Ladybank Golf Club was established in 1879. The architect of the original 6-hole course, Old Tom Morris, played in the Autumn Meeting that year as a ‘stranger’ and won despite his handicap of +3 strokes. In 1910 a circular 9 holes was formed with the holes varying in length from 330 to 400 yards with ‘two short sporting’ holes at the fourth and seventh. A further 9 holes were laid down in 1958 and incorporated within the existing course in 1961 to form an 18 hole course.
A new Clubhouse was built in 1971 with the existing building becoming the present-day Proshop. The year 1978 was a landmark year for Ladybank with nomination as a venue for Open Championship Final Qualifying. The course of today is still a severe examination of the professional’s course management skills. For lesser mortals this is a challenge to relish with accuracy off the tee more important than length.
During the past twenty five years a galaxy of stars has graced the turf including, Darren Clarke, Justin Leonard, Bernard Langer, Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam and the late Payne Stewart. The Club proudly displays pictures of two honorary members, Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros, playing in an exhibition match over the course in 1983.
The present Professional record holder is Paul Affleck having scored a 65, on the altered course, to equal the score set by Mark Brooks in 1995 Local heroes include George Will, a Ryder Cup player, and Dale Reid, O.B.E., a leading lady golfer and now forever remembered as Captain of the victorious European Solheim Cup team at Loch Lomond in 2000.
1879 Ladybank Golf Club formed - the 15 founder members included the local Sheriff and four reverend gentlemen. The initial entry fee/annual subscription was one guinea and Tom Morris was commissioned to lay out a 6-hole course. Later that year Tom Morris returned to play as a 'stranger' in the Autumn medal which he won by 3 shots.
1895 The members agreed to permit the recently formed Ladies Club access to the course but a further twenty-five years would elapse before the ladies were 'permitted' to appoint a Secretary from their own ranks.
1899 Voluntary subscriptions totalled £1 6/10 for the year - this would have been more had the Cash Box not been forcibly opened during the summer and a sum of at least 5/- stolen.
1903 A green fee tariff of 3d per round was agreed - prior to this decision visitors (or strangers) were 'charged' what they wanted to give and no more.
1904 The Autumn meeting incorporated a handicap competition to celebrate the Club's Silver Jubilee. The prizes were bought from subscriptions totalling £4+:
|1st||H G White 91 14 77 carriage clock||
A Springvale Hawk Golf Ball
(They are now worth $375 each!)
|2nd||W Lambert 95 16 79 set of 5 clubs|
|3rd||J Watt 81 0 81 doz. Springvale Hawk golf balls|
1910 New extended circular course (9 holes) opened by Dr. Ferris Mudie (Captain) with the honour of driving the first ball accorded to Mrs Mudie. The holes varied in length from 330 to 400 yards with two short sporting holes, the fourth and seventh. When the history of golf came to be written it would probably be St. Andrews first, afterwards Ladybank. ('Hear, hear')
1914 All match and medal competitions abandoned for the season due to the National Crisis.
1915 Deputation to the Colonel of Annsmuir Camp regarding 'cutting up of the course' by yeomanry.
1916 Nineteen members on active service exempted from payment of subscription. Deficit of £10: 3/ recorded due to loss of revenue from visiting golfers.
1922 Scratch score - course measured at 5984 yards, par of 72 with 4 shots added to compensate for fairways and rough.
1925 New Clubhouse built (cost £372: 1/10) - funds raised from Bazaar totalled £554: 17/3.
1929 The Jubilee celebrations took the form of a Mixed Foursomes and 'pitch and putting' competitions.
1939 Members, including the Captain, who were called to military service permitted to continue their membership without payment and no entrance fee charged on their return to civil duties.
1941 Notice on first tee requesting replacement of turf printed in Polish.
1950 Course purchased (144 acres) for £843: 2/ -, the amount being based on the number and value of trees on the property. An offer to purchase a further 28 acres of ground to the west of the Letham Road was declined - the Club subsequently did acquire the property forty-five years later for a figure 200 times greater than the original asking price!
|1951 Application from George Will, a Juvenile member, that he be admitted to the Senior Club. It was unanimously agreed that he was worthy to step up. George Will would become the first Fifer to win the Scottish Boys' Championship in 1955. (North Berwick) Following his win in the British Youths at Harrogate George was made an Honorary Member of the Club and turned Professional. In a long and distinguished career George would gain Ryder Cup honours.||
George Will in full flow.
1962 Official opening of the new 18-hole course with an Open Amateur Week enjoyed by 450 golfers despite the inclement weather.
|1971 Official opening of the new Clubhouse by Sir William Walker. An exhibition match was held later in the year with George Will, Brian Huggett, Jim Farmer and local scratch member Billy Thomson taking part. Brian Huggett would remark that the course was of championship status.||
A high quality field was assembled to mark the opening of the new clubhouse.
1972 Dale Reid elected to full membership of the Club. After representing her country as a juvenile Dale would turn Professional, be granted Honorary membership of the Club and become a leading European Tour player. Following her successful captaincy of the European Solheim Cup team Dale was awarded the O.B.E. in 2001.
1978 Ladybank accorded Final Open Qualifying status for the first time. Further honours would follow in 1984, 1990, 1995 and 2000.
1979 Centenary dinner held in the Old Course Hotel, St. Andrews. Other events included a ladies exhibition match and a Pro-Am tournament.
1983 Exhibition match played between Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros. It was entirely appropriate that the match was played in glorious sunshine - weather 'fit for gods'.
2000 Again Ladybank was used as a course for Final Qualifying for the 25th Open Championship to be held at St.Andrews.
2001 Ladybank played host to the Ladies British Amateur Championship. With more than half the entrants playing off scratch or better this was the strongest field ever assembled in the UK.