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Antique Golf Clubs from Scotland
Scottish Golf History

Places

Elie, Fife
(Source: © 1999, Douglas MacKenzie)

This Fife village has a most attractive golf course, the design and improvement of which has benefited from the suggestions of Tom Morris in 1899, George Forrester and James Braid. ‘The finest little course he had ever played over’, was Harry Vardon’s comment after playing A H Scott in an exhibition game in August 1899. Both the Elie Golf House Club and Earlsferry Thistle were founded in 1875, although an Earlsferry and Elie Golf Club had existed since 1858. One of its early captains, in 1897, was J.E. (Johnny) Laidlay (the gentleman wearing the hat in the photographs) one of the great amateurs of his day. He was leading amateur in the Open four times and was in four consecutive finals of the British Amateur Championship, winning in 1889 and 1891. The stern bespectacled gentleman is T C Glover, captain of the club between 1885 and 1888, and largely responsible for the extension of the course to 14 holes in 1886 and, ultimately, to 18 holes in 1895. In common with many clubs of the period, the greatest problem in extending the course was due to land disputes. In Elie's case this involved years of costly litigation instigated by Sir James Malcolm against the club and the Town Council.

If you wanted to join the club in the early 1920s (when the views of the clubhouse and 11th green were taken), if you were successful in the ballot you would pay an entrance fee of £3 3s and an annual subscription of £2. You would need to leave your dog outside the clubhouse, or face a penalty of five shillings from the steward, but could purchase ‘Intoxicating Liquors’ from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The little boy in the sepia-toned picture was a native of Elie and is posing here, aged 4, (and in the image on our main page) in a local studio. He later became captain of the Elie club. The image has become very popular and appears in all sorts of strange places on the Web. Although we have licensed it to a number of organisations for non-Web use, if you see it on an Internet site it is there without our permission. In those places you can treat it as a warning symbol: if the site operators do not respect our intellectual property rights they probably do not think very highly of your rights as a customer either.

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