The club is one of the oldest private members clubs in the world having been formed in 1832. We have played over the same piece of land since that time. Here is a timeline of the important points in our history (and some amusing ones too!)
There is just one book that covers the history of the Golf Club and play on the course. That is ‘In The Wind’s Eye’ by Alistair Beaton Adamson, from which most of this information is taken.
|1605||The Kirk Session records reference to “….the toune links.”|
|1728||The Town Council rules “that no person or persons play at the golf is to prejudice the growing of grass on the common green.”|
|1732||The Town council expresses concern about a threat to “guff”.|
|1775||The Town Council rules “…that no person or persons shall be permitted to play golf over the castle hill without a runner before to forewarn passengers passing or re-passing to keep out of harms way.”|
|1800||Earliest noted golfer on the links is Captain John Chiene of Williamstone Farm near North Berwick.|
|1832||The first meeting of The North Berwick Golf Club is held on 1st June 1832. 28 Members played the 6 hole course.
It was agreed that the maximum number of Members will be 50, with a subscription of £1-0-0.
The first Captain of the Club was Sir David Baird, Baronet.
The first Secretary of the Club was Mr George Wauchope
|1838||Membership now up to 55, with annual subscriptions of £2-0-0. 20 Members of the Club are also Members of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.|
|1848||First mention of purchasing a Clubhouse is noted. Until now a marquee was pitched for each of the Club’s main meetings.
The Club’s finances show a debt of £86-5-0 to the estate of the late Secretary, Mr Wauchope.
There are now 62 Members of the Club and “…a turnover of £150-0-0 or thereby.”
Life Membership is offered for £10-0-0.
|1849||Old Tom Morris (St Andrews) and Allan Robertson take on Willie and Tom Dunn (Musselburgh) over the 7 hole course with a side bet of £100-0-0. This is the start of several challenge matches hosted by the Club until 1900.
Plans to purchase the Tollhouse discussed. This was located on the site of the current Clubhouse).
|1853||Tantallon Golf Club formed.|
|1854||Minutes show a total of 64 Members and debts of £61-0-0! The ideal of purchasing a Clubhouse is discussed again.
At this time, there was no Greenkeeper to tend the course.
|1860||Minutes show concerns raised”….of long waits in the summer at hole after hole and a round could take up to 3 hours…” And this for a 7 hole course!|
|1862||The quarry on the 2nd Hole (Sea) was filled in.|
|1863||The Club decides to hold just one meeting in September so as to fit in with the Doncaster Races!|
|1868||Lord Elcho donates a medal for competition amongst children – the oldest Junior Competition Prize in the world and still played for to this day. It is on display in the New Clubhouse.|
|1869||Tom Dunn is employed a Greenkeeper.|
|1873||Bass Rock Golf Club formed.|
|1876||David Strath becomes Head Greenkeeper.|
|1877||Agreement reached with The Archerfield Estate to encroach onto Ferrygate Farm to Eil Burn. Cost of extending the course was £300-0-0. The first tee is moved from the eastern end of the current Council Putting Green to its present location.|
|1879||Membership now at 60.The ideal of purchasing a Clubhouse is raised yet again.
David Strath, Head Greenkeeper, dies.
In September, The New North Berwick Golf Club is formed to build the New Clubhouse. The site of the Tollhouse was purchased by Sir Hew Dalrymple and feued to The New North Berwick Golf Club. The cost of the building was £1400-0-0, raised with a loan for £1500-0-0 from the British Linen Bank. 100 lockers were installed, which are in the Clubroom to this day, with the names of the Members in brass on their locker.
Membership was now limited to 100 with a joining fee of £5-0-0 and an annual subscription of £1-0-0.
|1880||The New Clubhouse opens on 1st July 1880.|
|1881||Tom Dunn returns from Wimbledon to become Head Greenkeeper. The Cree Medal for juniors is played for the first time.|
|1883||There are 143 Members of The New North Berwick Golf Club. Teeing grounds on 4 holes extended.|
|1888||A new lease agreement between Miss Nisbet Hamilton of Biel, The North Berwick Golf Club and The New North Berwick Golf Club is agreed. The first meeting of The Joint Greens Committee is held with representatives of all the Clubs who played golf over the West Links in attendance. The Clubs were Bass Rock Golf Club, The North Berwick Golf Club, The New North Berwick Golf Club and Tantallon Golf Club. The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club is formed with 37 Members, but they have no playing rights over the West Links.|
|1889||The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club soon has just short of 100 Members. The legendary Harry Vardon and Will Park Junior play a 36 hole Challenge Match for £100-0-0 over the course, with a further 36 played at Ganton Golf Club. It is estimated that between 7 and 10,000 spectators follow the match.|
|1890||Club finances show a balance of £70-0-8. The New North Berwick Golf Club now has reached its ceiling of 200 Members and the loan for the Clubhouse is decreasing.
The New Clubhouse is extended by 2 rooms at a cost of £712-0-0.
The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club now has 151 Members.
|1891||Proposals are put to Mr & Mrs Hamilton Ogilvie, the owners of The Archerfield Estate, to extend the course. This is agreed.Future Prime Minister, Mr AJ Balfour becomes Captain of The New North Berwick Golf Club|
|1893||The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club reaches an agreement to play Sanghs Field – now the Children’s Course.|
|1894||The New North Berwick Golf Club take over the lease for Sanghs Field.|
|1895||The new course now measures 6,095 yards in length. The Gold Challenge Medal is played for to celebrate the extending of the course. This medal is still played for each year and is on display in the New Clubhouse.
Quotes to extend the New Clubhouse to a 2 storey building are sought. The cost is £2140-0-0. Tantallon Golf Club offer to buy the New Clubhouse for £2500-0-0 as The New North Berwick Golf Club look at 3 West Bay Road as a new venue. They offer £4500-0-0 for the house but the sale falls through. Tantallon Golf Club Membership is limited to 300 Members. Perfection (now the 14th hole on the course) is created.
|1899||Future Prime Minister, Mr AJ Balfour becomes Captain of The North Berwick Golf Club. Caddies aged 14 and over are required to wear a red armband, if under 14 they wear a blue armband.|
|1900||Inchgarry House is put up for sale for £7000-0-0. Members of The New North Berwick Golf Club (?) vote 84 against 54 to buy the house and build a new Clubhouse in the gardens. They would then sell off the house with a reduced garden for £3200-0-0. The cost of the new Clubhouse would be £4245-0-0. The New Clubhouse would become a private residence valued at £1500-0-0. The deal fell through.|
|1902||A new 21 year lease is agreed at a rent of £450-0-0 per annum.|
|1905||The British Ladies Championship is played on the course.|
|1909||The bank balance is shown as £45-6-2!|
|1914||The Club’s fortunes have improved and show a balance of £2636-2-4.|
|1915||There are now 10 Greenkeepers now employed.|
|1916||The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club now has 159 Members and its own clubhouse in the grounds of The Marine Hotel. Their course rental is now £60-0-0.|
|1918||The New North Berwick Golf Club approaches The North Berwick Estate to lease the land between the March Dyke and ground leased by the estate to the Burgh. The rest of the course is included in the discussions which are concluded in 1922. The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club now have 150 Members and played their first ever meeting over the 18 hole course.
The New North Berwick Golf Club buys a horse to help with course maintenance.
|1920||The Club begins discussions with The Archerfield Estate to purchase land for £9000-0-0, plus the Ladies Course for £1400-0-0 and additional land for £2400-0-0. The Council steps in and blocks the sale and increases the rent to £700-0-0.|
|1921||The Town Council offer £10,750-0-0 for the land from the March Dyke, Ladies Course and foreshore. Talks stall.|
|1924||Discussions between The New North Berwick Golf Club and The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club about a merger take place but are inconclusive. The New North Berwick Golf Club takes over the maintenance of the Ladies Course (now the Children’s Course).|
|1925||Club purchases its first tractor.|
|1927||A second tractor is purchased as the cost of maintain the courses rises to £3383-0-0. Green Fees raised from 4 shillings to 5 shillings.
45 acres of last leased from Colonel Grant to house the current 9th and 10th holes.
|1932||On 1st August the centenary of The North Berwick Golf Club is celebrated in The New North Berwick Golf Club Clubhouse (the New Clubhouse).|
|1933||Discussions take place between The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club and Tantallon Golf Club, but fail to progress due to the stringent conditions requested by Tantallon Golf Club.|
|1934||The New North Berwick Golf Club and The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club enter into discussions about a merger, but again nothing is agreed.|
|1935||The New North Berwick Golf Club, The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club and Tantallon Golf Club enter into discussions about a merger, and again nothing is agreed.Members of The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club become Associate Members of The New North Berwick Golf Club. The inaugural Scottish Boys Championship is organised and hosted by The New North Berwick Golf Club and is competed for over the West Links until 1968.|
|1943||The 9th and 10th holes are requisitioned by the Air Ministry for an armaments range. The holes are badly shot up!|
|1945||German Prisoners of War are used to repair the damaged banking on ‘Perfection.’|
|1946||Records show 103 Members of The North Berwick Golf Club with 57 Members of The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club. Play in 4 balls is still not permitted on the course.|
|1949||The land to the west of March Dyke (wall on the 3rd hole) is put up for sale fort £10000-0-0 by Biel Estates. The New North Berwick golf Club offers £9000-0-0 and the sale falls through, although the Club are given first refusal should the sale of the land be reconsidered.|
|1953||The same land is put up for sale for £10000-0-0 by Biel Estates. The New North Berwick Golf Club offers £7000-0-0 with a further £500-0-0 on the advice of their valuator. The Town Council also offer to buy the land but not in competition with the Club, who agree to “….march with the Council….” to purchase the land. The owners propose a £7000-0-0 with a £3000-0-0 bond, which the Club refuses. Westerdunes Hotel makes a bid, matching the valuation by Biel Estates and presses for a decision. They plan to start the course near the hotel (the current 8th tee) and turn at March Dyke, with further holes developed to the west of the current 9th hole.|
|1954||The Town Council steps in and buys the land for £9700-0-0 and grant The New North Berwick Golf Club the lease for 15years at £450-0-0 rental per annum.|
|1955||Golf on a Sunday has never been permitted and discussions take place to allow this to happen.|
|1957||Sunday golf is permitted for the first time on the course. Sir Hew Dalrymple hands over the land to the East of March Dyke (the land the current 1st, 2nd 3rd, 16th, 17th and 18th holes are on) to the Burgh.|
|1960||The North Berwick Golf Club uses a marquee for the final time to hold its annual meeting, having done so for 128 years.|
|1962||The North Berwick Golf Club makes a formal offer to The New North Berwick Golf Club to merge.|
|1963||On 1st January the two Clubs finally merger to become The North Berwick Golf Club based in the New Clubhouse.|
|1967||David Huish is appointed Head Professional.|
|1968||The Club organises and hosts the Scottish Boys Championship for the last time before handing over to The Scottish Golf Union.|
|1972||The Club hosts Final Qualifying for The Open Championship for the 1st time.|
|1974||The Scottish Boys Championship returns to The North Berwick Golf Club for the final time.|
|1975||David Huish leads The Open Championship at Carnoustie after 2 rounds.|
|1980||The Club hosts Final Qualifying for The Open Championship for the 2nd time.|
|1983||Once again a merger between The North Berwick Golf Club and Tantallon Golf Club is discussed, but fails to materialise.|
|1985||The Club hosts The Scottish Amateur Stroke Play Championship.|
|1987||The Club hosts Final Qualifying for The Open Championship for the 3rd time.|
|1988||The Marine Hotel makes a move to obtain the lease for the course and offer to build a clubhouse and spa for members.|
|1992||The Steward’s flat on the first floor is converted into the East and West Lounges. The Club hosts Final Qualifying for The Open Championship for the 4th time.|
|1994||The Club hosts The Scottish Club Championship.|
|1995||The Club hosts The Scottish Amateur Stroke Play Championship.|
|1996||The lease for the course is awarded to The North Berwick Golf Club for 99 years.|
|1999||The North Berwick Golf Club hosts the Ladies Golf Union organised Vagliano Trophy, featuring the best lady amateurs from Great Britain & Ireland against those from Europe.|
|2000||The Millennium is marked with the building of the Starter’s Lodge.|
|2001||The Club hosts The Scottish Club Championship.|
|2002||The Club hosts Final Qualifying for The Open Championship for the 5th time, with the lowest score by Trevor Immelman (The Masters Champion 2008).|
|2004||Proposals made for a significant development of the New Clubhouse that examines the future relationship with both The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club and Tantallon Golf Club in what is known as The Sayers Project.|
|2005||Members of The North Berwick Ladies Golf Club vote to become Full Members of The North Berwick Golf Club.|
|2007||The Club celebrates its 175th Anniversary in a marquee specially erected behind the 18th green for the celebrations and as originally done by the Club at its first meeting. The Club hosts Final Qualifying for The Seniors Open Championship.
The development of the New Clubhouse commences although on a smaller scale than proposed in The Sayers Project. The temporary Clubhouse is a suite of portakabins located to the east of the Clubhouse. The Club hosts The Ladies British Open Amateur Championship. The New Clubhouse development is completed and opens to the Members on 1st December.
|2009||David Huish retires after 42 years’ service as Head Professional. His son, Martyn, takes over as Head Professional.Catriona Matthew, one of our Honour Life Members, wins The RICOH Women’s British Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes GC to secure her first major.|
|2010||The Club co-hosts The Amateur Championship with Muirfield.|
|2013||The Club hosts Local Final Qualifying for The Open Championship for the 6th time.|
|The Club host The Seniors Home Internationals. won by Scotland!
The Club is to host Final Qualifying for The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish open Championship.
|2020||The Club is to host The Scottish Boys Championship in the SGU’s Centenary year. The Club is to host the Centenary of The Scottish Boys Championship.|