The previous post covered the 'Mile Dyke' wall that divides the golf links of Leven from those of Lundin. This post will look a little more at the events around the division of what was once a shared course. The photograph above, captured by John Patrick the Leven photographer, shows the former shared links. John Patrick returned to the scene on 29 November 1909 to visually record the opening of the new Leven course - going on to create a range of postcards days later, including of Major Shepherd driving the first ball (see advert below from the 1 December 1909 Leven Advertiser).
Described in the same edition of the Leven Advertiser as "the end of an auld sang", the course division prompted mixed feelings among golfers. Many felt sorrow as they played their last round on the shared links, others relished the thought of the new challenge. The origins of the change date back to a meeting of the Joint Green Committee (made up of members drawn from the Innerleven, Leven Thistle and Lundin clubs) held on 8 August 1907. The question of applying for a renewal of the leases of the links with Sir John Gilmour and Mr R.M. Christie of Durie was raised (the leases being up at Martinmas 1909). While the renewal was being considered, the issue of congestion in the summer months was repeatedly raised. A sub-committee was created to look at potential solutions. Several schemes were considered. Ultimately, Sir John decided that a complete eighteen hole course should be laid out on the Lundin side.
This initially caused some consternation among the Leven golfers and left them little alternative but to do the same on the west side of the Mile Dyke. Negotiations opened up with Mr Christie of Durie and with Mr Russell of Silverburn. Eventually, terms were agreed with both men. The football ground to the north of Leven's bowling green and the Ladies golf course was taken in, as was a stretch of Silverburn ground. A new site was found for the Ladies golf course. The sketch below from the 30 June 1909 Leven Advertiser illustrates the new Leven layout, as set out by clubmaker Alex Patrick.
Ground also had to be acquired on the Lundin side for the new full course there. Two fields from Sunnybraes Farm plus the Ladies golfing ground provided the necessary space. Champion golfer James Braid laid out the new Lundin Golf Course, an outline sketch of which is shown below. The Ladies were found a new location at the Standin' Stanes Park and an adjoining field.
The day of the opening ceremonies of the two new courses (Monday 29 November 1909) saw brilliant sunshine after an early morning mist had lifted. In an opening address, Major Shepherd stated that they had "just parted with a very old and dear friend whose every feature and peculiarity they had through long association become intimately acquainted with; a friend in whose company most of them had spent perhaps the pleasantest hours of their leisure; a friend whose memory would remain with them so long as they lived".
It was also acknowledged in the address that course congestion had been a nuisance, especially in the summer months, at both ends of the course. Often there would be a wait of an hour or an hour and a half at the halfway point. For the Leven event, both John Patrick and Miss Mayor "took some striking shap-shots in connection with the opening ceremony". The above photograph by Mayor shows: standing from left to right - Mr J. Ogilvy Shepherd, Mr James Henderson, Mr John Adamson, Councillor T.T. Greig, and seated from left to right - Councillor Aitken, Major Shepherd and Mr J.C. Rolland.
Meanwhile, on the Lundin side, the course was opened with a speech by Sir John Gilmour who presented a golf club to Captain Benjamin Connell Cox (resident of Largo House) with which to drive the first ball. The couples that set off behind the Captain and Vice-Captain were as follows....
Mr R.C. Paxton (ex-Captain)
Sir John Gilmour
Mr B.C. Cox (Captain)
Mr George Russell (Vice-Captain)
Reverend D. Macmichael
On the far right standing is John Adam. Further below is an image of Benjamin Cox driving off the first tee. The trophy at stake for the inaugural day's play was a silver cup presented to the club by Cox. It was won by George Russell, with a score of 91 less 9 - 82. After the competition, the players adjourned to the Lundin Links Hotel for lunch. Being a November weekday, many of the Edinburgh contingent of summer visitors were not present. However, they sent a collective telegram wishing the new course every success. Also absent was club stalwart Thomas Nicoll due to ill-health. All agree that it had been a red-letter day and that despite the sentimentality regarding the old course, better sport would be provided by the new one.