History of The Golf Hotel
The Golf Hotel is reputed to be one of the oldest licensed inns in Scotland, dating back to the early 18th century, although tradition states there has been an inn on the same site from the early 14th century.
The present building is thought to have been built in 1721 by Thomas Young. A marriage lintel from this period, with his initials and those of his wife Isabella Martin, is built into the fireplace of the public bar.
A significant event took place in the Hotel on 23rd February 1786 when, according to the original minutes, “several gentlemen in and about the Town of Crail, who were fond of the diversion of Golf, agreed to form themselves into a Society which should be known by the name of the Crail Golfing Society.” And so was formed what is now the 7th oldest golf club in Scotland, a founder member being Daniel Conolly, the then landlord of the Hotel.
Over the next 86 years, the history of the golf club and the hotel went hand in hand, with the minutes recording such gems as "ample justice was done to Mother Duff's Punch" or "Dicksons own" (referring to good nights spent at the inn).
There appears to have been some underhand dealings in 1836 when Robert Duff inherited the property from his mother and sold it for £100 to his boss Alexander Abbot (of Haldane & Abbot, Commission Agents, Dundee). The following year Mr Abbot, described as ‘of the late firm of Haldane & Abbot’, sold the Inn for £290 to Sir David Erskine of Cambo, Baronet. It appears that Robert Duff not only sold his inheritance for much less than its market value, but lost his job in the process.
We don’t know when the Hotel was first given the name "The Golf". It certainly had this name when sold in 1886 and may have had it for many years previously. It’s thought that at one time it was known as "The Thane of Fife".