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Golfing in Kilmarnock since 1958
Caprington Golf Club
History of Caprington Golf Club
Through 1907 and 1908, Golf Course plans were drawn up and in 1909 the Kilmarnock Standard published the planned layout in their edition of 13th March. On 18th May the same year “Kilmarnock Municipal Golf Course” was formally opened for play by Councilor H.S. Dunn JP. There are no concrete records to show when the first Golf Club took residence.
From trophies we still competed for in the club today, we can only guess that the first club to officially recognise the course as its home course was the Ossington Club circa 1916. In 1934-35 the Club then became the Umberley Club and remained so until 1958 when our founding members composed the constitution that changed the name to Caprington Golf Club.
Historically there doesn’t seem to be a definitive reason for the change of name. Perhaps it was following the opening of Annanhill in 1957 that prompted the then committee to make the Club name more representative of the local area and in recognition of the estate land it continues to occupy. The first years annual subscription fee set at 10 shillings (that’s 50p if you’re under 40) and we were up and running.
1958 proved to be another milestone as the Standard reported on the 17th May that year that a referendum was to be held to decide whether golf should be allowed on a Sunday. Many, including the Kirk ministers felt that Sunday golfers would be “flouting God’s will” and lead to other forms of “secular corruption”—god forbid! We’d be wanting to drink on the Sabbath next as well. We cannot begin to imagine—nae golf and nae drink on a Sunday. Caprington Golf Club would have never survived.
And so, the Club went merrily along for another 10 years until 1968 when the Standard boldly headlined on June 7th “Improved Golfing Facilities at Caprington—new 30,500 Clubhouse opened”. Yes, we got our very first clubhouse and locker rooms. Cunningham’s Estate required to take back some of the leased ground including Umberley House for building purposes (Caprington Estate) but to do so made new ground available to provide an 18 hole course plus a 9 hole course for the “less energetic” it reported. Kilmarnock’s resident professional Jack McLean designed energetic and laid out the courses.
At the official opening on the 31st May, Mr Joe Sievewright, the President of the SGU complimented the town on having two 18 hole and one 9 hole course for its residents but suggested that the 5.00 season ticket for all courses was far too cheap.
Following the official lunch four professionals played a foursome match over the new 18 hole course. Frank Rennie (Prestwick) and Jack McLean took on W.S. McDonald (St. Nicholas) and Matthew McCrone (Strathaven) with the latter pairing winning 3–2.
The course as it was laid out measured 6551 yards with a standard scratch of 71. The then 9th hole at 598 yards was reckoned to be the longest in Scotland. With the new development at Caprington membership grew steadily over the next decade and it wasn’t long before the club house built by the council was deemed to small for the need of its membership. Initially the club considered extending but the 65,000 cost proved too much for something that would never be ours.
In 1978–79 the Club took on a high risk investment and purchased land direct from Cunningham’s Estate and in 1980 we opened our very first privately owned members clubhouse. Costs for the original timber building and ground worked out around 17,000–20,000.
10 years further down the line saw us undertake a further extension, where in 1989 under the committee together with our ordinary members built the Clubhouse as we know it today. The extension costs were for materials only, as the labour costs were covered through the then Government’s job creation scheme.
In 2015 the decision to develop Caprington Community Golf Club as an integral part of the community securing a strong future was not something which was an overnight process. Years of tireless work by committee and club members had been spent on the planning and preparation, liaising with East Ayrshire Council and latterly East Ayrshire Leisure Trust as well as legal professionals. In particular, recognition must be paid to Gordon McCall who spent many hours steering the club to where it is today however sadly Gordon passed away before he could see the plan come to life. After these years of planning and hours of unpaid work behind the scenes an agreement was made with East Ayrshire Leisure Trust to allow the asset transfer of Caprington Golf Course to become Caprington Community Golf Club to be managed and developed by a board of Directors who were put in place by the committee;
Mr Billy Richmond
Mr Ian Shaw
Mr Alex Chisholm
Mr David Bolland
Mr Craig Cameron
A limited company was formed and here starts a new exciting era for Caprington and the club was transferred to new management on the 6th of July 2015.
Historical facts & figures only make up half the story. The real history of Caprington Golf Club lies in its members. Collectively we have grown it from a small closely knit band to the large membership we have today.
Ian A. Shaw
Gordon W. McCall
Andrew C. Muir
H. Alexander Jnr
Ian A. Shaw
Craig D. Cameron