The golf club pictured above features a silver plaque inscribed with the words From Nicol Malcolm Leven Golf Club to his brother Andrew. A previous blog post has covered the life of Nicol Malcolm, the Dubbieside farmer who was well known in golfing circles. A member of several local clubs, Nicol had a hand in the setting up of Lundin Golf Club in 1868. The golf club in the photograph was made by Alex Patrick, who was the great-nephew of Nicol Malcolm. However, exactly who 'brother Andrew' was is more of a mystery, as Nicol did not (as far as records show) have a brother.
Nicol Malcolm had two older sisters - Christina and Isabella. Christina married Alex Patrick (grandfather of clubmaker with same name) and Isabella married an Alexander Thomson in Largo. So, there is no known brother or brother-in-law named Andrew. It could well be that the inscribed golf club was given to someone whom Nicol considered 'as a brother' or who he knew through a fraternal organisation such as the masons.
One potential candidate might be Andrew Wilkie, Captain of Leven Golf Club in the 1870s. He was R.W.M. at Leven's Elgin Lodge of the Freemasons. Another possibility is Andrew Thomson the master baker - once of Kirkland, later Leven and then Lundin Links (not closely related to the Alexander Thomson married to Isabella). Both men were involved in the creation of Lundin Golf Club shortly after Andrew moved his business there in the mid-1860s. That however is merely a theory and other theories would be welcomed on who the Andrew in the inscription could be.
The photograph above shows Alex. Patrick's shop at the junction of Links Road and Balfour Street in Leven, adjacent to the golf links. The picture below shows the shop in context to the left of the Leven Thistle Clubhouse. Alexander Patrick was born in 1845 in Leven, two years before his cabinet maker father John Patrick (nephew of Nicol Malcolm) began making golf clubs. When John died in the 1866 cholera outbreak, eldest son Alex inherited the business, which he soon afterwards relocated from Branch Street (near the Shorehead) to the location near the links. He employed younger brother, Nicol Malcolm Patrick, as an apprentice. Later on brothers John Patrick and David Murdoch Patrick also became golf club makers.
Alex Patrick left Fife for a time, heading to Wimbledon in 1886, to become golf professional (and sell golf clubs) at the club there. He returned to Leven five years later, leaving his brother David to take over the role at Wimbledon. David too headed back to Fife a few years after that, and both brothers set up premises in Lundin Links, as further outlets for their golf clubs. Alex had his name over a small shop to the rear of the 1896-built Lundin Golf Club House (see below) while David had a house with integral workshop built between the railway station and the club house on what is now Golf Road.
Below are a range of adverts for Alex Patrick's business, covering not just golf clubs, but golf balls and even the restringing of tennis rackets. Patrick clubs gained a great reputation, initially in Fife and soon across Scotland, the UK and overseas. Alex retired in 1909 but seems to have returned to work during the years of the First World War before retiring for good. The business carried on under his name, with Mr David James Sellars at the helm into the 1930s. Alex died in 1932 aged 86 at his home Wimbledon Villa in Leven. Singing was the main leisure pursuit of Mr Patrick and he was a leading member of Leven Choral Union (later Leven Amateur Musical Association).