10 Balcarres Road, Musselburgh, EH21 7SD, East Lothian, Scotland

Musselburgh's Original Golf Clubs

Musselburgh's Original Golf Clubs

The Royal Musselburgh was formed in 1774 and was based at the Musselburgh Links until 1925. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers were resident from 1836 to 1891 whereupon they made Muirfield, in Gullane their new home. The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh moved to Musselburgh links in 1873, from the over-crowded Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh. They remained until 1895. The Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society joined them in 1875 and left to follow The Burgess Golfing Society to a new course on the east side of Edinburgh shortly thereafter.
There were approximately sixty smaller clubs and societies which played their spring and summer meetings over Musselburgh Links, including The Edinburgh Thistle, The Musselburgh Ladies Club, The Musselburgh Merchants Golf Club (pictured), The North Esk Golf Club, Musselburgh Zingari Golf Club, The Edinburgh Clerk Club, The Baxter Club, The Edinburgh Northern Merchants Club and The Levenhall Golf Club.
A notable first for Musselburgh Links came in 1811. The world’s first golfing competition for women took place on New Year’s Day in that year when the town’s fishwives competed for a Creel and Skull. The Links also hosted one of the first Scottish Amateur Championships, which took place in 1898.
During the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century the four Clubs formed a Green Committee to take over control of the golf course. Each Club had two representatives on the Committee and had to contribute funds according to the size of their membership.
Up until then, The Honourable Club and The Musselburgh Club (later The Royal Musselburgh) bore practically the whole expense of the upkeep of the course.

The Big Four Golf Clubs

The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club

1774 The Musselburgh Golf Club was founded
1774 The 1st Old Cup played for 1811 The 1st Lady Golfer competition held at the Links, the prize was a Creel & Skull and 2 of the best Barcelona silk handkerchiefs
1834 The Musselburgh Club issue a new set of rules
1873 The first clubhouse at the Links, on Links Place (Balcarres Road)
1876 The Royal Musselburgh Golf Club received its Royal charter
1925 Moved to Prestongrange onto the course designed by James Braid


The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers

1774 Gentlemen golfers of Leith, Edinburgh, played at Leith Links from 1774 – 1830
In 1795 The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers was formed.
1830 The Honourable Club wound up
1836 The Club is revived and moved to Musselburgh Links, the first clubhouse is within the racecourse grandstand
1868 Moved to a larger purpose-built clubhouse to accommodate 300+ members at 8 Links Place (Balcarres Road). This was called the “Golf House Club” of which all members of the Honourable Company would be members. It was built at a cost of £2115
1891 On 6th November 1891 the last medal was played at the Links
1891/92 Moved to Muirfield at Gullane, East Lothian. Players who wished to stay at the Links could do so, The Honourable Company paid an annual fee of £150 for 5 years to “The New Club” for use of 100 club boxes and all privileges of the Club.
1893 The “Golf House Club” club house is disposed of.


The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh

1735 The Edinburgh Golfing Society was formed. (This was started at Bruntsfield Links, but there was a difference of opinion between some of the members, so The Burgess Society founded The Bruntsfield Association)
1874/75 Moved to Musselburgh, 10 Links Place (Balcarres Road)
1887 The Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society was formed
1894/95 The club moved to Barnton onto a course designed by Tom Morris
1929 The Royal Burgess Golfing Society became Royal by Decree – King George V (Duke of York played on several occasions)


The Bruntsfield Golfing Society

1760/61 The Bruntsfield Association was founded by The Burgess Society. They played at Bruntsfield Links, Edinburgh, which they shared with The Burgess Society
1845 Played at Musselburgh Links, The Cairns Medal
1874 Moved to Musselburgh Links
1875 The Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society was formed
1868/69 The valuation role shows a clubhouse in the name of Bruntsfield Golf Club at Mill Hill at a rental of £20 per year
1895/98 Moved to Davidsons Mains, Edinburgh, adjacent to The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh onto a course designed by Willie Park

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