Leslie golfers have the drive to keep historic club on the fairway

Jim Parker (centre with spade) with fellow members of Leslie Golf Club
Jim Parker (centre with spade) with fellow members of Leslie Golf Club

Members of a local golf club are digging deep - quite literally - in an effort to return the historic course to its former glories.

Leslie Golf Club has been testing amateur golfers since 1898 but has fallen on hard times in recent years due to recession and dwindling membership.

But with the club, which boasts an impressive nine-hole course, now debt free but with few funds to draw from, some of the 50 members have decided to ‘take to the tools’ in a bid to improve the drainage and quality of the fairways before the start of the new season.

The hardy bunch have taken shovels and ditching spades to the course in the last 12 months to dig around a mile of trenches that have improved the course’s ability to withstand everything that the weather can throw at it.

Jim Parker has been a keen golfer for many years, and a member of the the Leslie course for the last two. Despite his advancing years, in recent months the sprightly 76-year-old has been more likely to have been found with a spade in his hand than a golf club as he and his colleagues continue with the groundwork programme.

“It’s a fantastic wee course and a real asset to not only Leslie, but also to Glenrothes and Fife as a whole,” Jim told the Gazette.

“But like many clubs in the last few years it’s suffered from the lack of investment and less golfers wanting to use the course.

“Because we couldn’t afford to pay outside contractors to do the work a few of us got together and decided it was time to roll our sleeves up and try and put right a few of the issues and problems,” he explained.

As well as the mile of completed drainage, members also worked up a sweat to add over two hundred barrow loads of earth to one sunken area to bring a particular fairway up to scratch.

“It’s been a big undertaking but a worthwhile one, we couldn’t let this club go to the wall,” added Jim.

James Kinnes is the longest serving member of the Leslie Club having paid his annual subscription for the last 62 years, he said the design of the holes has impressed and challenged even those at the very highest echelons of the sport.

He said: The famous commentator and golfer Peter Alliss once visited the club and remarked that the second hole was the amongst the hardest par 4 holes he’d ever seen, considering that he’s played and visited all of the world’s best courses that’s quite a statement.

“Like I’ve always said, you’ve got to have your wits about you,” James smiled.

The club are doing all they can to keep the golf as affordable as possible as Jim explains: “It’s a tough and unforgiving course but offers a great deal of variation for golfers and is ideal for youngsters wanting to take up the game without the heavy burden of cost often associated with the game today.”

An example of that being the adult membership of £200, just £100 for those over 62 and youngsters up to the age of 16 being able to play a round any time they like for just £50 
per year.

Club captain Kevin Chapman said the club was actively trying to reach out to the community to help bring the club back to prominence.

“We’ve got a great bunch of members now that want to make this club succeed, with facilities including a function room and bar which is for hire as well as some fund raising initiatives we hope to continue to revive the club.”