The History of St Fillans Golf Club
St. Fillans is a nine-hole course designed by St. Andrews' professional and Open Champion Willie Auchterlonie. The opening shot was played by the Countess of Ancaster on 8th August, 1903. The course lies on flat terrain on the South side of the River Earn on the Drummond estate. Auchterlonie’s original design has been added to over the years, increasing the eighteen holes (2 x 9) length to over 6,000 yards and creating a course which is accessible to the weekend golfer yet challenges the expert.
The professional course record is 66 - set by Sandy Lyle.
Extracts from "Strathearn Herald"
Here are some extracts from the "Strathearn Herald" published on Saturday 15th August 1903.
The Countess of Ancaster Drives off the first ball.
The new nine-hole golf course at St Fillans was formally opened last Saturday afternoon. The course is prettily situated at the eastern extremity of the village on the farm of West Dundurn, on the Drummond estate of the Earl of Ancaster. It is due to the Earl, and particularly to his son, Lord Willoughby de Eresby, that the course has been provided, the latter nobleman having very generously been at the entire expense of having it laid out and forming it - W. Auchterlonie, the well known St Andrews professional, having been commissioned for this purpose. The ground, which is for the most part level, lies along the valley of the south side of the Earn, the river forming its northern boundary. At present the course is somewhat rough, but with further improvements it will in course of time form a pleasant and attractive resort for golfers...
Assembling round the first teeing ground - at the west end of the course - shortly after three o'clock, the Rev. Mr. Armstrong, Secretary of the Club, said they were met under rather disappointing conditions - disappointing as to weather, and disappointing in regard of the non-fulfilment of an engagement upon which the opening of the course originally depended. (Lord Willoughby de Eresby was prevented from attending by illness at the last moment.) However, they had an able substitute for Lord Willoughby in the person of Lady Ancaster, who had come that day all the way from Drummond Castle to represent his Lordship. (Applause). They would have been very happy to have seen his Lordship present, as he had taken a very lively interest in the new course - an interest which meant an interest in the welfare and prosperity of St Fillans. (Applause). In the name of St Fillans Golf Club, he would ask Lady Ancaster to convey to his Lordship their gratitude for the favourable terms on which he had given the golf course to the Club. As a rule, Golf Clubs had to make their courses and started with a financial debt, but the St Fillans Golf Club had everything done for them. (Applause). Lord Willoughby had presented the course to them ready-made, so to speak, and he therefore thought they had started that course under the most favourable auspices. (Applause)...
He thought no one would dispute that the situation of the St Fillans golf course, in regard to natural surroundings, was unsurpassed in the country, if not the world - (applause) - surrounded as it was by a magnificent amphitheatre of hills, and kneeling at the foot of the hill of the saint whose mystic presence he hoped would mollify the angry feelings and strong language of golfers who had got "befoozled" or "bunkered" in their progress over the course. (Laughter and applause).
St Fillans Golf Clubhouse pre 1975
The changing rooms were an addition to the original building.
Extracts from the Minute Books
"It was agreed that the Secretary put up a notice requesting the use of iron clubs on all teeing grounds except the 4th and 8th to be discontinued."
4th May 1934.
"The dishwasher, Miss Brown, would receive £1 for her duty."
19th February 1965.
"The committee shall have the power to raise Sunday Green Fees to not more than 4/- as a temporary measure, if the course becomes crowded."
2nd March 1965.
"The new motor mower had been purchased at a cost of £85-10/-, Mr Strang reported that it was working well. A gang mower had been delivered from Dunblane Golf Club at a cost of £9. Mr Robertson was carrying out repairs to put it into running order".
17th May 1965.
"The Secretary was instructed to write to the Labour Exchange in Perth, enquiring if any discharge soldier could be recommended for the post of green-keeper. He was also instructed to advertise in the Strathearn Herald and the Scotsman, for a green-keeper... he was further instructed to write to Mr Ewing, Factor for the Earl of Ancaster, to enquire if he would cause to be erected a small lavatory or convenience at the back of the Club House for the use of ladies, or authorise the Committee to erect one."
3rd March 1920.
"It was agreed to allow the football team to erect goal-posts and play on the course. The site of the playing ground to be decided by a sub-committee"!
7th December 1928.
"It was agreed that the Club pay for the hire of cars for players that went to Killin."
September 17th 1928.
"It was agreed that, for entertaining visitors at inter-club matches, players would be asked to pay 3/6 per head to cover costs. Achray Hotel to be asked to cater for home matches."
17th May 1965