Old Golf Course at Musselburgh recognised as the world's oldest surviving golf course
14 Dec 2009
The Old Golf Course at Musselburgh Links just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland has been officially recognised as the oldest surviving golf course in the world by Guinness World Records.
Historians uncovered the earliest record of golf being played on any surviving golf course from an account book of Sir John Foulis of Ravelston, an Edinburgh lawyer.
The earliest game played on Musselburgh Links took place on 2 March 1672 where he documents "he lost at golfe at Musselburgh…£3.05.0." This documentary evidence was included in The Golf Book of East Lothian, published in 1896 and written by John Kerr, the minister of Dirleton.
Musselburgh has long been known affectionately as “The Cradle of Golf”.
Mary Queen of Scots is believed to have played the course in 1567; its origins however are probably in the twelfth or thirteenth century.
The first tournament for women was held on the course in 1811 and it was one of the three founding venues for The Open along with Prestwick and St Andrews, Musselburgh Old Course holding The Open six times between 1874 and 1889.
Many of the golfing legends have played there, including Open Champions Willie Park Senior - winner of the first Open Championship in 1860 - Willie Park Junior, Tom Morris Senior, Tom Morris Junior, Willie Fernie, Mungo Park, Jamie Anderson, Bob Ferguson, David ‘Deacon’ Brown and J H Taylor.
Damian Field, a spokesman for Guinness World Records, said: "We hope that golf continues to be played and enjoyed there for many years to come."
The Old Golf Course, which is now managed by Enjoy Leisure on behalf of East Lothian Council, was originally a seven-hole course. The eighth and ninth holes were added in 1838 and 1870 respectively.
Musselburgh Old Course Golf Club (MOCGC) was formed by a group of local men in 1982, determined to retain the venue’s prestige and create growing awareness of Musselburgh’s important role as a pioneer for the modern game of golf. Like St. Andrews, Musselburgh Old Course has a long history of local authority ownership. Since 1892 East Lothian Council has maintained the course relatively unchanged and in pristine condition. MOCGC own and occupy the clubhouse originally built for the world’s oldest golf club in 1873,