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Cowdenbeath Golf Club, Fife. (1888 - 1950s)

The Club was founded in 1888. The club was re-formed in the early 1900s.

The following report is from the Dunfermline Saturday Press Saturday 30 June 1888 “On Tuesday evening a Golf Club was formed for Cowdenbeath and District. Fifteen gentlemen enrolled themselves as members and there is every prospect of many more joining the club”

The annual meeting was held in March 1892 when a Dr Craig presided, a committee was elected for the coming year.

In 1894 Mr Augustine Birrell M.P. presented a medal to the club to be competed for every three months.

A meeting was held in August 1897 to discuss the next steps regarding a new course, the club had recently been given notice to leave the course at Leuchatsbeath. Amalgamation with clubs at Lochgelly and Kelty was suggested and it was thought that a course central to all three clubs could be advantageous.

At a meeting on Thursday 18 August 1897 the committee of the club reported on their inspection of two proposed sites, one at Stevensbeath and the other at Tully (Tollie) Hill. The general feeling was much in favour of the latter. The tenant of the land, Mr Stewart, had expressed his willingness to discuss terms. It was again thought that a joint tenancy with the Lochgelly club could be an option, this never materialised.     

Following is a report from the Edinburgh Evening News on Thursday 24 March 1898. “The Cowdenbeath Golf Club have been successful in securing a new course. They have secured two large fields at Cowdenend, on the farms of Cuttlehill and Mains of Beath. The land is suitable for golf.” It is not known, as yet, how long the club occupied this site.

In November 1905 the Dundee Courier reported that the club had abandoned their new course at Stevensbeath following a disagreement with the farmer. It went on to say that the club had taken over a new lease on their old course at North Road.    

The later club and course was formed by the Cowdenbeath Public House Society in 1910, this course was located to the north of the town at Tollie Hill, Lumphinnans.

In the early 1900s the club had a 9-hole course extending to 18-holes by the outbreak of WW1; following the war it reverted to 9-holes, although it was extended again to 18-holes by the mid 1920s. Membership figures varied greatly, from 80 in 1914 to 280 prior to WWII. Local hotels were the Crown and the Commercial.

In 1907/8 the professional was P McCartney.

It was reported in November 1909 that work was to start on the laying out of the course on Lumphannins Hill which was presented to the town by the Cowdenbeath Public-House Society. The work on the course was to be carried out by Ben Sayers the North Berwick professional.

In May 1910 Tom Ball and Ben Sayers played an exhibition match for the formal opening of the Cowdenbeath course, which had been laid out by Sayers at Tollie Hill. In the morning they played a medal round, the scores were Tom Ball 33 and Ben Sayers 37. In the afternoon they played a match, which reportedly had a following of 3,000 people. They were all square at the turn then Sayers went two up with five to play. Ball squared with one to play, the match ended all square.


Cowdenbeath Golf Club, Fife. The early clubhouse.

The early Cowdenbeath clubhouse.


In May 1910 Tom Ball and Ben Sayers played an exhibition match for the formal opening of the Cowdenbeath course, which had been laid out by Sayers. In the morning they played a medal round, the scores were Tom Ball 33 and Ben Sayers 37. In the afternoon they played a match, which reportedly had a following of 3,000 people. They were all square at the turn then Sayers went two up with five to play. Ball squared with one to play, the match ended all square. 

In 1911/2 the secretary was Geo Whytehead, East Park Street, the professional was R Lumsden. 

The AGM was held in October 1913, Bailie Hodge in the chair. Mr W M Fortune, treasurer, produced the balance sheet, which was showing a satisfactory balance in hand of £14/19s/8d. The office-bearers for the year were as follows; Hon. president, Mr A Lindsay; president, Bailie Hodge; secretary, Robert Holman, High Street, Cowdenbeath; treasurer, W M Fortune; captain, A D Bald; vice-captain, Joseph Smart; committee – T M Finlay, R Millar, J Galloway, A McPherson and A Pollock; auditors, C Findlay and W F Simpson; ladies’ secretary, Miss B Rankine.

In 1914 the entry fee was £2/2/0 the subs were also £2/2/0. Visitors’ fees were 6d a day, 1/6d a week and 7/6d a year. Sunday play was never allowed at the club. The professional from 1914 to 1923 was Alex Scott.

Whilst playing in the last stroke competition of the year on Sunday 5 September 1915 James Galloway and William Gilbert both broke the course record of 72. Galloway went out in 34, while Gilbert took 36. On his final hole Gilbert holed out with a four, giving him 35 for his second nine and a total of 71. Mr Gilbert was able to celebrate his course record for a very short time. Galloway, playing behind, made a four on the last for 36, giving him a total 70.

Below is the result of a match played at Cowdenbeath against Kelty Golf Club in May 1920.

Cowdenbeath Golf Club   Kelty Golf Club  
W Gilbert 2 R Hunter 0
J Galloway 2 A Fisher 0
T M Finlay 2 W Walker 0
D Moffat 0 J Hynd 2
R Ferguson 1 J Greig 1
W G Hodge 2 W Ross 0
W M Fortune 2 W Izatt 0
J Gilbert 0 G Hunter 2
A Stuart 2 W Henderson 0
  13   5

Below is the result of a match played at Ballingry against Cowdenbeath in May 1920. 

Ballingry Golf Club   Cowdenbeath Golf Club  
H Coulter 2 W Gilbert 0
J Morris 2 J Galloway 0
J Ferguson 2 A D Bald 0
W Andrew 0 G Whytehead 2
J C Bauld 0 A McPherson 2
A Steel 2 J Gilbert 0
R Morris 0 H Wilson 2
J Ross 2 J Ritchie 0
R Steel 0 R Holman 2
W Bauld 0 T M Finlay 2
W C Davidson 0 R Ferguson 2
A Hutt 2 D Moffat 0
R Thomson 2 D Miller 0
T Amos 2 J Wallace 0
C Barclay 0 William Fortune 2
J Bauld 1 G Scrimgeour 1
D Anderson 2 C Chapman 0
T Hall 2 J A Whyte 0
  21   15

In July 1920 William Gilbert won the Club Championship, defeating his brother John, by 2 and 1.  

In 1924 the amateur course record was held by A T Rolland, 70. Visitors’ fees were 9d a day. By 1927 visitors’ fees were 1/- a day. In the early 1930s, the club was known as the Cowdenbeath & District Welfare Golf Club, Fifeshire. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 3/- a week and 8/6d a month. A membership of 250.

The extended 18-hole course was was formally opened on Sunday 12th June 1925. After being presented with a golf club and ball by Mrs Poustie, a member of the club, Mr C A Carlow of the Fife Coal Company drove the first ball on the new course. A four ball exhibition match followed and was played by; Andrew Jamieson, Pollock; W Tulloch, Cathkin Braes; D McBride, Gailes; J G Rowan, Drumpellier. The best score returned was by Jamieson, who had a 71. 

Below is the result of a match a match played at Cowdenbeath against the 2nd Battalion Black Watch in July 1929. 

Cowdenbeath Golf Club   Black Watch  
R R Campbell 1 Capt Montgomery 0
R Ferguson 1 Major McLeod 0
M Duff 0 Maj Baillie Hamilton 1
T Fortune (half) 0 Capt Maffett (half) 0
R Tait 1 Lieut Rennie 0
R Holman 1 Capt Bucknell 0
W G Hodge 0 Capt Robertson 1
John Ross 0 R.S.M Robertson 1
  4   3

In April 1930 an arrangement was made with the Cowdenbeath Public House Society to receive financial assistance with the running of the golf course. At the annual meeting of the Welfare Golf Club, who had now taken over the running of the course, the following officials were elected; Hon. presidents – Charles Augustus Carlow, Leven, C C Reid and W G Hodge; president, John Gray; captain, R C Tait; vice-captain, Ian Sutherland; secretary, William Kellie, George Street; treasurer, H Crane, National Bank.

Also in April 1930, while playing in the Cowdenbeath Co-Operative Employees’ Welfare competition with Miss Tilda Gordon, Harry Shaw holed in one at the 204 yard fourth hole. 

In the final of the club championship in July 1930 T Fortune beat Ian Sutherland by 3 and 1.

In August 1930 Dr Craig, medical officer for the burgh of Cowdenbeath died aged 70. He took a great interest in golf and was one of the original members of the Cowdenbeath club, to which he presented several trophies. He was also instrumental in inducing Cowdenbeath Public-House Society to lay-out the present golf course, which was officially opened in 1910. 

In 1936/7 the secretary was Ian Sutherland, Coillissan, Cowdenbeath, the green-keeper was A Neil. Visitors’ fees were, 1/- a day, 3/- a week and 8/6 a month. Membership was 175, Sunday play was not allowed.

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

Dysart Golf Club   Cowdenbeath Golf Club  
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

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

Cowdenbeath Golf Club   Dysart Golf Club  
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


  Secretary Professional/greenkeeper
1906 M Miller  
1907/8   P McCartney (p)
1913 W S Holmes  
1914 Robert Holman  
1913/23   R Lumsden and Alex Scott (p)
1924 W Kellie, George Street, Cowdenbeath. D Adams (g)
1927 R Holman, 101 High Street, Cowdenbeath. J Marshall (g)
1930 W Kellie, 5 George Street, Cowdenbeath.  
1935 W G Hodge junior, Strathmore, Cowdenbeath. A Neil (g)
1940 Thomas C Foggo, 36 High Street. A Neil (g)

The Cowdenbeath golf team the retained the Thomson Trophy which was played on Saturday 8th June 1940 on the Kelty & Blairadam (now defunct) course, result; Cowdenbeath (C Gilbert 76, D Clark 79, J Benson 79, T Terriss 82) total 316; Kelty (R Dalrymple 79, A Dickson 79, W Mitchell 81, N Martin 81) total 320. This was the eighth time Cowdenbeath had won the trophy.    

In 1940 the 18-hole course had a SSS and Par of 72. The amateur course record was held by Ian Sutherland, 70. Visitors’ fees were 1/6d a day, 3/- a week, 8/6d a month.

Activities at the club were suspended during WWII. There was probably an attempt to re-establish the club following the war, as Cowdenbeath Golf Club appears in 1945 as an 18-hole course of 5,337yds. Facilities at the clubhouse were limited at this time with no catering, no licence, and caddies available only occasionally. The Alexander bus company ran a regular service to the clubhouse which was half a mile from the town centre. It was described as a rather hilly course with the first nine holes being particularly testing. Unfortunately, this was a short lived revival, the club having disappeared by the early 1950s.

Cowdenbeath Golf Club, Fife. Location of the former golf courses.

Location of the two early courses at Cowdenbeath.

Grid reference for the Leuchatsbeath course, NT15980 92690, co-ordinates 315980 692690.

Grid reference for the Tollie Hill course, NT16640 93170, co-ordinates 316640 693170.


The Google Map below shows the location of the Tollie Hill course.



The current Cowdenbeath club was founded in the 1990s.