The History of the Ladies Section

Leven Ladies’ Golf Club was formed on August 21st 1891, and the first game was played on Saturday August 22nd at 2pm on a 9 hole course “beside the Scoonie Burn”.

In 1892, a decision was taken to have a new course laid out to the north of the railway line which ran from Leven to Lundin Links and Crail and the ground was leased from a Miss Elder, for an annual rent of “10. The 12-hole course was laid out by one of the ‘gentleman associates’. Mr. Alexander Patrick, and the cost borne by two others, Mr. T.C. Balfour and Dr. Crole, whose names appear in the minutes for many years as stalwarts of the Club.
Captain and Mrs. Christie of Durie are also mentioned frequently. Mrs. Christie became the first Lady Patroness in 1892, and later in the same year Captain Christie was asked to lease land for a six-hole extension to the course ‘to relieve pressure in the summer months’. A map of ‘the green’ shows the 18 holes on a triangle of land bounded by the railway, Silverburn property to the east, and marshy ground to the north where we now have the Bing. Mention is made later of rubbish from the pit encroaching on the course, and of water spoiling some of the new greens.

In 1893 a special meeting approved plans for a Pavilion which was erected at a cost of £67.2.6 and first used on November 11th. Some other prices are mentioned in the minutes; day tickets were raised from 3d to 6d; the cost of an annual ticket for a ‘single lady’ and a gentleman associate was 5/- and a family ticket as 12/6, the green keeper’s wage was raised to 15/- a week but reduced to 10/- in the winter months because of shorter days.

In the early days the Club made its own rules e.g., ‘Boys who carry clubs for payment will be ineligible to play in competitions’ and ‘the flag must be laid down and not stuck in the green’. Handicaps too were settled by the committee, and members were asked to withdraw if their own or a relative’s handicap was discussed.

In 1894 the club was ‘constituted on a proper basis’ with an entry fee if 1/-, and the rules were printed and posted ‘at the green’ for the first time. A mixed foursomes Competition with Lundin Links brought an entry of 82 and Drs. Crole and Watson represented the Ladies’ Club in Evening Times foursomes over Elven Links. The Gentleman Associates continued for many years to play a big part in the running of the Club, from 1895 onwards forming the Green Committee, with the Ladies making up the House Committee.

In March 1896 water was brought to the course at the following cost:     
Mr.Barker (plumber, for laying pipes) £54.17.00
For use of town water £  2.10.0
For connecting to supply Innerleven, Thistle and Lundin Links Golf Clubs £    15.00
Rent to Railway for allowing pipes to be laid under bridge (The Cattle Creep) £    10.00

From 1896-1906 the minute books yield interesting pieces of information. The Balfour Salver is played on the first Thursday of the month throughout the year “to encourage practice”, but from 1900 is played from March to September only.

Two divisions are proposed for handicapping for Medal play, ‘Over and Under 8 odds’. The St. Andrews Rules, first mentioned in 1898 are to be hung ‘at the green’ along with a copy of the local rules. The overflow of water from ‘the redd’ is again mentioned and Mr. Carlow is asked to deal with it. The Club’s financial problems and fund raising is discussed to ;dispense with the need of an annual bank overdraft;. Finally, a decision is taken to build a new Pavilion at a total cost of £260.9.2 and it is officially opened by Mrs. Christie on April 19th, 1906.

1907-1919

During this period the attention of the Ladies’ Club was taken up with the thought of “losing their present course” and in 1909 it was annexed to become part pf Leven Links. A new course, laid out to the north of the Pavilion, was formally opened in 1911, featuring a flag and flagstaff donated by Mr. Donaldson of the Elms. In 1912 the Ladies’ club had its first fixture card printed and held a bazaar to help pay the expenses of the Links Joint Committee over the laying out of the new course.

The War years had some effect on the Ladies’ Club; money for prizes was donated to the War Fund; a match with Dysart was cancelled; the course was eventually let for cattle grazing at an annual rent of £39 per year. The Ladies were allowed to play on the ‘long links’ for 5/- a year, ‘as long as they are dispossessed of their own links’.

1919-1932

The course was returned to the ladies in 1919, reopened in May 1920 ‘in splendid condition” and with the Club’s finances cleared of overdraft because of the let for farming. Soon, however, the rent of the Course was raised to £20 and fund raising again occupied the Committee’s attention.

In 1923 a bid was made to extend the Course to the present boundaries of the Municipal, but negotiations with Mr. Christie fell through. A nine-hole putting course was opened beside the Clubhouse in July, a round to cost 1d ‘if own putter used’. Attempts to secure the use of ground beside the Cemetery eventually met with success, with the proviso that the ground was to be returned when needed. During this period too, a motor mower was purchased, and a motor-house built.

In 1928 a sub-committee was appointed to meet the Town Council who were interested in starting up a Municipal Course, and in April 1932 agreement was reached on the eventual take over. In the same year Mrs. Kermack and Miss Brown were appointed to the Links Joint Committee as representatives of the Ladies’ Club.

1933-1939

This period saw protracted dealings with the Town Council, which resulted in the management of the Leven Links being taken over by Club members, while the Town Council assumed control of the Ladies’ Course, though the Ladies were allowed to continue in possession of their Pavilion for ten years, ‘if the Club was still in existence’. In February 1936 the Club was reconstituted with Lady members only and Mrs. Kermack, who had been Secretary for 45 years, became the first Captain. Since the Municipal Course still had only 13 holes, a round was completed by repeating the first five holes. All LGU Competitions however were played on the Leven Course. In 1938 the Town Council took over responsibility for the Pavilion allowing the Ladies to use it for meetings, functions and hospitality. Standard Scratch Scores in 1939 were 71 for the Municipal and 78 for Leven Course.

1940-1945

The effects of the second World War are noted in the minutes: Office Bearers remain unchanged for the duration; no trophies are played for; matches are difficult because of ARP duties; the Municipal Course is ploughed up and the Clubhouse broken into, resulting in the Ladies being granted the use of a room in the Thistle Clubhouse very Tuesday.

1946-1962

The AGM in February 1946 made a fresh start to an important year, during which the Ladies were granted the courtesy of the Leven Course from 5.30 to 6.30. The Club’s 55th anniversary was celebrated at the Beach Hotel on November 27th. In 1947 the appeal for the return of the Pavilion was successful and social members were admitted to the Club for the first time at 2/6 per year.

In 1948 the first of many annual Whist Drives was held in the Caledonian Hotel, later in Scoonie Church Hall. In 1949 the first Open Competition was run on May 14th with an entry fee of 3/6 and 22 competitors, most of whom gave up because of torrential rain. The first Junior Competition was held in July with 33 boys and 5 girls. The dinner and presentation of prizes became an annual affair, held at firs in Comely Bank and costing, in 1955, 12/6 for three courses followed by tea and cakes.

On Coronation Day, in June 1953, the flag was flown at the Pavilion, and an all-day competition took place, but soon afterwards the future of the Pavilion became a matter of concern. Considerable sums of money were needed for upkeep, and it was noted that the ‘Municipal’ was beginning to show interest in taking it over. When in 1962 the Town Council renewed the lease for only six months, the Ladies accepted the offer of accommodation in Leven
Golfing Society Clubhouse and vacated their Pavilion in November of that year. Also in 1962, another long serving Secretary Mrs. Annan retired after 25 years in office.

1963-1974

The official amalgamation date with Leven Golfing Society was 26th March 1963 and in February of 1964 the first committee of Leven Golfing Society (Ladies’ Section) was formed. A new secretary, Mrs. Donaldson (later to become an Honorary Member) took over and maintained the tradition of longs service by remaining on post for 14 years.

Three important golfing events, for which the ladies played host, were the Scottish Girls Championship in 1965, the British Girls Amateur Open Championship in 1968 and the Scottish Girls Stroke Play Championship in 1970. In 1968, the Thornton Lounge was opened, and the changing rooms completed. The Open Tournament in May grew in popularity to a record entry in 1970 of 99, while the Junior Competition also attracted larger entries every August. Mixed Foursomes with the LGS men became an annual event.

1975-1991

The Minute Books, kept for the last ten years by another long serving Secretary, Mrs. Stuart, note some of the changes in the running of the Ladies’ section; rising costs; fashion shows or demonstrations taking the place of whist drives or coffee evenings for fund raising; a booking system introduced in 1981; lack of young players coming in. They reflect too the regular annual rhythm of activities, AGMs, competitions, matches, open tournaments, dinners, all organised in the spacious comfort of LGS clubhouse with the valued cooperation of the members of the Men’s section.

1991

In July the Ladies’ section offered hospitality to a Scottish Girls’ Championship, a welcome event in the middle of the celebrations for their centenary year.

The highlight of the Centenary Year was a special competition held on August 21st to celebrate 100 years of the Ladies’ Golf Club; two shields were donated to be presented to the winners and thereafter played for annually Players from many of the local clubs were invited to take part in the competition and each visiting club presented the Ladies’ Club with a gift to mark the occasion.

1992-2010

In 1993 Mrs. Davina Scott was made a Life Member of the club and on August 28th 2008 Davina celebrated her 100th
birthday with a putt on the 18th green and a party in the clubhouse. Also in 1993 Mrs., Rita Stuart became a Life Member which was presented at the Annual Dinner.

In 2000 the millennium was celebrated with a Cabaret and
Dance held on February 29th and an Invitational golf event on September 30th.

At the AGM in 2008 Mrs. Shirley Hazelton was presented with her Life Membership.

Lorna Bennett, our multiple Ladies Club Champion holds the Ladies Course Record set on1st July 2008 with a score of 69 CSS 74. This was played in the Balfour Salver (a monthly medal) combined with the White Medal.

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