~   THE OLD COURSE TIMELINE   ~

THE OLD COURSE TIMELINE

1547 - The Battle of Pinkie

The Battle of Pinkie took place near Musselburgh on the southern coastline of the Forth of Firth.
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1567 - Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots reputedly played golf at Seton House near Musselburgh.
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1672 - Sir John Foulis of Ravelston

Sir John Foulis of Ravelston, an Edinburgh lawyer, kept detailed records of his various golf matches and their cost.
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1676 - The Royal Company of Archers

The Royal Company of Archers, comprised of Scottish noblemen, was formed this year.
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1728 - Duncan Forbes of Culloden

Duncan Forbes of Culloden, President of the Court of Session, was such an ardent lover of golf that when Leith Links were covered with snow, he played on the Sands.
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1744 - The Musselburgh Cup

The Musselburgh Cup was first played for at the eight-hole Musselburgh Links.
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1744 - First set of Rules

In 1744, a committee of the Gentlemen Golfers of Edinburgh drafted the first 13 rules of golf to compete for a silver golf club, presented by the City of Edinburgh, over Leith Links.
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1774 - The Musselburgh Golfing Society is Formed

The Musselburgh Golfing Society is formed in East Lothian in Scotland.
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1782 - Resolution Passed

The Honourable Company of Golfers at Musselburgh passed a resolution that port and punch should be the standard club drink except on the days when competitions were played.
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1786 - McEwan Clubs for Sale

A representative of the McEwan club making family from Musselburgh would come over to St Andrews a week or two before the spring and autumn meetings, bringing an assortment of clubs for sale.
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1788 - Club Uniforms

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Musselburgh orders members to wear club uniform when playing on the links.
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1809 - Douglas McEwan was Born

Legendary Musselburgh clubmaker Douglas McEwan was born and it was during his life-time that vast improvements were made in their manufacture with beech heads superseding the old thorn tree-cuts.
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1810 - Best Female Golfer

In a minute dated 14 December from the Musselburgh Golf Club it says: “The Club resolve to present by subscription a new Creel and Shawl to the best female golfer who plays on the annual occasion on 1st Jan. next, old style (12 Jan. new), to be intimated to the Fish Ladies by the Officer of the Club.”
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1811 - First Ever Female Golf Competition

Musselburgh Golf Links in East Lothian, Scotland, is famous for hosting the first ever women’s golf competition on 1 January.
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1816 - Horse Racing Track

A horse racing track was built around the Musselburgh golf links just outside the East Lothian town.
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1821 - The Dunn Brothers

The Dunn brothers, Jamie and Willie Snr. were born in Musselburgh. One of the most famous of early golfing dynasties the twins began their careers by working with the Gourlay family as apprentice feathery ball-makers at Bruntsfield.
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1826 - William Wood

William Wood was appointed recorder for the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers for three years.
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1827 - Start of moving from Leith to Musselburgh

Course maintenance at Leith Links proved increasingly difficult given the military activities of the Mid Lothian Volunteers and other cavalry exercising on the Links...
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1827 - The First Hole Cutter

The first-known hole-cutter for greens is introduced at Musselburgh Links. Thought to have been invented by Charles Anderson of Fettykill in Fife, it cut a hole 6-8 inches deep and to a rough diameter of 4.25 inches.
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1832 - The Sea Hole

Originally a 7-hole layout, the ancient links at Musselburgh added a new eighth hole followed by a ninth in 1870. Named the Sea Hole it now plays as the fifth on the present-day course.
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1833 - Leith Links

With the clubhouse at Leith Links already mortgaged and interest payments in arrears, a decision was made by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to sell the furniture and effects. Advertised in the Edinburgh Evening Courant of the 29 August the figure achieved did not clear the outstanding mortgage.
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1834 - Caddy Rules

In a guideline published by users of Musselburgh Links it stated that: “no Cady shall be employed who does not carry a bag with moist sand or clay for the tees...”
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1835 - The Gourlay Family

The Gourlay family established a business in Musselburgh producing golf balls for sale. There until 1855, he was one of three members of the Gourlay family who specialised in making feathery and gutta percha balls. A feathery ball made by John Gourlay in 1850 fetched £2,640 at a Golfiana auction in July 2000.
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1836 - Club Dinners

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers held a meeting at Barry’s Hotel in Queen Street, Edinburgh on 26 July where they made the decision that for the next three months the Club Dinners would be held at...
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1837 - Two Tappit Hens

Mr. John Wood of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers was “fined two tappit hens for appearing on the Links (of Musselburgh) without his red coat,” during the silver club tournament on 3 June.
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1839 - Bruntsfield Links

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers ordered £10 be paid to feathery ball maker John Gourlay at a meeting at Musselburgh on 5 November... The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers ordered £10 be paid to feathery ball maker John Gourlay at a meeting at Musselburgh on 5 November, after he built a brick workshop at his own expense at the “West End of the Race stand” to serve golfers who used the nine-hole course inside the horse racing track.
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1840 - Father of American Golf

John Reid who is credited as being the 'Father of American Golf' was born in Dunfermline and learned to play over Musselburgh Links.
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1843 - Robertson v Dunn

Allan Robertson from St. Andrews took on his great rival Willie Dunn Snr. of Musselburgh in a 20-round challenge over both links. Played over a marathon two rounds per day for ten days, the match went down to the final day with Robertson winning two rounds up with one to play. In a return match, later in the year over Musselburgh, North Berwick and St. Andrews, Allan won by just six holes in the final round.
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1844 - William Gourlay

Allan Robertson from St. Andrews took on his great rival Willie Dunn Snr. of Musselburgh in a 20-round challenge over both links. Played over a marathon two rounds per day for ten days, the match went down to the final day with Robertson winning two rounds up with one to play. In a return match, later in the year over Musselburgh, North Berwick and St. Andrews, Allan won by just six holes in the final round.
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1847- James McEwan

Club maker James McEwan moves his headquarters from Leith near Edinburgh to Musselburgh.
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1848- First Gutta Percha Golfballs

Sir Ralph Anstruther played a round of golf at Blackheath near London with William Adam and Admiral William Maitland Dougall who used the new gutta percha golf ball instead of his usual 'featheries'.
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1853 - William Park Snr.

William Park Snr. took the unusual step of issuing a public challenge in The Sporting Life newspaper. Offering to play Allan Robertson for a stake of £100 there was no immediate response. Then Tom Morris Snr accepted his challenge. In a well-supported match, he lost to Park at Musselburgh before winning the return match at Prestwick.
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1855 - First known Morris vs Park challenge at Musselburgh

Tom Morris Snr. and home favourite William Park Snr. took part in a challenge match against each other at Musselburgh. Large sums had been wagered on the outcome and the galleries were not beyond a little skullduggery to influence the result.
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1856 - Morris v Park

Tom Morris Snr. and William Park Snr. agreed to play for £100 in late April. There would be three rounds of golf at Musselburgh, North Berwick and finishing at St. Andrews on the 10 May.
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1857 - Foursome Club Competition

Prestwick Golf Club instigated a ‘Foursome Club’ competition at St. Andrews. The clubs invited to take part were Musselburgh, North Berwick, Perth, Carnoustie, Blackheath, St Andrews and Leven.
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1858 - Park Snr. Stakes

William Park Snr., golf ball maker of Musselburgh, placed an advertisement in the Bell ‘s Life and Sporting Chronicle newspaper on 6 June announcing that he will: “play any man in the world for £100 or £200 a side over 36 holes to be played on each of the three golfing greens at St. Andrews, Musselburgh, and North Berwick…”
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1859 - Charles Lee

Charles Lees, a noted Scottish artist who painted: “The Golfers: A Grand Match Played over St. Andrew's Links,” painted a second golf-related work named: “A Summer Evening on Musselburgh Links.”
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1860 - The First Ever Open

In what would be the first ever ‘Open’ Championship, Prestwick had decided to host the tournament after losing patience with more senior Scottish Golf Clubs like Musselburgh and St. Andrews.
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1861 - King Edward VII

The future King Edward VII of England was introduced to the game of golf on 29 June.
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1863 - Runner up gets first ever money price at the open

Willie Park Snr. won the fourth British Open held on 18 September at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire.
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1864 - The Lease of the Course

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Musselburgh agreed at a meeting on 17 February to allow local feather ball maker John Gourlay...
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1864 - St. Andrews vs. Musselburgh Challenge

Tom Morris Snr. partnered Andrew Strath in a well attended ‘St. Andrews versus Musselburgh’ challenge match over the Old Course against Willie and David Park.
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1865 - Growing Membership

The growing membership of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, meant that the cramped headquarters under the Grandstand at Musselburgh was proving totally unsatisfactory.
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1868 - The Clubhouse

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers build a clubhouse at 8 Links Place, Musselburgh. In an effort to pay for its construction they charge members an annual subscription for the first time.
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1869 - Young and Old Morris

Young and Old Tom Morris defeated Willie Park Snr. and Bob Ferguson on 23 February at Musselburgh. Playing for £15 a side they won by 4 holes up. Two weeks later Tommie Junior played a 36-hole singles match against Ferguson on 6 March which was halved. Deciding to carry on for 9 extra holes Ferguson finally managed to win.
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1871 - Willie Dunn Jnr.

Willie Dunn Jnr. of Musselburgh and his twin brother Jamie establish a new club and ball-making business in Musselburgh.
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1871 - The Open Championship

The Open Championship is cancelled because no winner’s prize is available. The previous year, Tom Morris Jnr. had taken permanent possession of the Champions Belt after winning it three times in succession.
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1872 - Professionals Only Tournament

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers hosted a professionals-only tournament at Musselburgh in April to coincide with their Spring Meeting.
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1872 - Start of the Claret Jug

The minutes of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews dated 1 May stated that the Greens Committee had been empowered to enter into communication with Prestwick and Musselburgh...
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1874 - First Open played at Musselburgh

The Burgess Golf Society originally played golf over the Bruntsfield Links but because of increasing congestion and traffic moved to the Musselburgh where they shared the links with The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society and the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club.
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1875 - Golf's First Cheat

In the first instance of golf cheating, a group of Scottish professionals entered an Open tournament at North Berwick on 3 September.
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1877 - James Anderson

In the first instance of golf cheating, a group of Scottish professionals entered an Open tournament at North Berwick on 3 September.
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1880 - Robert ‘Bob’ Ferguson

Robert ‘Bob’ Ferguson won the first of his three consecutive British Open Championships on 9 April at Musselburgh. Played over four rounds of the nine-hole course, just 30 players entered.
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1881 - No Wind, No Rain can stop the Open

Robert Ferguson of Musselburgh wins the British Open at Prestwick on Friday, 14 October. Played in high winds and driving rain - almost 200 fishermen lost their lives that same day on the west Coast of Scotland...
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1882 - Three British Opens

Bob Ferguson captured his third consecutive British Open Championship at St. Andrews on 30 September.
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1883 - Musselburgh own Rules

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers published their own Rules of Golf, “as played by The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers on Musselburgh Links.
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1883 - William Fernie

William Fernie won the British Open at Musselburgh on 16 November.
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1884 - Willie Jnr. Return's to Fathers Shop

Willie Park Jnr. returns to work in his father's shop in Musselburgh. In the next few years his son Willie Jnr. took over the family business due to Willie Park Snr. own failing health.
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1886 - David Brown

David Brown wins the British Open at his home course of Musselburgh on 5 November. ‘Deacon’ Brown, as he was known, was a roof slater by trade and was invited by John Anderson, secretary of the Musselburgh Club to make up the numbers.
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1887 - Purpose Built Clubhouse

Bruntsfield Links Golf Society erected a purpose-built clubhouse at Musselburgh in a row which contained the clubhouses of the Honourable Company, Royal Musselburgh and the Burgess Golf Society. The club had moved to the links at Musselburgh in 1874 after Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh became disagreeably crowded.
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1889 - Campbell v Simpson

Willie Campbell of Musselburgh took part in a four-round challenge match against fellow professional Archie Simpson over Carnoustie, St. Andrews, Musselburgh and Prestwick.
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1891 - The End of an Era

The decline in Musselburgh’s fortunes, can be traced back to the decision by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to relocate from the “disagreeably crowded” links to a new course between Gullane and North Berwick.
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1893 - Published Plans

Plans were published in the local press about a proposed expansion of the ancient Musselburgh links. The Edinburgh Evening News dated Friday 21st April 1893 broke the news with an outline plan.
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1894 - The Wristwatch Tee

Scottish club maker James Waggott played a match at Musselburgh in April where he teed off the face of a wristwatch on every hole. Scoring 41 for nine holes, the watch remained undamaged in any way.
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1897 - Taylor v Park

J.H. Taylor played a well-publicised big money match against Willie Park Jnr. over Musselburgh Links in Scotland and Sudbrook Park Golf Club in Richmond Park, near London. A four-round contest for £100 a side, Taylor played typically accurate golf all the way. Park was longer off the tee but erratic but thanks to his wonderful putting he won on the last green by a single hole.
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1898 - The Earliest Moving Film

Musselburgh-based professional Willie Park Jnr. was employed to design and supervise the laying out of a second course on Gullane Hill. It opened on 14 July 1900, taking up seven holes of the Old Luffness course.
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1902 - First Ever Open Champion Dies

William Park Snr, winner of the first British Open Championship at Prestwick in 1860, died at Laurel Bank, Levenhall, Musselburgh...
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1913 - James Carey

The most famous caddy in the world, James Carey died. Better known as “Fiery” because of his red, wind-beaten features, he was a familiar figure at Musselburgh Links for more than fifty years. The last of the old school of caddies which included “Big” Campbell, John Crawford and Bob Ferguson, he used to carry for William Park Jnr. in all his big money matches and championships.
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1915 - Robert ‘Bob’ Ferguson

Three-time British Open winner Robert ‘Bob’ Ferguson died. His first Open win came at his native Musselburgh, followed by victories at Prestwick (in appalling weather) and St. Andrews.
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1925 - Willie Park Jnr.

Willie Park Jnr. died on 22 May after suffering a nervous breakdown while in America. Believed to have been exhausted from overwork, his younger brother Mungo Park Jnr. travelled from Argentina where he was working as a golf architect, to New York.
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1993 - Overseas Memberships

The Musselburgh Old Course Golf Club went Back to the Future, when they purchased the building once used by the (Royal) Burgess Golfing Society at nearby 10 Balcarres Road. Reformed a few years earlier in 1982 they became the first Musselburgh-based Club to offer overseas memberships.
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2013 - The Human Skull

A human skull was found in a bunker at Musselburgh Links, the world's oldest golf course, on the 22 January.
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2017 - Restoring The Links To It's Former Glory

Talks took place over an ambitious £10-million plan to make Musselburgh Links – the oldest continuously-played golf course in the world – “great again.” In February, news broke about a proposition by Edinburgh-based Blue Thistle Ltd which would see the nine-hole links “regenerated, restored and recreated to the style and reputation of its former glory”.
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