The Show Park course 1900 – 1910

On the 23 April 1900 seven enthusiasts met to form a Golf Club in East Kilbride. The formation of East Kilbride Golf Club was duly agreed and a site for a new 9 hole golf course was identified at the Show Park.

Immediately a course layout was designed, agreement made with the tenant to lease the site for £3 per year and a part-time greenkeeper appointed. On Monday 7 May 1900, two weeks after the foundation meeting, the course was declared open.

The initial subscription was £1.1/- per year and ladies were admitted from 10 August 1900 with a annual sbscription of 5/-. The course was 1800 yards long and bogey was 39. There was no course construction – no drainage, no bunkers and no clubhouse. The course was played as it was on the grass park. At the end of the first season in April 1901 there were 20 gentlemen and 5 lady members. The first years income was £24 and expenditure £19 resulting in a surplus of £5.

The first official competition took place on 24 May 1902 and a year later medal competitions for ladies and gents were begun.

The club was now beginning to organise a social side. The first trophy, the Strang Trophy, was presented in 1906 and gradually membership grew, particularly the ladies section. The lack of clubhouse facilities, the unsatisfactory condition of the greens and the length of the rough were instrumental in the Club’s decision to relocate. In October 1909 it was reported that ground at Blacklaw was available, half a mile south of East Kilbride.

Work on the new course proceeded apace and by March 1910 the membership had risen to 110, 55 ladies and 55 gentlemen. The new Blacklaw 9 hole course and clubhouse opened for play on 7 May 1910 exactly 10 years to the day from the foundation of the Golf Club.

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The Blacklaw 9 Hole Course 1910 - 1923

The bogey for the new course was 76. The first inter-club match was played as mixed doubles against Strathaven in 1911 and in that same year the first exhibition match was played when Mt Itons set a new course record of 72.

During 1913 bunkers were formed on the course and several greens were built up. The bright promise for the future was to be dented by the First World war in August 1914. The green keeper left to join the army and very little play was possible between 1915 and 1916.

All play during 1917 was abandoned and it was to be mid-summer 1918 before golf was possible again. In 1919 with the war ended, the Club began the slow process of course restoration and rebuilding the membership. By 1922 the membership had climbed to 409. The first ladies Captain was appointed in 1921.

A further 38 acres of land were leased increasing the length to 4900 yards. David Livey was the head greenkeeper. The new 18 hole course was opened on 2 June 1923. East Kilbride Golf Club had grown up.

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The War Years 1939 – 1945

The Ministry of Agriculture ordered the grazing of cattle on the course. Only the greens were cut and barbed wire fences were erected for protection. By 1941 all competitions were cancelled and income dwindled. The membership resolved to soldier on.

The course was reduced to 9 holes in 1942 to save expenditure. The tractor was beyond repair and the clubhouse piano was sold for £33 – hard times indeed!

The army relinquished the club house in January 1944. On 1945 a green keeper was employed and a new tractor purchased but cattle were still grazing on the course until May 1947.

The membership increased rapidly during 1946 although the course was restricted to 14 holes. Gradually the Club was preparing itself for the settled conditions which were forecast for the post-war years.

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Post–War Revival 1946 – 1950

One of the signs of the settled conditions was the granting of the Club’s first liquor licence in the summer of 1947. This event coincided with the return to the full 18 holes.

1947 had seen the establishment of East Kilbride New town and the future was to be overshadowed by the threat of losing the course.

In the meantime there were now waiting lists in all sections and inter club matches were resumed. Finance was a critical area and a Grand Bazaar raised £1050.

During the Jubilee Year, a Dinner and Smoker was held in the clubhouse and a Jubilee Competition was inaugurated. Before the end of 1950 the course was being altered to allow for road construction. This was the first physical step leading to the relocation of the Club in 1967 to Nerston.

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Change and Reconstruction 1950 – 1967

The reconstruction of the course took place and the two new holes were ready for the beginning of the 1951 season. The negotiations with East Kilbride Development Corporation secured further ground at Blacklaw farm in lieu of seven holes vacated at Calderwood. During the next two years construction work continued on target. The new nine holes were officially opened on 12 May 1956 with a foursome featuring Jessie Valentine, Frances Smith, John Panton and Eric Brown.

The next few years were difficult financially as the Club strove to build up reserves once more. By 1960 the Club was in surplus but it was clear the Development Corporation landlords were adamant that the existing course was required for housing.

The membership decided that every effort be made to stay on their present location. A spirited campaign was mounted to promote the case for retention without success.

Finally in January 1966 the Council were able to announce that ground had been secured at Nerston. The new course - designed by Fred Hawtree - and clubhouse were completed at a cost of £86,000. Seventeen greens were removed from the old course and the Official Opening took place on 13 May 1967.

At long last after 2 moves and much physical upset in the previous 67 years, East Kilbride Golf Club had finally come to the ultimate frontier – course ownership.

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The Nerston Years 1967 – 2000

The finances of the Club were to be seriously strained for the next few years. By the middle of the 1970’s first-class young players were coming through, notably Stuart Taylor who became Scottish Boy Champion in 1977 and his twin brother Alistair Taylor who won the Scottish Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 1978.

The 1980’s passed in a positive and progressive manner, the course continued to improve and the club was refurbished at a cost of £30,000. Two long serving members of the staff retired, David Peacock, the Head Green Keeper, and Jimmy Taylor, the Club Professional.

A two phase programme of construction took place between 1995 and 1997. This scheme provided an enlarged clubhouse embracing vastly improved facilities ensuring the Club would enter the millennium setting a high standard altogether worthy of East Kilbride Golf Club.

Golfing honours were a feature of the period prior to the Centenary of the Club. The men’s team won the First Division of the 26 strong Lanarkshire League in 1996, 1997 and 1999. Alexandra Young represented Scotland at international level and secured a clutch of national junior honours. In 1999 Marc Warren and Craig Heap were capped at Boys and Adult level respectively in the Home Internationals and Craig Heap won further honours by winning the Scottish Amateur Championship.

In 1901, 20 gentlemen and 5 ladies comprised the membership. Income was £24 and net assets were £5. The Centenary Year membership was 850, income had reached £456,000 and net assets £477,000. East Kilbride Golf Club has come a long way indeed from those early days.

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Centenary Year - Post 2000

East Kilbride Club proudly celebrated its Centenary in 2000. Captain Eric Gunning led the celebrations during the weekend of 5th - 7th May which included a Civic Reception hosted by South Lanarkshire Council and the re-enactment of the Railway Hole on our original Show Park Course .On Sunday 7th May the weekend culminated in the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the history of the Club and the unfurling of the Centenary Flag.

During this time Marc Warren, one of the most talented players to come out of East Kilbride Golf Club, was to come to the fore. Setting the course record of 61, Marc was to enjoy a distinguished amateur career which included holing the winning putt in the 2001 Walker Cup. Marc turned professional after the Walker Cup and has been a regular competitor on the European Tour.

In 2000 the old farmhouse which housed the greenkeeper’s accommodation and equipment and machinery store was condemned for Health and Safety reasons and was eventually replaced in 2001 by a new shed at a cost of £100,000.

Ongoing improvements on the Golf Course resulted in the construction of a new 7th green and the laying of a few thousand metres of drainage pipe.

In 2007 more celebrations were in hand, this time to mark the 40th anniversary of the move to Nerston. During its forty years the Course has matured into one of the finest in Lanarkshire and is now something all members can be truly proud of.

And then!!!

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The Clubhouse Fire - 2010

The most traumatic event in the 100-year plus history of East Kilbride Golf Club came on the evening of January 12, 2010 when a fire completely destroyed the clubhouse which had been our home since 1967.

Although the fire was detected fairly early and the Fire Brigade were on the scene quickly, there was little they could do. A strong wind fanned the blaze and the building was gutted.

The fire not only left the Club and its members without a facility, it had many other adverse effects. Many members whose clubs were stored in their lockers lost all their golf equipment.

All the records, statistics and means of running the club were destroyed. We had no bar, catering or changing or toilet facilities. All the club’s trophies and memorabilia perished in the blaze. As did our professional’s shop.

But the revival of East Kilbride Golf club started immediately. Although the gutted former shell of the clubhouse was sealed off for safety reasons until cleared – the course was soon back in use.

Within weeks, a temporary clubhouse was in place – and the members had a home, bar and catering facilities and toilets and changing rooms.

Meanwhile a rebuild programme was underway and soon members walking from the temporary clubhouse to the first tee could see the shell and shape of the new clubhouse emerging from the site of the old building.

With architects, insurers, planners and builders all working at maximum efficiency, the clubhouse was ready ahead of schedule by mid summer 2011 and officially opened on September 30 by Captain Tom Keir.

East Kilbride Golf Club had a new home and a new bright future.

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