Leith Rules Golf Society
The aim of the Society is to increase the recognition of Leith Links as the home of the earliest recorded rules of golf and one of the game's prominent early locations

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Douglas Foulis - an appreciation


The hardest part of this tribute is - where do we start? so, perhaps as the song says - “Let’s start at the very beginning” …..


In July 2002 the Open Championship was held at Muirfield and from 13th to 22nd July the celebrations returned home, to where it all started. At the Leith Rules Golf event, over 400 people from around the world played five holes on the Links, using period equipment, walking in the footsteps of those early golfers.


This really saw the forming of the Society similar to what it is today. At a meeting on 14th March 2003, attendees included Archie Baird, Philip Knowles and Cornelius Waugh as plans were laid to ask Douglas Foulis to be our President.  It was our great good fortune that he was persuaded!


A few days later, on 19th March 2003, Douglas signed the Leith Rules Golf Society Constitution and we were off and running.


The inaugural “Open Hickory Competition” was held in July of that year with official duties organised by Jim Forson and Douglas.  All players were to use original hickory clubs, dress preferably in traditional attire and a week of Hickory Golf took place – the events heralded most evenings by local Scottish piper Bob Lawson.


The need for adequate insurance in case of a wandering golf ball was outlined by one of Douglas’s fabled tales, stemming on this  occasion from the 250th anniversary match at Leith Links in 1994 between the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and the High Constables when an errant ball from Douglas sailed high and wide directly towards a young mother and pram – the latter just moving on as the ball would surely have descended on them. The child will now be in his/her early 20s and we hope the incident did not deter him/her from taking up our greatest of games!


Douglas became a mainstay of our Committee from 2003 until this year when ill-health began to take its toll. Talking of his “fabled tales”, no meeting was considered closed until he had regaled the company with one, sometimes it even had a relevance to the subjects under discussion!


His Memorial Service at Cramond Kirk on 20th December 2016 was a fitting tribute. Whilst inevitably a sad occasion, the overwhelming atmosphere was one of celebration – for a life lived to the full and for a man who instinctively commanded the respect and affection of everyone who came into his company. But one aspect made the service unique – has anyone ever attended such a service where the music included Blake’s “Jerusalem” and “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” by Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert?


His name will of course live on each year. In 2007, Douglas donated a trophy, the Foulis Medal, to be competed for during our Hickory week by Leith-based teams and organisations. The event in 2017 will now be poignant, but we will raise a glass to him on the evening. So, farewell to our "gentle gentleman", the Society will not be the same ever again, it was a privilege and an honour to have known you as a friend.


We end this tribute by quoting the reading from his Memorial service, read by his daughter, Lucy Bailey …

 “Remembering a well lived life,

Some people just can’t help making a difference in our lives

By simply being who they are.

They make the world a little brighter, a little warmer, a little gentler,

And when they are gone we realise

How lucky we are to have known them”


Douglas, we WILL erect the statue in Leith Links!


A small pictorial tribute from our archives