Play in the Footsteps of Kings.
In the golf popular Kingdom of Fife you wouldn't expect to come across a club that had not already been fully explored by the inquisitive golf tourist. But in the village of Crossford, some two miles west of the ancient Scots capital of Dunfermline there is a club that not only is a great test of golf but contains a little known but most intriguing history.
Dunfermline Golf Club was patronised by King James VI of Scotland and Charles I as long ago as the 16th century. Both monarchs were keen golfers, particularly King James who took the game south of the Border when he became King James I of England. But that's not where the club's historic connections end. Dunfermline Golf Club is also closely linked to the establishment of golf in the USA when two of its members, John Reid and Robert Lockhart established the first course and club in the States, The Apple Tree Gang which soon afterbecame the St Andrew’s Golf Club in Yonkers, New York, America's oldest golf establishment.
In keeping with its place as Scotland's ancient capital, Dunfermline's premier course clubhouse is a 600 year old baronial home. The interior has been modernised but the tower still contains many elements from its past including ancient stain-glass windows and dark oak lining in the dining room.
Dunfermline Golf Club started out east of the town at Halbeath before moving to a new site in North Queensferry. In 1929, due to an impinging quarry, it was forced to move again to the estate of Torrie some six miles west of Dunfermline where James Braid laid out an impressive 18-hole tract on this site, vague remnants still visible today. It is unclear why the club abandoned the apparently excellent James Braid layout. In 1953 they took up residence in the 600-year old Tower House of the Halkett Family and there have remained.
it's well worth a visit to Dunfermline Golf Club just to appreciate its history and the remarkable dining room within the Tower. But the course is very interesting also and you'll want to play. Unusually it consists of five Par 5 and five Par 3’s with a group of relatively easy Par 4’s. It is the Par 3’s that are most testing with for instance the 208 yard, 2nd, a trying test so early in the round. The course has been beautifully cut through trees of maturity with the walled garden of the old Pitfirrane estate at its centre and forming Out-of Bounds on many holes.
Cutting across the 4th fairway you can still make out the old Drover’s trail that ran from Stirling to Dunfermline, a main thoroughfare in the 15th century for cattle being driven to market. There's also an ancient stone which they say was used to sacrifice witches.
Less than an hour from St Andrews and even closer to Gleneagles (venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup), a visit to Dunfermline Golf Club will be rewarded by a very interesting cultural encounter combined with a round on one of Scotland's finest parkland courses.
Dunfermline Golf Club
Fife KY12 8QW
Tel: 01383 723534 (Secretary and Clubhouse)
Tel: 01383 729061 (Professional Shop)