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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John Rattray comes home!  

The latest series of photographs can be viewed here.

Update September 2020 - the fencing protecting the Rattray Precinct has been removed and Rattray is free at last. The firm foundation at the explanatory plinths has also just been completed. The City officially took back responsibility for the parkland area on 1st October 2020 and the Statue and Plinths passed to the City in mid-February.  John Lessels Landscapes will maintain the site for the City for a further year as it is handed over to the Parks Dept.


Miniature Statues Available

Miniatures of the Rattray Statue set on a polished wooden base, 11” or 16”, are still available to purchase from David Anderson at www.golfandthistle.com   Profits from the sale helped significantly in funding for the Statue and Precinct.  Future profits David is continuing to dedicate to Leith Rules Golf Society for support of the history of golf in Leith.


Unveiling 11th September 2019.
John Rattray is back on Leith Links, 275 years after signing the first rules of golf in 1744. The project by the Society to commemorate the signing of the first rules has come to fruition.

John Rattray was the Captain of the club at Leith Links in 1744, he won the first "Open" golf competition there and was signatory to the first rules of golf.

The statue - by renowned sculptor David Annand - and the three accompanying stones and plaques were formally unveiled at a ceremony on Leith Links on 11th September 2019.  


Brian Graham, Secretary of the Society , acted as Master of Ceremony and welcomed over 200 guests. The guests were told of Leith’s rich golfing heritage and the story behind the John Rattray statue.


Bailie Susan Rae, on behalf of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, unveiled the first stone and the plaque of the original 13 Rules. It was the City Council who, in 1744, had required that a set of rules be drawn up as a condition of their awarding the silver club prize for open competition. A clear link from the past to the present.


The second stone and plaque unveiled was that telling the story of John Rattray and the writing of the rules.  This was done on behalf of Clan Rattray by Rulzion Rattray and Lachlan Rattray, the Chief of Clan Rattray. Both Rattrays have lineage back to John Rattray, another link to the past. 


Pat Denzler Chair of the Statue Committee unveiled the third stone and plaque to the donors and thanked all who had supported the project.


John Dixon, Society President, then invited Alistair Campbell the current Captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers to unveil the John Rattray statue.  As John Rattray was the first Captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and with the statue unveiled, the first Captain and the present Captain stood side by side spanning 275 years of history.  A very fitting linkage.


One other link with the past is that amongst the guests was Duncan Forbes, a direct descendant of Duncan Forbes the Lord Chief Justice and Rattray’s golfing partner, who secured Rattray’s release from the gallows after the 1745 rebellion. What was his main motive in doing this back then? Was it to see the life of a fine honourable man spared, or was it that he knew of his golfing prowess and wanted to keep him as his foursomes partner? Who can say - and does it matter? both would have been noble reasons!


After the unveiling, Society members and guests retired to the Queen Charlotte Rooms who had kindly provided refreshments. David Anderson of Golf and Thistle had organised a special cake resplendent with a 3D printed miniature version of John Rattray atop. Brian Graham thanked everyone for their support for the project over the years.  A major achievement led by Pat Denzler who chaired the Statue Committee for the ten years taken to bring John Rattray back to Leith Links.


During the ceremony, mention was made of Douglas Foulis, our first society president, who is sadly no longer with us. An appropriate pause for a moment to remember someone who would have been immensely proud of the events of 11th September 2019


We have a film of the ceremony, kindly provided by James Rattray, Chair of the Clan Rattray Society. The commentary is by our Secretary Brian Graham, at the lunch at Queen Charlotte Rooms and on Leith Links. The sound at the latter was hampered by the strong wind, but some things were outwith the control of even our Statue Committee! But thank you James, a great reminder of a memorable day in the history of Leith.
Please click here for a link to his full article, including the film
or here for just the film.


Pictures of this special day can be viewed here


Further details can be seen in an update to our original film, which can be viewed through this link


List of our donors
List of some of our other key supporters


Over the years the Press have taken a great interest in our project. Please follow the links below to see what they said ....

Edinburgh Reporter

Scottish Golf History

Older newspaper articles about the project

We were featured on the STV Edinburgh TV channel. Events have inevitably overtaken part of what is said in the film, but nevertheless still very much worth watching. Click here to view the broadcast.


Tim Bell, one of our founder members, interviewed our Secretary, Brian Graham, on his regular radio show. Please click here for the show
Tim has also written various articles for magazines - 
The Leither (Pages 16-17)

Insiders Edinburgh