WHEN club captain Ian Scott hit a drive off the first tee to officially open the 2013 golfing season at Linlithgow Golf Club, it took on added significance as this year sees the club celebrate its centenary.
A number of special events will be held over the summer to mark this historic occasion and members, guests and visitors are hoping for a decent spell of summer weather to go with these events.
Centenary celebration events include a historic nine hole competition using hickory-shafted golf clubs on May 25 and 26; a dinner-dance on Saturday, June 8, in the marquee at Linlithgow Rugby Club; and the club’s annual Silloth competition will be held on August 3 and 4.
Members, guests and visitors will also see some improvements with a centenary cairn having been erected at the approach to the clubhouse, centenary flags on the greens and a centenary flag flying proudly from the flagpole.
Like many other clubs before it, the golf club has had to survive a crisis or two to get where it is today.
The decision to form a golf club goes back to a meeting held on September 24, 1913 when Sheriff Sir Robert Maconochie generously agreed to a nine-hole course being laid out on his land.
The course was designed by Robert Simpson, the professional at Carnoustie Golf Club, for a grand total of five pounds sixteen shillings (£5.80). The club prospered in its early years but then golf in Linlithgow slowed to a halt during the Second World War.
The club was revived in 1946 and a merger was suggested with West Lothian Golf Club. This did not take place, however, much to the relief of members of both courses no doubt!
The club did not have a bar until 1955. Prior to this a lady known simply in club records as Granny Graham, who lived in a cottage where the greenkeepers’ sheds now stand, provided teas to members and their guests and issued green fee tickets.
In 1956, the club received an unwelcome surprise when it received notice to quit from a farmer who had bought the land from Sheriff Maconochie.
A valiant attempt by Linlithgow Town Council to place a compulsory purchase order on the land to save the course failed.
However, Mrs Georgina MacKinnon who lived at Williamscraig and whose family founded The Drambuie Liqueur Company, stepped in to save the club and not only bought the land but offered the club the lease of additional land to extend the course to 18 holes.
In 1959 the club was re-opened thanks to Mrs MacKinnon and she performed the opening ceremony by driving the ball down the first fairway.
The following year the clubhouse was extended and in 1963 work began to extend the course to 18 holes. At that time, a very significant and generous donation was made by Mrs Dorothea Stein to allow the additional work on the course to take place.
In the 1970s and following the death of Mrs MacKinnon, the 85 acres of land the golf club sits on were sold by her estate but not to the golf club.
The issue of the land was resolved when the golf club entered into negotiations in 1976 to buy the land from the new owner.