grass park of a year ago had been converted to what promised to be a first class golf course, as planned by James Braid. It was 6,230 yards in length, the greens were large, and the variety shown in their construction gave them all distinctive features. Progress had also been made with the conversion of the mansion house into an attractive clubhouse.
Although the pleasures of golfing at Ferry Hills had departed it was hoped, in the interests of the club, that play on the old course would continue to right up to the termination of the lease there in order that the club enthusiasm would be fully maintained and then transferred to the new course at Torrie. The office bearers were re-elected, as follows; Hon. president, Captain Michael J Wemyss; president, William Kirk J.P; vice-president, Mr W G D Simpson; captain, Mr P T Bonna J.P; secretary and treasurer, Mr J M Davidson, solicitor, St Margaret Street; W J Inglis and J H Matheson were elected members of council.
In October 1930 a complimentary dinner was held for four members who won the Fife County Championship for the third time. The “ Big Four” as they were known, were; Walter Murray, John H Matheson, Andrew Allan and William Anderson.
In April 1931 the annual competition for the United States Navy Cup and a prize given by the captain (W J Inglis); W Anderson, 82-2-80; J M Dale, 87-6-81; A A Allan, 84-2-82; W Murray, 83+1-84.
In 1932/3 the secretary was J M Davidson; professional, J Emslie; green-keeper, J Kerr; membership of 350.
Mr A B Romanes presided at the annual meeting held at the Torrie House on Saturday 10th February 1940. The following officers were elected; Hon. president, Capt. Michael J Wemyss of Wemyss and Torrie; president, A B Romanes; vice-president, D M Wilson; captain, W J Inglis; secretary and treasurer, J H Matheson C.A, 143 High Street, Dunfermline. To fill two vacancies on the council W Ferguson and R H Motion were elected.
In February 1941 the club reported a surplus of £215/7s/6d on the year’s workings, an increase £55/6s/11d on the previous year. It was also stated that 40 members of the club were serving with the forces.
Result of the Dunfermline (Torrie) Golf Club Championship played in June 1947 – W L Dale, 72 + 77, 149; A T Rowland, 75 + 79, 154; H M Kerr, 80 + 75, 155. Winners of the Lockhart Medal (vice-president’s handicap) – W L Dale, 72 scratch; A T Rowland, (3), 72; H Lind (7), 76; D Cook (10), 78.
The new course at Pitfirrane opened on Saturday 4th July 1953.
Below, Google Map showing the location of the Feryhills course.
Below, Google Map showing the former Torrie course.