Leven Links plays an important part in the Golfing History of Scotland, it being the 3rd oldest 18-hole golf course in the world. One of the oldest pieces of golfing property in the world; golf was recorded as having been played here in the early 1800s although in reality, was probably played here long before that.
Leven Links is also one of the most traditional links courses in all of Scotland, with its dunes created as sea levels fell away. The entire area would have been under sea level at one point.

The first club in the Leven area was the Innerleven Golf Club, founded on 29th February 1820 when 15 golfers drew up their first rules. Initially, the name of the club seems to have been Inverleven Golfing Society, referring to the old name of Innerleven. Originally, members were required to wear a jacket of King Charles tartan when competing for any prize. By 1866, the name had become Innerleven Golf Club. The first captain was R. Black.
Its members played over a course on Dubbieside, which was on the south/west of the river Leven and does not exist anymore (this is where the Methil docks now stand). Dubbieside initially consisted of five holes but was soon extended to nine, though play for the silver medal was over 15 holes. The members also drew up 12 rules of play.
The Dubbieside Links, in 1848, was reputedly the place where Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris first saw play with the Gutta Percha ball, the replacement of the ‘feathery’. It is reported that the song, “In praise of Gutta Percha” was sung at the Spring Meeting Dinner that year. Old Tom embraced the new ball. Allan Robertson did not.

Leven Golf Club was founded in 1846, playing on the links between Scoonie Burn and Mile End, although golf had been played here so long that 'the memory of man runneth not to the contrary'

Leven to Kilconquhar railway opened

The Leven Golf Club was joined on the links in 1867 by the Innerleven club and by Leven Thistle Golf Club. The following May, Lundin Golf Club also joined them on the links. Innerleven Golfing Society relocated to Leven Links.

The original 9-hole course was extended over the mile dyke to form an 18-hole golf course with a straight out 9 holes and straight back 9, hence the OUT and IN under the supervision of Old Tom Morris.
An opening competition to celebrate the opening of the 18-hole course was held in October 1868 as a 36-hole challenge, with Young Tom Morris winning with 170 strokes. He was 17 years old at the time and had already won the Open Championship that year.

The world’s oldest inter-club match involving teams from Leven, St Andrews and Carnoustie was first played

The oldest amateur Strokeplay event in the world was first played over Leven Links and is still an annual event. The award predates the Claret Jug by two years and was won by such names as H.S. Colt and more recently by Lee Westwood in 1993.

This arrangement worked for forty years but, by 1909, the numbers were too great for one course to support. So, in that year the course was divided at the Mile Dyke to allow Leven Links and Lundin Links to develop their own 18-hole courses.
The Lundin and Leven clubs took the nine holes on their side of the Mile Dyke and additional new ground to the north of the railway line which then ran through the course. At that time it was played over by two Ladies Golf Clubs, who were relocated and in addition the towns sports grounds were taken over to accommodate holes 16 and 17.
Lundin Golf Club brought in James Braid to rework the course which he did most successfully, leaving the 1st, 2nd, 17th and 18th from Morris's original design. The course has not changed much since then. It is not known who did the design work on the Leven side (the 1950s' history glosses over this as it 'did not prove satisfactory and after a few years modifications were made') but it all ended happily.

When Innerleven’s membership declined in the mid-1950s, a further consolidation took place and they amalgamated with Leven Golf Club to form the Leven Golfing Society on 1st September 1957, using the Innerleven clubhouse.

1978 / 1984 / 1990 / 1995 / 2000 / 2005 OPEN QUALIFYING
Leven Links has hosted the Final Open Qualifying six times and the quality of the fields for these prestigious events is best exemplified by the year 2000 when Mark McNulty, Luke Donald, Eduardo Romero, Anders Forsbrand, Stephen Gallacher, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott all played at Leven Links.

  • 2022-07-07
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