Lundin Golf Club, near to St Andrews the ‘Home of Golf’, is well known throughout the golfing world as a course of rare quality. Founded in 1868, on a Tom Morris course it was extensively redesigned by five times Open Champion James Braid in 1909.
Fine links fairways and excellent greens have ensured that it has been regularly selected as a final qualifying golf course for the Open Championship. Narrow fairways, bunkers, burns, and ever-changing winds guarantee a testing but rewarding golfing experience.
LUNDIN LINKS GOLF CLUB HISTORY
The Lundin Golf Club was founded on the 8th May, 1868. In that year the Leven Clubs had extended their links from the Mile Dyke eastwards towards Lundin Links. This extended course occupied the narrow strip of land lying between the railway line and the Firth of Forth.
The first captain of the Lundin Golf Club was Mr Rintoull of Lahill who, as immediate Past Captain of the Innerleven Club, had been influential in the decision to abandon the Dubbieside Links in favour of ‘the popular green at Leven’. The Lundin end of the links was described in 1868 as ‘benty, tussocky and ripe with whin’, with which the errant driver of today might still agree. It would appear that the club had great difficulty in establishing itself. Despite the efforts of the Innerleven Club who offered prizes to encourage play, the Lundin Club went out of existence some nine years after its formation.
The club was resuscitated in 1889 with an annual subscription fixed at 2/6 and an entry fee of like amount. A two-roomed clubhouse was built costing £70 and the Club quickly became established as a healthy constitution. The course was administered by a Joint Links Committee made up of members of the Innerleven, Leven Thistle, and Lundin Clubs. The Leven end of the links was leased from Mr R Maitland Christie of Durie and the Lundin end from John Gilmour of Montrave (later Sir John and Captain of The Royal & Ancient).
By 1893 the membership of the Lundin Club had risen to 130 and the original Clubhouse had become inadequate. Plans were drawn up for new premises, and in 1896 Sir John Gilmour opened the new Clubhouse.
The shared links, with the Leven and Lundin golfers starting from their respective ends, inevitably became congested as the popularity of the game increased. By 1907 the membership at Lundin was approaching 400 while the Leven golfers numbered almost 1000. On 11th November of that year a petition was presented to Sir John Gilmour requesting that he consider the establishment of an 18 hole course on his estate. Sir John was evidently in sympathy with the petitioners, for within a few months plans had been drawn up and submitted to the legendary James Braid for his observations. On 27th March, 1908, Braid came to Lundin Links and in October of that year work began on the laying out of the new course.
The course was made up of nine holes on the existing links together with nine on ground formerly occupied by the Lundin Ladies Golf Club to the North of the railway line. Sir John made available to the Ladies the Standing Stanes Park and a field adjacent thereto. One suspects that the Ladies may have required some persuasion to relinquish their tenure, but Sir John provided appropriate encouragement by having Braid design their new course as well! The new 18 hole course was completed by the Autumn of 1909 (at a cost of £143.2.6) and on 29th November, 1909, Mr B C Cox, Captain of the day, drove the first ball using a ‘Dreadnought’ club donated by Sir John. The original layout did not prove wholly satisfactory and, after a few years, modifications were made, resulting in the course we know today.
The Clubhouse, course and practice ground were purchased from the Montrave Estate in 1951. The railway line was closed in the 1960’s and the Club purchased that ground from the Railway Company in 1971 together with the old station which had stood sentinel over the 17th green for so many years. Part of the railway embankment was regraded to allow re-alignment of the 18th fairway and extend the practice ground. The Club’s private water supply saw the introduction of an automatic sprinkler system in 1974.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the course remains largely as it was some 100 years ago. The first five holes are in classic links tradition proceeding from the Clubhouse to the Mile Dyke. Players then cross the now extinct railway line and play the nine ‘new’ holes on what one might describe as a cross between links and parkland turf. Back across the railway, the last four holes revert to the genuine links tradition. Not long by modern standards, Lundin nonetheless presents a thorough test of the golfer’s skills.
Today Lundin Golf Club offers some of the finest examples of links holes in Scotland and for many years has been a worthy participant in the Final Qualifying stages of The Open prior to its staging at St. Andrews.