The Spring and Autumn Meetings
The emergence of the Spring and Autumn Meetings as regular fixtures was a gradual process. Originally the Challenge for the Silver Club was played in May, but from 1760 it was held in the Autumn and, from 1783, a pattern began to emerge in which meetings would take place two or three days after the Challenge. By the end of the decade, the dinner and ball were a key part of the annual gathering. The ball was a grand social occasion, the attendees and their dress often receiving lengthy reports in the local press.
Meetings held over consecutive days in April or May had been taking place from an early date; however, it was not until 1818 that the ‘Spring Meeting’ was formally mentioned. In this year, it took place from Wednesday 1 to Friday 3 April, with further matches being played on the Saturday, the day after the final dinner. Twelve to sixteen members attended each day, which was a lower turnout compared to the Autumn Meeting, where twice as many could be expected. No Spring Meeting was held in 1819. It is likely that it did not become a regular annual fixture until around 1821.
From 1966, the Spring Meeting was held over two days. In 1969, the Autumn Meeting was extended to a third day and finally to a fourth day in 1986. The Spring Meeting, meanwhile, was first played over three days in 1980, being extended to four days in 1987. Today, members play for nineteen medals and trophies in the Spring and Autumn Meetings.
The Annual Dinner was traditionally held in the St Andrews Town Hall. With increasing numbers attending, the historic decision was taken in 2002 to transfer the venue to what is now the St Andrews Fairmont Hotel.