Edinburgh Golf History
Ye Old Golf Tavern
The first known Club House in the world. Wright’s House next to Bruntsfield Links, established in 1456, is still where golfers can get clubs to play golf over the Links at Bruntsfield or play free with your own clubs. This is not the original building that was a few yards up the street. The was mention of golf being played in Bruntsfield as early as 1380's.
The Royal Burgess Wall Tablet shows golfers at Bruntsfield Links with Edinburgh Castle in the background. as does the picture of the present golf course below.
The size of a golf hole has remained the same size since 1893.
Robert Gay made the first hole in 1829.
The Golf Clubs of note are;
The Burghers (Royal Burgess Golf Society) instituted 1735. The oldest instituted golf club in the world. Moved to its present site in 1897, when the clubhouse was opened.
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers instituted prior 1744. The writers’ of the rules of golf. (2nd oldest club) Moved to its present location in 1891. Their first move was to Leith in 1744 where they wrote the rules of golf.
Bruntsfield Links Institute 1761. Moved to its present location in 1898. (4th oldest).
Other clubs that played and used the clubhouse were, Edinburgh Thistle Golf Club instituted 1870.
Moved to Braid Hills 1890 and still play there. The Allied Golfing club instituted 1856.
Bruntsfield Links is where the first golf was played before 1380.
The first buildings next to the links course were built circa 1376, where the first golf club house stood the present
Golf Tavern was used from 1456. The Burghers were instituted in 1735 now known as Royal Burgess
the Oldest Golf Society in the world.
The Rhind Stone pictured below is of two Burghers golfers with their caddies on the Bruntsfield Links. When overcrowding of the golf course became a problem the Burghers (Burgess) moved to Musselburgh in 1874 and then made a final move to their present home in Barnton where they had a golf course designed by Tom Morris which opened in May of 1895.
It was 1929 when King George V by royal proclamation allowing the Burgess to change name to
The Royal Burgess Golfing Society as it is today.
Silver Golf Club
In 1744 the city gave a silver club to be played for on 1 April annually by the Edinburgh Company of golfers, the winner to be club Captain for a year and a gold or silver medal to be attached to the silver club
bearing the winners name and date of winning.
The Royal Burgess Golfing Society still play for a silver putter to this day.
Home of Golf
St Andrews is the 3rd oldest instituted golf club, which started in 1754 and has become the home of Golf. St Andrews is also home to the oldest club makers where the art of ball and club making can still be seen today at the
St Andrews Golf Company which was established in 1881.
No Bags in these days. Golf bags were thought of by Tom Morris Jnr when playing a round of golf against an archer.
He thought the quill that carried the arrows could be adapted to carry golf clubs. However,
when telling his father Tom Morris Snr the idea he said " it never catch on".
Golf in the Beginning
It is not known when golf was actually introduced into Scotland. However, in historic documents golf was mentioned in 1457 and 1471 under James III. In the accounts of the Lord high Treasurer under James IV the following entries are found one of which is 1503 “to play at the golf with the Errol of Bothwell”..
Golf Clubs and Balls
During the reign of James VI (1566 – 1625) the business of club making had become one of some importance. On 4 April 1603 William Mayne, Burgess of Edinburgh is appointed maker of bows, arrows, spears and clubs to the King. Golf balls were originally stuffed with feathers and golf clubs were made from wood with a brass head which was perfectly smooth.
When playing the game of golf, before every strike of the ball a shout of ‘Fore’ was shouted out as a warning
to anyone that may be out walking.
Canongate Royal Mile
Brown’s Close or Golfer’s Land is a tenement building purchased with winnings from a 4 ball golf match between Baillie John Paterson and The Duke of York (King James VII) and two English noblemen. During the 1600s two English noblemen attached to the court of the Duke of York (to be King James VII) were challenged by the Duke to a golf match on Leith Links. The Duke’s partner was shoemaker John Paterson a descendent from a long line of golfers. The English noblemen were beaten and the Duke rewarded Paterson with the stakes that had been played for, which enabled Paterson to build a tenement building which he called Golfer’s Land. The building is no longer on the site as it was demolished in 1960. In 1664 Charles I (The Duke’s father) bestowed on the Duke of York the American provinces previously controlled by the Dutch now renamed in his honour, New York. The Duke succeeded to the crown in 1685, and died in 1701. In 1688, his wife Queen Mary gave birth to a son who was later to be father to Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Musselburgh's Golf Champions
5 famous golfers from Musselburgh all champions.
Willie Park Snr- Mungo Park - Willis Park Jnr - Bob Ferguson - David Brown.
on the other plaque
Willie Dunn Jnr First unofficial U.S Open Champion and Willie Campbell was runner-up He became the first Golf professional at Brookline County Club in Massachusetts USA