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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A brief history of golf on Leith Links

Leith Links has been home to some of the world's most colourful golfing characters of the past: Mary, Queen of Scots probably played here, and it is known that James VII and Charles I enjoyed games at Leith. 

The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith were established in the early 18th century. In 1744, the City of Edinburgh presented them with a silver club. Rules were required and created, an event which gives Leith a unique place in the history of golf and which the Society seeks appropriate recognition for. 

Leith Links is now a public park, with football, rugby, cricket pitches, public footpaths and allotments. Houses, shops, factories, offices and a busy road now stand where some of the original holes were sited. 





 


 

   
More detailed information can be found here in this PDF file.
   
   Detail from etching showing King Charles I  playing golf on Leith Links and reading of the Irish Rebellion.

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The first known international foursome,
Leith Links, 1681. The Duke of York (later James VII) partnered John Paterson against two English noblemen.


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Detail of the silver club prize, with its City of Edinburgh emblem (from an engraving).

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (the name changed) spent almost 100 years on Leith Links. In 1836 they moved to Musselburgh, and from there to Muirfield in 1892, owning its own clubhouse and course for the first time.

Musselburgh Old Golf Club continues to this day, the links between them and our Society continue this centuries-old link.

Muirfield, of course, is a venue for The Open Championship and is rated one of the world's greatest courses. 


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This drawing, of 1788, shows the Silver Club, the prize for the annual tournament on Leith Links. The winner became captain for the following year and had a silver ball with his name engraved attached to the club. Here it is being paraded in public, "with  tuck of drum", as the official advertisement for the event.

The Society's logo derives from this picture
.


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John Taylor, three times captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers: 1807/8; 1814/5; and 1823-5

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Golf tournament on Leith Links 1867.

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An etching of 1887 showing golf on Leith Links.

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In July 2002 the direct descendants of the 1744 golfers hosted the Open Championship at Muirfield. From 13th to 22nd July 2002 the celebrations returned home, to where it all started. At the Leith Rules Golf event, over 400 people from around the world hired period equipment at a modest cost and played five holes on the hallowed turf, walking in the footsteps of those early golfers.

Here, Archie Baird, a member of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and a local golf historian, follows in the sartorial footsteps of John Taylor.

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