Several gentlemen in and about the Town of
Crail who were fond of the diversion of golf agreed to form themselves into a society
which should be known by the name of the Crail Golfing Society - the Society was
accordingly instituted upon the 23rd day of February 1786". This date makes Crail the
seventh oldest golf club in Scotland.
The original course was far removed from the
beautiful strech of links turf which is the Society's home today. In 1872 Old Tom Morris
of St. Andrews reported that Balcomie area was very suitable for a golf course -
"there is no better in Scotland" - he laid out a nine hole course which was
extended just four years later to 18 holes.
Always in immaculate condition with true, crisp links, turf and greens, sometimes
frighteningly fast in high summer, but always completely true. Many holes climb and tumble
along the waters edge and both the fourth and fifth offer tempting short cuts across the
shoreline. The links of Balcomie are truly far removed from the bustle of everyday life,
the promontory of Fifeness shared only by the Coastguard station and a farm.
CRAIGHEAD LINKS GOLF COURSE
A links course set on land south of Balcomie designed in 1995 by Gil Hanse of Pennsyvania
and first played by the public in 1999. For a new course it seems as mature as its 150
year old neighbour but has an entirely different layout in that it never comes as close to
the sea as Balcomie but experiences the same conditions and views that are the norm at
Fifeness. Like Balcomie, positioning of the tee shot is of prime importance to set up an
easier second to the green. The fairways are wide and the greens receptive but beware of
the bunkers lurking to catch the wayward approach. The 18 hole course has two loops of 9
holes. From the white tees it measures 6728 yards Par 71 (SSS 73), from the yellow tees
6250 yards Par 69 (SSS 70) and from the blue tees 5694 yards Par 69. The yellow course is
generally used for visitors with the option of playing blue if required.
The views of more than 100 miles of coastline
are spectacular, from beyond Montrose in the North to St. Abb's Head near
Berwick-Upon-Tweed in the South. For a club of such long and excellent tradition, Crail
has remained forward-looking, friendly and most hospitable, a pleasure always to play and
to visit. Obviously the eleven original members who dined together for very happy evenings
with accustomed hilarity and good fellowship have cast a long and kindly shadow over those
who have followed.