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Dysart Golf Club, Fife.

The club was founded in 1897.

Andrew Forrester, a chemist from Dysart, was a keen golfer who had to travel to Kinghorn to play his favourite game. He decided to try and establish a golf course in Dysart and set about finding land that would be suitable for the laying out of a golf course. He finally settled on two sites and he mapped out a course on each, both were near the railway station. They finally settled on piece of land near Loughborough Road. The enthusiasm for the scheme started to grow and a number of locals joined the club. Amongst them was John Oswald of Dunnikier who had played his golf at St Andrews. Michael B Nairn of Dysart House was made vice-president. In recognition of his hard work in the forming of the club and the laying out of the course Andrew Forrester was to be put forward as the first captain.

The following report is from St Andrews Citizen on Saturday 20th November 1897. "The New Golf Club - The negotiations for the formation of the proposed new golf course is so far advanced that it is expected it will be ready for playing in a month's time. It is stated that Mr Tom Morris, St Andrews, had intimated is willingness to assist the promoters in laying out the course, which is to be a nine-hole one. The promoters have elected office-bearers, who are as follows; Hon. President, Mr John Oswald, Dunniker; Hon. Vice-President, Mr M B Nairn, Dysart House; Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, Mr A Forrester; Committee - Provost Allen, W Main, D McLaren, J Kilgour, J Herd and J Terrace." 

It was a nine-hole flat, but interesting course of nearly 2,400 yards (later extended to 2,732yds with a SSS and Par of 70). The licensed clubhouse had catering facilities and was close to the town. The station at Dysart was 1 minute away. Local hotel was the Royal. Sunday play was not allowed.

The following description of the course is taken from the Dundee Evening Post Tuesday 16th June 1903. “The nine-hole course is laid out on fine old pasture ground in the Loughborough Road district. The length of the holes vary greatly, none of them being beyond a par four for distance, but the hazards are such that the average player never dreams of getting round at fours. These hazards include paths, walls, an old quarry hole, a large reservoir and a number of made bunkers. The course is beautifully situated, a splendid view being had all round. The first hole may be reached with a long shot, but it is usually found necessary to pitch a second from the foot of the hill. Length 230 yards. The second hole is slightly shorter but a dyke and a bunker lie in wait. Length 210 yards. The third hole is the longest one, the pond and a dyke having to be carried by the drive. It is a capital four, but a fair five. Length 375 yards. Number four is the trickiest hole on the course, it is reminiscent of the seventeenth at St Andrews on a shorter scale, and many a fine card has been spoiled here. Length 240 yards. The fifth hole is artificially bunkered, but a pulled shot lands in rough country. Length 250 yards. The dyke and a bunker face the sixth tee and the hole is 245 yards in length. The seventh hole is a fairly long one, a good drive reaching the hill, from which a brassey shot must reach the green, otherwise difficulties are met in the way of bunkers, dyke, pond and a quarry. Length 350 yards. The Short Hole is the eighth, and a two or three is the reward of an accurate full iron shot, the green lying on a slight incline. Length 185 yards. The home hole is 315 yards and it requires straight play to secure its value. The greens are in the care of Mr Ross, whose energy in maintaining them in first class order is much appreciated.” 

Below is a sketch of the layout of the course that accompanied the above report. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Dysart Golf Club, Fife. Layout of the nine-hole golf course.

Layout of the Dysart nine-hole golf course.

 

Dysart 1st 2nd Ladybank Artisan 1st 2nd
Captain A Forrester 0 0 Captain R Boucher 5 7
W Anderson 4 4 R Carswell 0 0
A Beatson 7 2 J Dowie 0 0
C D Heggie 3 4 J Rutherford 0 0
H Hammond 0 0 A Coventon 2 5
  14 10   7 12

Two rounds (of 9 holes) were played, Dysart winning by 5 holes.

On Wednesday 5th February 1902 a match between James Foulis, ex USA Open Champion, and Andrew Herd Scott of Elie, a well known club maker, took place on the Dysart course. Two rounds of the nine hole course were played in front of a large crowd. Following is a report of the match which gives an interesting insight into the Dysart course. The American drove off and landed on the slope of the hill, his opponent securing a better position. Both got down on the green on equal terms, and the opening hole was halved in four. Scott was off line with his drive on the next hole, but hit a grand second, Foulis tried a long put but failed, his opponent won the hole in three. A wall and burn had to be negotiated at the third and both landed within feet of each other with their drives. This was the longest hole on the course and the American found his ball rather difficult to play but reached the green in three. Scott feared worse, placing the ball out of play into an adjoining garden, the hole went to Foulis. The next hole went to the American, the following hole was halved in four. Scott won the sixth hole and also the seventh, which he took in 4, Foulis took 6. The eighth was halved in three , with Foulis winning the ninth the match was all square.  In the second round both hit good drives at the first, both players hit fine approach shots and it looked as though the hole would be halved in four, Scott, however, three putted. The next hole was halved in four. The Scottish-American was off line on the third and conceded the hole after pitching into a garden. Foulis drove to within twenty yards of the pin at the “Rood Hole”  and easily won the hole. The match was again all square after the fifth on the second round. Scott, who had been playing the steadier of the long game, won the next hole. Again the match was all square on the seventh Foulis taking the hole with a four, the eighth hole was halved in four. Going to the home hole both players went to the right off the tee, Foulis hit the best second but was a little long, the hole was halved in five, and the match finished all square. Dr Wallace, captain of the club, congratulated both players and thanked them for putting on a fine exhibition of golf, he hoped that the Dysart members would have learnt from watching them. Mr A Forreseter, club secretary, was also thanked for making the necessary arrangements for the match.

Dysart Golf Club, Fife. James Foulis ex USA Open Champion.

James Foulis seen standing beside the USA Open Trophy, and proudly wearing the winner’s medal.

He was stated  in the above report as being American, in actual fact James Foulis was born in St Andrews in 1870. During his early golfing career he spent time working in Old Tom Morris’s golf shop in St Andrews. In 1895 he moved to America to take on the job of professional at the Chicago Golf Club. He took part in the first US Open in 1895 when he came third in a field of eleven competitors. The following year he won the tournament at Shinnecock Hills, his prize money was 200 dollars. He eventually went on to become a golf course designer in the States. He died in October 1928.

By 1903 the club had a flourishing membership of over 150. The annual subscription was a guinea for gentlemen and 7/6 for ladies’ and boys. Visitors paid 6d a day, 2/6 a week and 5/6 a month. The club had about a dozen scratch players at this time which included, William Anderson, T Wilson and G Harrow. Mr Anderson was club captain and Mr A Kilgour, secretary. 

Result of the annual New Year’s Competition January 1903; George Blyth, 90-4-86; Jas Hepburn, 104-15-89; Robert Sharp, 92-3-89; Tom C Wilson, 91 scratch; Jas B Anderson, 98-7-91; J Martin, 105-12-93; J Lennox, 108-14-94; R Blyth, 105-10-95; D Nicholson, 101- 4-97; W Walker, 107-10-97; Thomas Harrow jun, 104-6-98; Arch Hynd, 100 scratch.

Whilst playing in a competition in July 1904 Mr Stanley Harrow created a new record for the course, completing the eighteen holes in 75, 37 first round and 38 second, this was three strokes under bogey. In the final of the annual foursomes tournament D Bennett and W Walker beat David and John Hynd.

In October 1904 the third round of the Windmill Tower Trophy , presented by Captain J Gershom-Adams was held, results as follows; Mr J Hynd (scratch) beat Mr Arthur H Gibson (10); Mr John Brown (8) beat Mr R S Kilpatrick (10); Mr D Mackay (scratch) beat Mr R Burnett (10); Mr D Bennett (6) beat Mr D Hynd (2).

The first match of the season was played in March 1905 between teams selected by the captain, Mr J G Adams, and the secretary, Mr W R Short. The secretary’s team won the match.

Dysart is the town near St Andrews where Spalding began making golf clubs in 1905/6. 

In 1906 visitors’ fees were 6d a day, 2/- a week, 5/- a month, 10/- for 3 months and 15/- for six months.

 

Dysart Golf Club, Fife. The former Clubhouse Pre-WW1.

The Golf House Dysart (posted in 1908) Postcard by A T Buist, Dysart.

 

Dysart Golf Club, Fife. The clubhouse and course.

The Clubhouse and course.

 

The annual New Year’s competition took place on January 1st 1908, results as follows; Scratch – Walter Gourlay, 88; James B Anderson, 89; Tom McLaren, 90; William Anderson, 90; Handicap – Tom McLaren, 90-10-80; James McPherson, 96-10-86; Adam Neilson, 98-10-88; James B Anderson, 89 scratch; William Walker, 99-10-89; P Provan, 101-10-91; W J Saunders, 111-20-91; Walter Gourlay, 88+4-92; William Anderson, 90+2-92; Peter Gibb, 108-14-94; P Provan jun, 109-14-95.

The well supported spring meeting was held over two days in April 1908, a Wednesday and Saturday. The principal competition of the meeting was the Forrester Handicap Medal, presented by Andrew Forrester, Dysart, the first captain and secretary of the club. Some excellent scores were returned, Walter Gourlay having a score of 82, his card was spoiled by dropped shots at the Gardens and Quarry holes, his score as follows; 4,4,6,4,5,4,5,3,6=41 – 4,4,4,6,5,4,4,3,4=41 total 82. Forrester Medal result; D Semple, 84-10-74; T Law, 94-18-76; D Westwater, 86-8-78; T Maclaren snr, 93-10-83; W Anderson, 83+2-85; Walter Gourlay, 82+4-86; Donald Mackay, 89+2-91; D Ford, 94scratch.

The first round of the Captain’s, Mr William Anderson of Forthview, match-play competition was held on Saturday 18th April 1908.

In September 1908 the tie in the autumn competition for the Hutchison Handicap Trophy, presented by Mr H W Hutchison of Eastbank, was won by P Provan, 97-14-83, against R Kilgour, 108-16-92.

Result of a one sided match played against the Dunfermline Canmore club in October 1908.

Dysart   Canmore  
W Anderson 0 P Goodall 1
T C Wilson 1 H B Alexander 0
D Mackay 1 G F Howells 0
C G Taylor 1 A F Roy 0
J B Anderson 1 T Robertson 0
D Ford 1 A McLeod 0
A Smith 1 C R Simpson 0
J Macpherson 1 T Coulter 0
D Semple 1 R Robertson 0
W Collier 1 J Allan 0
T McLaren snr 1 J L Roy 0
J Thomson 1 W Davidson 0
T McLaren jnr 1 T Milne 0
  12   1

In September 1910 Dysart played Canmore Golf Club on the Venturefair course.

Canmore   Dysart  
P Goodall 0 W Anderson 1
G F Howells 0 T C Wilson 1
A T Roy 0 D McKay 1
W V Simson 1 J B Anderson 0
J B Meikle 0 J Thomson 1
A McLeod 1 D Semple 0
James Davidson 1 A Forbes 0
T Coulter 1 W Irvine 0
R Robertson 1 R Burnett 0
R A Parrott 1 D Hume 0
R George 0 T Terris 1
J Allan 0 J Macpherson 1
  6   6

In 1914 there was a membership of 150. There was no entry fee. Subs for gents were £1/1/0, ladies 7/6d, and boys under 18 years of age 7/6d.

On Saturday 29th May 1920 Tom Fernie (Turnberry), the Scottish professional champion and Edwin Sinclair (City of Newcastle), winner of the title in 1911, played two matches on the Dysart course. In the first match Sinclair won with a score of 76, beating Fernie by four strokes. In the evening match Fernie scoring 80 won by two strokes. 

In 1922 membership was 200. Visitors’ fees were 1/6d a day, 6/- a week and 12/6d a month.

The Huthison Cup was amongst the prizes played for at the autumn meeting on Saturday 5th September 1925, scores as follows; D Bell, 76-5-71; W T Jeffrey, 80-6-74; J Cook, 83-9-74; A Wardlaw, 84-10-74; L A Buist, 77-3-74; D Miller, 74 scratch; J W Laing, 84-10-74; J Morrison, 84-8-76; J R Terris, 86-10-76; T Gillespie, 84-8-76; R E Thomson, 84-8-76; W Collier, 76 scratch.

Below is the result of a match played at Dysart against St Andrews Masonic Golf Club in August 1928.

Dysart Golf Club   St Andrews Masonic Golf Club  
W Collier and D Gourlay 1 T Gordon and T Liddel 0
R E Jeffrey and A Johnstone 1 J E Auchterlonie and J B Thomson 0
J Cormie and R Thomson 0 R H Watters and J T MItchell 1
W Jeffrey and J Walker 1 A Rolland and D Rolland 0
P Grieve and J R Terris 0 A Corstorphine and E D Snow  0
G Dempster and J Cook 0 J S Mentiply snr and J B Melville  1
R Ferguson and J Foggo 0 D Christie and D H Campbell 1
D H Stewart and A Forbes 0 J C Joy and J Suttie jnr 1
J Morrison and W Walker 0 S F Duncan and M Stewart 0
R Robertson and Dr Gowan 0 J Seath and J Gilmour 1
W Collier and J Wilson 0 J Anderson and Mr Lumsden 0
  3   5

There were constant concerns throughout the 1930s regarding the acquisition of the Dysart golf course for housing development. 

 

Dysart Golf Club, Fife. Report from the Dundee Evening Telegraph March 1931.

From the Dundee Evening Telegraph Thursday March 26th 1931. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Auchtermuchty suffered their first defeat of the season in a Fife Golf League match when they played Dysart on Saturday 25th May 1935, result below. 

Auchtermuchty   Dysart  
J H Fowlis & R Morgan 1 C Bayne & L Buist 0
J Wanna & D Leven 0 R C Jeffrey & J Cormie 1
D Scott & W Leven 0 J Hamilton & J Foggo 1
G Sanderson & J Suttie 0 W Walker & W Collier 1
H Forgan & H White 0 A T Hare & D Wilson 1
  1   4

Competition results from July 1935; Foursome (final) – J C Nairn and W Collier beat W Weir and L Buist by 6&5; Mixed foursome (final) – Miss J C Stewart and L Buist beat Miss C M Blyth and J Hamilton by one hole; Forrester Medal (final) – L Buist beat J J Foggo by 2&1; Penman Cup – A Johnston, 85-16-69.

L A Buist of Dysart was the surprise winner of the Innerleven Gold Medal which carried with it the Championship of the Leven Links. It was played on Saturday August 1st 1936, his winning score was 73.

Below, result of a match played against Cowdenbeath at Dysart in May 1937. 

Dysart   Cowdenbeath  
C Bayne & D Millar 1 I Sutherland & R Jeffrey 0
W Gourlay & J D Foggo 1 W Crooks & J Scott 0
K Simpson & A T S Hare 0 A Neil & J Benson 1
I K Forrester & W Renton 0 W Bald & W Gilbert 1
D Bayne & R C Dryburgh 1 T Terris & T Gilbert 0
W Collier & J C Nairn 1 J Findlay & R McCallum 0
R Walker & R Gordon  0 R Todd & J Rall 1
J J Foggo & S Findlay 1 T C Foggo & J W Pirie 0
D Gourlay & L McNaughton 1 M Main & W Baxter 0
  6   3

The annual meeting for the ladies’ section took place in April 1939, the following officials were appointed; Captain, Miss E Beedie; secretary and treasurer, Miss M Gordon; committee – Miss L Anderson, Miss Daisy Blyth, Miss C MacPherson and Mrs R E Thomson.

Below is the result of a club match played at Cowdenbeath in June 1939. 

Cowdenbeath   Dysart  
W Gilbert & C Gilbert 1 J Virmie & W Gourlay 0
W Bald & M Main 1 A McLean & G Reekie 0
W Keegan & T D Thyne 1 J McNaughton & D Cunningham 0
T Gilbert & D Wylie 1 K Simpson & J Walker 0
J Rall & G Campbell 1 R Smart & R L Gordon 0
R Todd & A Campbell 1 J J Foggo & L Lovel 0
R Adamson & G Spowart 0 W P Gordon & W K Anderson 1
  6   1

On Saturday 5th August 1939 a St Andrews University student Duncan Sibbald, won the Dysart open golf tournament with a scratch score of 68, this equaled the course record held by Charlie Bayne of the Dysart club. Sibbald’s figures were; 3,4,4,4,4,5,3,4,4 = 35; 2,4,5,4,3,4,4,3,4 = 33, total 68. J B Ballantyne, Earlsferry Thistle, was runner-up, one stroke behind.

Mr W Renton, captain of the Dysart club, presented the prizes, the secretarial duties were carried out by John C Nairn. Prize-winners as follows; Scratch – D M Sibbald, (Markinch), 68; J B Ballantyne, (Earlsferry Thistle), 69; J Lonie, Kinghorn, 71; T H Saunders, (G.C.A.S), 72; J C Suttie, (Auchtermuchty), 73; J D Foggo, (Dysart, 74); Handicap – A Tumilty, (Lundin Links), W Skimming, (Hill of Tarvit), J Steele, (Ballingry) all tied on net 62; J Wallace, (Dysart) and J Jackson, Ballingry both 65.

Ice-Hockey star, Les Lovell (Dysart) returned a net 68, playing off 18.

From 1936 to 1949, club membership was 250.

 

  Secretary Professional/greenkeeper
1897/99   R Nicol (p)
1902/05   R Ross (p)
1906 J McPherson. 132 St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy. William Paton (p)
1914 T Wilson, Whylehouse, West Wemyss.  
1922 A Forbes, 36 Viewforth Street, Kirkaldy. W Collier (p)
1936/49 A Johnston, 19 Viewforth St, Kirkcaldy. W Collier (g)

 

  Course records
1906 William Anderson and S Harrow (am) 81
1922 W Collier (pro) 75
1936/49 C Bayne (am) 68

 

Dysart Golf Club, Fife. Location of the former golf course.

Location of the Dysart course.

Grid reference NT29825,93565, co-ordinates 329825,693565.

 

 

Dysart Golf Club had disappeared by 1951.

The club made a brief appearance in the 1960s when it played over the Kirkaldy Municipal Course.