During the latter part of the nineteenth century golfers from Anstruther & Pittenweem played on a small strip of grassland adjoining the Dreel Burn near East Grangemuir farm to the north of Pittenweem. This was the 5 hole course of the East Fife Golf Club. It was recorded at that time that the Anstruther members considered this course to be too far away and there was not a proper road leading to it from the east. An alternative site for golf was identified by the seashore at the Billowness, Anstruther Wester and on 3 November 1890 a meeting to discuss the formation of Anstruther Golf Club was held in Anstruther Wester Town Hall. A committee was formed and annual subscriptions were fixed at: - Gentlemen ‘5 Shillings’, Ladies – ‘Half a Crown’ & Apprentices – ‘Half a Crown’.
The course at the Billowness opened on Wednesday 8 April 1891 when the first competition – The Robertson Challenge Medal was played. Originally there were 7 holes starting from below the cave and playing up over Flagstaff Hill however only 2 years later the ground which is now the 1st and 9th fairways was leased and the course was increased to 9 holes. In 1896 Old Tom Morris advised the club to acquire more land at the Hynd (now St Adrians Place) as in his opinion this “would add to the attraction of the course and bring many golfers to the area”.
In the early years the course saw many changes as additional land was acquired and the course was extended from 7 to 9 holes although since 1916 there have been very few changes apart from altering the order of holes following the change in location of the clubhouse from the centre of the course to its current position. No official records exist regarding the changes in tees and bunkering but in the run up to the clubs centenary in 1990 information from some of our older members confirm that the first major change took place in 1961 when the first green was moved 30 yards from the top of the hill to its current position and the par three ‘Monument’ was changed from the 8th hole to the 2nd on the card. Very little changes took place from 1961 to 2008 when following the acquisition of some additional land on either side of the half mile the 8th hole was reshaped and lengthened into what is widely acknowledged as the best par four on the course. This new 8th hole gave the course a better balance and improved the safety aspect at the top of the hill which previously located the 8th tee, the 7th green and the 4th and 6th tees all within 50 yards! In 2010 the first hole was lengthened to reduce the prospects of golfers driving up the hill all but for the longest of hitters.