2021 sees Lochore Meadows Golf Club celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the course created on the coalfield waste of the Mary Colliery, and despite the problems caused by Covid -19, the club members intend to mark it.

Like the other three local golf clubs, the Meadows GC has survived the pandemic well and has an increasing membership.

Ballingry Golf Club was reformed in 1974, shortly before work began to create the nine hole course on the north easterly sector of the then new country park being formed on the dereliction left by the Glencraig and the Mary collieries, the pits which saw the Benarty villages of Glencraig, Lochore, Crosshill and Ballingry develop into communities with a total population of over 7,000 people.

The golf course was built with the Mary Colliery pit head very much in the eye line of players at many holes and it is still there.

Ballingry GC was re-named Lochore Meadows in 2014, but it is the same people who are ensuring the club develops in its new purpose built golf/football facility, on the fringe of the course.

Club president Alan Shields, secretary Terry Ironside and captain Robin Gordon, told the Times that the facility created as part of the project which saw the new Willie Clarke Centre built at the park, is the only football/golf facility in Scotland and it has been a massive success at the Meedies.

Said Terry: “sportscotland, along with other partners, backed the project strongly and it has given us our first real clubhouse, which opened in 2017.

“We have our office and lounge facilities, which we share with Benarty Astros Amateurs, who have their changing rooms adjoining which backs onto their pitch at King George V Playing Field.

“There were some people who had doubts how football and golf would get on together, but our experience has been an excellent one.

“The clubhouse (to which the golf club made a £15,000 contribution) is where our starter keeps the course flowing and players can have a refreshment after their round, and put their scores in after completion of a competition.”

Like the Auchterderran and the Dora courses in Cardenden and Cowdenbeath, the Meadows, which opened on April 25, 1981, is factored by the Fife Golf Trust.

The Trust looks after the course while the club members ensure the clubhouse works well.

Said club captain Robin, who himself is the starter and looks after the shop at the Meadows, which is stocked by Dunniker GC professional Ally McDonald: “Over the time of the pandemic our membership rose by 40 per cent, up to just over 100, which was very encouraging.

“By having a nine hole course it means that our membership ceiling is not that far away, as competitions are over 18 holes we have to have to limit the numbers playing to allow those finishing their first nine to be able to start their second half timeously, but we do have space for more members.”

The club has a hard working committee who all play their part in it flourishing, with president Alan Shields in charge of cleaning the clubhouse!

Said Alan: “Everyone plays their part in keeping the club working well and i enjoy my role in ensuring things are spic and span.

“We are keen to mark the 40th anniversary of the course opening and hopefully we can get something organised later in the season, maybe in August or September, to do just that.”

Secretary Terry said that Meadows Golf Club was always pleased to get young people involved with the club and when it was needed to update the names of some holes they invited the children of St Kenneth’s and Benarty Primary schools to help choose names for the fifth and eighth holes, which were called Hawthorn Curve and Tree Top Hill View respectively.

“Also we wanted to mark the service of two stalwarts, Jim Mackie and Jackie Murphy, and the first is now called Murphy’s Pride and the sixth is Mackie’s Stride, which we think is fitting,” he added.

“We have been pleased with the way things have gone, despite the restrictions caused by Covid-19 and it has seen more families become involved and the financial position is as solid just now as it has been in many years.”