Ardeer Golf Club can boast quite a respectable degree of seniority amongst the golf clubs of Ayrshire, having been formed in 1880. Indeed only Prestwick, Prestwick St Nicholas and Troon are older. The original course was 9 holes laid out on the links around the Sandyhills area of Stevenston. Although the course has since long gone the original red sandstone clubhouse remains.
The club then relocated to the Ardeer area of Stevenston, the new course opening on 8th April 1905. This course was a true seaside links laid out in the stretch of dunes between the town and the sea on land owned by the Imperial Chemicals Industries Ltd (ICI). ICI was where the club drew most of its membership, including Hamilton McInally, the Scottish Amateur champion of 1937, 1939 & 1947. Jackie Cannon was a member prior to winning the Scottish amateur championship in 1969 at the age of 52, the oldest winner ever.
Two British open champions were also associated with the club. Jamie Anderson, who died a pauper in a Perth poorhouse in 1912, won the championship in 1877, 78 & 79. Willie Fernie, who also designed many golf courses, won the open in 1883. Both joined Ardeer after winning the Championship.
During the second world war three of the holes were taken over by ICI for war duty and became a barrage balloon station. However due to the monumental efforts of Mr David Fry who was both the club master and head green keeper the three holes were restored after the war ensuring that the course was as good a test as it ever was. Mr Fry was obviously a man of many talents, an international athlete, who ran for Scotland in the early thirties.
In the early sixties the membership were dealt a major blow when officials of the club were called to the headquarters of the Nobel Division of ICI. The clubhouse and the land which contained the golf course were required for the construction of a new factory for the manufacture of salts for use in the nylon industry. The club had no option on the matter as ICI owned the land.
The Committee of the time immediately took action to find alternative ground on which to re-locate the course. Spurred on by this the members hired a turf cutter and carefully lifted the greens. At an extra-ordinary general meeting of some 300 members the then captain Mr J.S. Wales stated the position and described it as a “challenge to the members to fight to preserve the identity of the club” and it was unanimously passed to explore every avenue.
Initially land from Corsenkell farm was considered for the new course but it was later decided that part of Lochend would be a better option. After several general meetings it was decided that Lochend was where Ardeer Golf Club was to be re-born. The greens which had been stored at Corsenkell farm were lifted by the members then re-laid on the present course. This new course designed by Stutt soon had nine holes open for play in 1965, with the next nine soon after. The land was boggy and soft during the winter and hard and fast running during the summer.
The first president Mr David T. Campbell was inaugurated in 1984. Mr Campbell has held every position within the committee and was club champion in 1952.
Continual improvements have been ongoing in the last 38 years to take the course to what it is today by the strenuous efforts of both the members and green staff. Recent improvements to the course facilitate all year round golf. There is a combination of mature and young trees of all varieties lining the fairways and full use has been made of the two burns which meander through the course. Ongoing improvements to teeing areas, greens and course in general means that the history is still in the making