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Hilltarvit Golf Club, Fife. (1892 - 1898)

The club was founded in 1892 with a course at Wemyss Hall Hill, Hilltarvit.

The nine-hole course was spread over three fields was laid out under the supervision of Old Tom Morris. The holes varied in length from 127 yards to 330, five being over 200 yards. There were few artificial hazards on the hillside course. The tee shots had to be accurate, at the first and third holes to get up the brae, and at the eighth where a considerable valley had to be crossed. From the sixth tee the hole was 270 yards away and 200 ft below. There was the occasional wall or fence to be negotiated and the wall at the fifth was the ruin of many a card. A slice at the sixth led to a stoney lie in a cluster of trees. A formidable bunker in the shape of a sand pit awaited a pulled shot at the seventh.   

The first competition for the prize presented by Captain Osborne was played on Thursday 15th September 1892, nine couples started. There was a three way tie for first place; Dr Sneddon (scratch), Fred R Bremner (scratch) and Louis Bremner (5) all scored 62. Other scores were; George Harris (scratch), 65; Andrew Russell (15), 66. The tie was played off and won by Mr Louis Bremner, 68-5-63.

The annual meeting was held in the clubhouse on Thursday 6th April 1893, Dr Sneddon presiding. The treasurer, Mr A Brakenridge, submitted the statement which showed an income of £41/10s/6d, expenditure £41/4s/3d, balance in hand 6s/3d. The following office bearers were elected; David Osborne, captain; A Brakenridge, treasurer; W Thomson, secretary; Dr Caw and Captain Bremner were re-elected on to the committee. The monthly competition for the Captain’s Cup was won by Mr Robertson with a score of 99-27-72, runner-up A Russell, 100-20-80.

In October 1894 the competition took place for the Captain’s Cup with an additional prize of six “Silvertown” golf balls; Winner was Dr Sneddon with a score of 84, he received the Cup and four balls, second was Mr T Guthrie 85, who won two balls. Other scores; Mr J Wishart 86 and Mr T L Brown 89.

In September 1895 the monthly competition was won by Dr Sneddon, 79 scratch, Dr Caw was runner-up.

A special meeting of the club was held at the Royal Hotel, Cupar, on Thursday 2nd December 1897, Dr John Macdonald presiding over a good attendance. The accounts of the former treasurer, A Brakenridge, were submiited and were showing a debit of £10, this debit balance included the erection of  a clubhouse. Considerable discussion took place regarding the future of the club, the general opinion was that the club should continue, but something needed to be done to increase membership. A committee was appointed to look at the finances, especially the cost of keeping the course open during the winter months. A meeting was arranged for the following week.

The committee reported back the following week stating that they had managed to get a reduction in the rent, it was agreed that the club should continue.

A special meeting was held at the Royal Hotel on Tuesday 15th February 1898, Dr John Macdonald in the chair. Mr J L Anderson reported that Mr A Smith, Hilltarvit, occupier of the farm on which the course was laid out, had agreed to a £10 reduction of the yearly rent. Again the viability of the club was raised, it was agreed to continue the club for another year from the following month. J Wishart resigned as secretary with D H Brakenridge taking over the duties until the annual general meeting in April. L Anderson, T Guthrie and R Bruce were appointed as a committee to arrange the opening of the course as soon as possible. The following made a donation of 21/- towards clearing the £12 debt; Captain Bremner, Dr John and Dr A J Macdonald, J L Anderson and A Westwood jnr.

The annual general meeting was held at the Royal Hotel on Thursday 7th April 1898, J E Grosset in the chair. The finances were reported to be in a satisfactory state. The following officers were elected; captain, D Osborne, Belmore; vice-captain, Dr John Macdonald; secretary and treasurer D H Brakenridge.

D H Brakenridge won the monthly competition for Mr Osborne’s Cup in April 1898.  


Hilltarvit Golf Club, Cupar, Fife. Layout of the Hilltarvit golf course.

Layout of the Hilltarvit golf course.


It’s obvious that the Hilltarvit club was struggling with finances and dwindling membership however, a likely compromise was on the horizon.

At a meeting of the committee of the Cupar Golf Club at the Royal Hotel on Thursday 6th October 1898 a communication was considered from the Hilltarvit Golf Club regarding a proposal for the amalgamation of the clubs. It was agreed to meet with the Hilltarvit committee to discuss the arrangements.

Cupar Golf Club had been homeless for a number of years and were playing their golf at Ladybank (see separate entry for Cupar for the early history of the club.)

A compromise was reached and Cupar Golf Club and Hilltarvit Golf Club decided that a new course be laid out on the land occupied by the Hilltarvit club. The club was to be called Cupar Golf Club.

Below is the layout of the revised nine-hole course following the amalgamation of the two clubs. 


Hilltarvit Golf Club, Cupar, Fife. Sketch of the revised course in 1898.


Hilltarvit Golf Club, Cupar, Fife. The revised layout of the course in 1898.

Above are further sketches of the revised course at Hilltarvit in 1898.


Interesting that the club is referred to as Hill Tarvit on the picture below which is clearly dated January 1903. There is always a chance that the postcard was available in the 1890s but wasn't used until 1903. The Hilltarvit club had amalgamated with, and became, Cupar Golf Club in 1898.


Hilltarvit Golf Club, Cupar, Fife. Postcard showing Hill Tarvit Golf Course.

Valentine's Series postcard dated 23/1/03 of Hill Tarvit Golf Course, Cupar.