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Kingsbarns Golf Club, Fife. (1780s - 1950s)

During the 1780s the Kingsbarns Golf Society was created, golf was being played on the links in early 1793. The golfers continued to play until 1850 when the Cambo Estate tenant farmer decided that it would be far more profitable to turn his land over to agriculture and the course was duly ploughed up.

The club and course was re-established in 1922 and continued until WW2 when the course was required for the war effort.

Report below from May 1822.


Kingsbarns Golf Club, Fife. Report from the Caledonian Mercury in May 1822.

From the Caledonian Mercury Monday 13th May 1822. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Below a medal competition played in August 1825.


Kingsbarns Golf Club, Fife. Medal competition played in August 1825.

From the Fife Herald Thursday 18th August 1825. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


On the Cambo Links on Saturday 5th August 1826 the gold medal was won by David A Lindsay with a score of 75.

Below medal result in August 1928.


Kingsbarns Golf Club, Fife. Medal result from August 1928.

From the Edinburgh Evening Courant Saturday 16th August 1928. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


On Saturday 2nd May 1840 the Gold Medal, presented by the bachelors of the club, was played over the Cambo Links and was won by William Clark of Hillhead with a score of 78. At this time there were two medals for competition for the “Society” – one played in May, this was open to all members, the other in August, this was for “regular” members.  

The Gold Medal presented to the club by Captain Fieldon was played for over the Cambo Links on Friday 4th November 1842. Many “skilful” players took part, the winner was Captain Campbell with a score of 116.

The Kingsbarns club re-appeared in 1922 when Willie Auchterlonie laid out a nine hole course on the links at Kingsbarns Bay. 

In August 1922 it was stated that all people interested in joining the proposed Kingsbarns Golf Club should contact the interim secretary, James Brown, Station Road, no later than the 20th August.

Many fund raising events were organised to raise money for the early development of the course; concerts, whist drives, dances, sales of work etc. In February 1923 a concert was organised by Miss Nimmo, Kingsbarns House, all proceeds going to the golf course fund, a total of about £9 was raised.

In July 1923 the first competition took place on the new course. Winner of the ladies’ stroke competition was Miss Janie S Ross, second was Mrs Hugh Scott. Winner of the gentlemen’s stroke competition was A Robertson, second was D Ferguson and third J M Robertson. 

A nine-hole handicap competition for boys under fourteen was held on the links in August 1923, prizes were donated by Mr John Greig, Cowdenbeath, winners were; W Smith, Jas Smith, Alistair McKinnes. Also in August a mixed foursome stroke competition was played, result as follows; Miss M Greig and Mr Little, 91; Mrs Gilmour and Mr Nesbit, 95; Miss Berwick and Mr Baptie, 96. The prizes were given by Mr & Mrs Inglis, South Quarter, and presented by Mrs Greig, Cowdenbeath.

At a committee meeting in September Mr Lawrence, the secretary, passed on thanks to Mr W Dean Wilson, farmer, Morton of Pitmilly, who had presented the club with a silver medal to be competed for, probably on a monthly basis. This was the first “trophy” to be presented to the new club.

The annual meeting was of the club was held in December 1923. The report was submitted by the secretary and showed that the club was flourishing, the membership being over 80 during the past year. The income from visitors, particularly during the summer months, was very encouraging. The following office-bearers were elected; Hon president, Sir Thomas Erskine, Bart. of Cambo; vice-presidents, Miss Nimmo, Kingsbarns House and Mr W Deans Wilson, Morton; chairman of committee, George Giles, Hillhead; captain, W R Cairns, Ashburn, Crail; vice-captain, Robert Inglis, South Quarter; secretary and treasurer, Robert Lawrence, The Schoolhouse.

Following are a selection of results from 1925:-

The winner of the January Wilson monthly medal was John Cambo.

The half yearly bogey competition was held in May and was won by John Black with a score of 3up, R Ingliss and J Turnbull tied for second place. The medal played for in this competition was a replica of the Fielden medal which belonged to the old Kingsbarns Golfing Society, it was presented to the Society nearly 100 years ago. The present medal was presented to the new club by Mrs Corstorphine, Edinburgh.

Result of the Wilson monthly medal played in August; W Turnbull, net 72; J Watson and J H Martin tied for second with 74. Also in August the final of the Milligan Cup was played, in the final R Lawrence beat R B Lawrence 4 and 3. Results; second round – R Lawrence (3) beat J Watson (6); W Turnbull (7) beat R Inglis (7); J Black (9) beat R Braid (13); R B Lawrence (2) beat J Y Young (8).     

R W Braid won the October Wilson monthly medal with a score of 71, J Y Young was second with 78.

The competition for the Inglis Cup (best two scores in three rounds) took place in November and was won by John Watson, 81 and 74 total 155; David Anderson was second, 78 and 79 total 157. The competition for the Wilson medal for November, result as follows; John Watson, 74; David Brown and James Braid, both 77.

Result of the New Year's Day competition 1926; Walter Turnbull, 89-13-76; David Anderson, 102-25-77; James H Martin, 106- 26-80; Robert Smith, 109-26-83; John Y Young, 101-17-84; Robert Inglis, 97-12-85; Jack Turnbull, 96-11-85; Robert Lawrence, 88-3-85.

The winner of the Wilson Medal in June 1926 was Rev. D G Bisset after a tie with J Morrison. The Inglis Cup was won by Robert Smith with scores of 78 and 70 - 148. The semi-finalists for the Erskine Cup; J Turnbull and J Watson, J Morrison and W Turnbull.

Below the course marked on the 1927 O.S. map.  


Kingsbarns Golf Club, Fife. The golf course marked on the 1927 Ordnance Survey Map.

Ordnance Survey Map © Crown Copyright {1927}


Below is an interesting extract from a newspaper report in July 1928.


Kingsbarns Golf Club, Fife. Report from the St Andrews Citizen July 1928.

From the St Andrews Citizen Saturday 21st July 1928. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


The secretary throughout the 1930s was W S Wilkie, Schoolhouse, Kingsbarns and the green-keeper J Brown. The 9-hole hilly seaside course had a SSS of 72 and a membership of 40. The clubhouse was not licensed nor had it any catering facilities; meals were available at the nearby hotel. Amateur course record holder was W Smith (71). Visitors’ fees were 5/- a week, 9/- a fortnight and 12/6 a month. Sunday play was not allowed. Local hotel was the Cambo.

Mr George Giles presided at the annual meeting held in December 1930. Mr Wilkie, secretary, reported on a successful season and a satisfactory credit balance. In addition to the re-election of the officials and committee the following appointments were made; Captain, Mr G Giles; vice-captain, Mr D Anderson; auditors, D Brown and P McLaren. Three new members were appointed to the committee, R Morris, R Morrison and J Grieve. It was decided to ask Captain Jeffrey of Pitmelly to become a vice-president.

Below is the result of the Captain v Vice-Captain match played in April 1933.

Captain's Team   Vice-Captain's Team  
W S Wilkie 0 R W Braid 1
R Morris 0 W Smith 1
Reverend D G Bisset (halved) 0 D Grieve (halved) 0
T Smith 1 J Black 0
J Grieve 1 D Y Young 0
R Morrison 1 D Brown 0
D Anderson 1 M Munro 0
J Braid 1 D Hampton 0
  5   2

The annual meeting was held in December 1933, George Giles in the chair. It was reported that the club was entirely self supported with a substantial balance in hand. Membership had slightly increased, due in part to the recent formation of a Ladies' Club. The following officers were elected; President, Sir Thomas Erskine, Bart; vice-presidents - Miss Nimmo, Lady Stewart-Sandeman, Mrs Corstorphine, Capt. J A Jeffrey, Mrs W R Cairns; captain, R W Braid; vice-captain, Rev. D G Bisset; secretary and treasurer, W S Wilkie.

Result of the New Year’s handicap played in January 1934; D Grieve (10), 68; J Grieve (9), 71; R Smith (17), 75; J Young (16), 75; D G Bisset (12), 76; R Braid (24), 77; D Brown (21), 78.     

Winner of the Wilson medal for February 1939 was John Black, 77, runner-up Walter Turnbull, 78.

Below is the result of a foursome match played against the St Andrew’s Links Staff on the Eden Course in April 1939. 

Links Trust Staff   Kingsbarns Golf club  
J Ferguson & J Grieve 1 T Smith & R Morris 0
J Bennett & A Wotherspoon 1 J Black & W Turnbull 0
D More & D Y Cunningham 1 J Drummond & J M Turnbull 0
J Matthew & A Drummond 1 J Morrison & J Young 0
J Daw & D Grieve 1 F Sheach & A Mayes 0
W Martin & A D McLaren 1 H Braid & W B Wilkie 0
  6   0

Below is the result of a club match played against Crail on the Balcomie course also in April 1939. 

Crail   Kingsbarns  
A Watson & J Watson 1 T Smith & R Morris 0
F Lindsay & R Watson 1 W Turnbull & J Black 0
J G Drummond & D Mitchell 1 J M Turnbull & J Morrison 0
J C Robertson & R Lawrence 1 J Y Young & F Sheach 0
J Mackie & D Lorimer 1 W S Wilkie & A Mayes 0
G Adams & A Meldrum 0 W B Wilkie & H Braid 1
  5   1

The club dance, whist drive and prize presentation was held in February 1941. Mr W S Wilkie, secretary, explained that it had been possible to carry out all fixtures last season. Although, as far as golf was concerned, the club was temporarily in abeyance, he expressed the hope that the time was not far distant when play on the course could be resumed. Trophy winners; Cairns Memorial Trophy (Club Championship,) W Smith; Erskine Cup - J Morrison; runner-up, W Smith; Duncan Cup, H Braid; Spence Cup, W Turnbull; Inglis Cup, W B Wilkie; Wilson Medal, W B Wilkie; Sandeman Medal, H Braid; Corstorphine Medal - joint holders; H Braid and J Lornie.

Play became impossible when the land was required for the laying of mines during the war.

In January 1947 the club, in abeyance since the outbreak of war, had been revived with the following office bearers; Captain, W Smith; vice-captain, J Black; hon. secretary and treasurer, W S Wilkie.

Advert from December 1947 - For sale two roomed sectional wooden hut 21ft long by 13ft wide and 8ft 6ins to the eaves, with two lavatories. Can be seen at Kingsbarns Golf Course. Offers to W S Wilkie, Schoolhouse, Kingsbarns.

Report from the Dundee Courier Monday 19th January 1948. "Missing Links in East Fife Golf - Golf is likely to disappear as the village sport at Kingsbarns, and bowling may take its place. The golf course was a coastal mine field during the war and it was impossible to walk over it. Kingsbarns Golf Club members are considering winding up their affairs because they cannot find the money to restore the course. A suggestion has been made that a small piece of the course should be converted into a bowling green." 

Following WW2 Kingsbarns continued as a Golf Club but without there own course. They held meetings and continued playing competitions over the Balcomie Links until the mid 1950s. 

Below presentation of trophies in March 1949. Competitions were played over the Balcomie Links. 


Kingsbarns Golf Club, Fife. Prize presentation at the Cambo Arms in March 1949.

From the St Andrews Citizen Saturday 26th March 1949. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Below the last report found for the earlier Kingsbarns Golf Club  in February 1956.


Kingsbarns Golf Club, Fife. The last report found in 1956 for the former Kingsbarns Golf Club.

From the St Andrews Citizen Saturday 18th February 1956. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.



The current club was established in 2000.