Aerial Picture of King James VI Golf Club (The Island) King James VI Golf Club Perth King James VI Golf Club Pertshire King James VI Golf Club Scotland King James VI Golf Club Perth Perthshire

Club History

King James VI and the origins of Perthshire golf

King James VI of Great BritainThe origins of golf in Perth are obscure, as they are for the rest of Scotland, but it is likely they date to the fifteenth century. National bans on golf and football, designed to promote the practise of archery, were made in 1458, 1471 and 1491.

In 1502, the first recorded purchase of golf equipment, a set of golf clubs costing thirteen shillings, was made by king James IV from a bow-maker in Perth.

The club takes its name from the tradition that King James VI had learned to play golf as a youth on the "Inches" - large public parklands along the River Tay provided for common use.

Golf was played on both Inches to begin with, but players began to favour the North Inch, and by about 1850 no-one played golf on the South Inch. The North Inch course later became a municipal public course and continues to operate under the local council.

Establishment of the King James VI Golf Club

The first hole at King James VI Golf ClubThe King James VI Golf Club was established in 1858. In 1860, what is believed to be the first inter-club golf match ever played took place when "King Jimmy" took on the Elie and Earlsferry Golf Club, which had also been founded in 1858.

In 1884 a team from King James VI took part in the first inter-club golf match played in Ireland, against the Royal Belfast Club.

King James members later set up some holes on a barren stretch of coastline near the village of Portrush, and were the first to play on what is now a world-famous links course.

 

Tom Morris and Moncrieffe Island

'Old' Tom Morris, prolific golf champion and course designerKing James VI shared the 10-hole North Inch course with various other local golf clubs until 1897, when it migrated to its current setting on Moncreiffe Island.

The new course was laid out by the famous St Andrews professional, 'Old' Tom Morris (1821-1908), a four-time winner of the British Open in the 1860s and prolific course designer.

He was noted for incorporating natural features such as walls, burns and heather into his designs, and players of his new Island course had to contend with many mounds and banks as well as some trees and bunkers.

 

Disaster and recovery

The old King James VI Clubhouse alight in flames

In March 1955 the old, wooden clubhouse was burned to the ground despite the heroic efforts of the local fire brigade to get fire-fighting equipment over to the site.

This was a devastating blow, which destroyed many of the records and trophies from the early days of KJVI's history, to say nothing of valuable equipment belonging to individual members and the Club.

The present day club house occupies the same site.

Notable player Brian Grieve

The club's most successful player, Brian GrieveBrian Grieve is perhaps the club's most notable player. Brian joined the club in 1958, and has had a fantastic career in amateur golf.

His achievements include:

  • At King James VI: 18 Matchplay championships over 5 decades (1969-2001) and 17 Strokeplay Championships.
  • At Blairgowrie: 3 Club Championships and 4 Senior Championships.
  • Perth and Kinross titles: Matchplay Championship 3 times, Stroke Play Championship 3 times, Champion of Champions 6 times. Perth City Championship 6 times.
  • He has held 6 course records, including the Island and Lansdowne.
  • He has won 38 Open titles, and 44 Senior Opens since becoming a Senior in 2002.
  • Brian has been a member of the Scottish Seniors International Team since 2003.