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Club History

St Andrews Town Council acquired the Kinburn grounds and mansion in 1920 for £10,000 and opened them as a public park.  An 18-hole putting green was laid out as well as nine blaes tennis courts and tennis pavilion followed by the bowling green which was created in 1936.

In August 1921 the Town Council organised an Open Lawn Tennis tournament.  There were 355 entries for the Championship which included handicap events.  In August 1923 Kinburn was host to the first ever Scottish Hardcourt Championships.  This event proved so successful that the Scottish LTA decided to hold them in St Andrews for the following 4 years.  In fact 53 tournaments were held at KInburn from 1923-1981 with the only break being for the war years of 1940-45.

A Tennis Club was formed at Kinburn in the 1920s and existed until the start of the war.  The Town Council also issued season tickets from 1920 upt o the early 1970s.   Kinburn was also well used by St Andrews University and Madras College.  After the War, Susan Inglis advertised for members and the Club at Kinburn was reformed in 1947.

The Club was disbanded in the 1960s and from then up to the early 1970s the only tennis players at Kinburn were the season ticket holders.

In 1971 a meeting took place in the Town Hall for the purpose of trying to form a tennis club for members of the general public in St Andrews.  The prime movers were Patrick Hogg (Director of Tourist Information), Hugh MacFarlane (VP of Midland Counties LTA) and Hugh’s wife, Mary.  The Club’s first season was in 1972 with a membership of 31 seniors, 56 juniors and 4 students playing on 9 blaes courts with hand painted lines.

A kitchen was built in the Clubhouse and fitted out by the Town Council in the early 1970s.

The high maintenance costs of the courts forced the District Council to resurface courts 1-5 in 1981 with polymeric all weather courts.  The council also erected floodlights around courts 1-3 for football training during the winter.  Court time was shared with tennis being played April- September and football from October-March.  In the end it was the Tennis Club that benefited the most and membership leapt from 74 in 1980 to 144 in 1981.

The nets on Courts 4-5 were then left up through the winter months making tennis an all year activity from 1982 onwards.

Following the demise of the Hardcourt Championships, the Club received the key to the Referee’s Box and then gained the use of the attendants’s kiosk in 1987.

In 1987, the Council offered the Club a 3-year lease to run the Kinburn facilities.  The Club did not feel able to take on the responsibility and so it was left to a small group of experienced members (James Murray, Fergus Muir, David Robertson, Ian Christie, Graham Neilson) to form the Kinburn Lawn Tennis Association.  The group then persuaded the Council to repaint the Clubhouse, replace much of the stop-netting and carry out much essential maintenance to the courts.  The group was so successful that the St Andrews Lawn Tennis Club did not hesitate to take on a new 21 year lease commencing 1st May, 1990.

In 1989 the Club was threatened by plans lodged by Wm Low to build a supermarket and car park on the Kinburn grounds and move the Club to a new facility at Pettersam Bridge.  The committee and members responded immediately and submitted a petition containing 5642 signatures opposing the plans – ‘The Park is an oasis in the centre of town’.  The Plans were withdrawn in June 1990.

The 1990s saw a new era evolve as the Committee decided to appoint a Club professional coach and, Mike Aitken, a graduate of Jordanhill College of Physical Education and qualified LTA coach was retained by the club.  Mike’s appointment saw professional coaching come to St Andrews and the club went from strength to strength in terms of both playing numbers and playing standards.

In the late 1990’s junior tennis benefited from sponsorship from local publisher Leckie and Leckie.  No fewer than 24 LTA credited ‘Performance Players’ have been developed in the last 15 years including several Scottish junior and senior internationalists.  .

In 2005 Madras College won the Boys Scottish Schools Championships and defended the title successfully in 2006 and 2007.  In 2006 Madras College also won the Girls Scottish Schools Championships.  All players were members of the Club.

In 2006 the Club was awarded ‘Performance Club’ status by Tennis Scotland resulting in a significant donation from the LTA to fund development of performance players in North East Fife.   

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