Muirfield - Lothians - Scotland

Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers,
Duncur Road,
Gullane,
East Lothian,
EH31 2EG,
Scotland


  • +44 (0)1620 842123

  • Golf Club Website

  • On NE edge of Gullane follow sign to Greywalls Hotel

  • Tue/Thu - Contact Secretary in advance

Muirfield was the fourth course to stage the Open Championship and is the third most used Open venue (host to 16 Opens) after St Andrews and Prestwick.

Date Winner Country
1892 Harold Hilton England
1896 Harry Vardon England
1901 James Braid Scotland
1906 James Braid Scotland
1912 Ted Ray England
1929 Walter Hagen USA
1935 Alf Perry England
1948 Henry Cotton England
1959 Gary Player S Africa
1966 Jack Nicklaus USA
1972 Lee Trevino USA
1980 Tom Watson USA
1987 Nick Faldo England
1992 Nick Faldo England
2002 Ernie Els S Africa
2013 Phil Mickelson USA


Muirfield is the course of “The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” (HCEG), the world’s oldest golf club—according to direct written evidence—formed in 1744. In those days, the members played over Leith Links, originally a five-hole course. In March 1744, the first official rules of golf were drawn up by the “Gentlemen Golfers of Leith” in readiness for a tournament which was due to be played over Leith Links the following month. These original 13 rules became the basis for the game of golf and shortly afterwards, the HCEG was formed.

Almost 150 years later, in 1891, the course at Muirfield opened for play. Old Tom Morris designed it, originally as a 16-holer. A further two holes were added a few months later. In 1928, Harry Colt and Tom Simpson were brought in to make alterations to the layout. Many golf historians believe that the course became truly great as a consequence of the changes made by Colt and Simpson.

The design layout is a masterpiece and highly unusual for links courses of this era. Most courses were laid out simply, nine out and nine back. Muirfield is different; it was the first to be designed with two concentric rings of nine holes. The outward nine holes run clockwise around the edge and the inward nine run anti-clockwise, sitting inside the outward nine. The layout ensures that the wind hits you from all directions, but Muirfield is as difficult to play downwind as it is upwind.

Host to fifteen Opens, most recently in 2013, Muirfield is considered by many top professionals to be one of the fairest Open Championship golf courses. Bernard Darwin loved Muirfield, and in his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, he wrote: “There is a fine view of the sea and a delightful sea wood, with the trees all bent and twisted by the wind; then, too, it is a solitary and peaceful spot, and a great haunt of the curlews, whom one may see hovering over a championship crowd and crying eerily amid a religious silence.”

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (Muirfield) played host to the 1973 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Great Britain & Ireland. Team Captains were Jack Burke (US) and Bernard Hunt (GB & I). This was the first Ryder Cup to be played in Scotland and players from the Republic of Ireland were eligible to join the British Team for the first time. It was a close match which may have been closer had Bernard Gallacher not gone down with food poisoning, which resulted in a last minute call for Peter Butler. In the foursomes, Butler became the first player in Ryder Cup history to hole-in-one, but his ace was not enough to win the match against Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. USA 19 - GB & I 13. The Ryder Cup was played at Old Warson in 1971 and Laurel Valley in 1975.

Muirfield is blessed with a collection of superb golf holes and we'll mention a couple of them: The 554-yard par five 9th hole is a tough driving hole, two bunkers lurk on the left-hand side and beyond them is a grey stone boundary wall with out-of-bounds threatening the hooked tee shot; the fairway cruelly starts to narrow at the landing area of a good solid drive, the tangly rough waiting hopefully to catch anything struck off-line. The second shot must avoid a waiting line of five cleverly placed bunkers situated short and right of the green. The 13th is one of best short holes on the open circuit, an uphill 191-yarder; five abysmal bunkers, three on the right and two on the left ferociously protect the deep and narrow green that slopes from back to front. Whatever we do, we mustn’t leave a scary downhill putt.

Muirfield is an eccentric but traditional golf links of the highest calibre. The fairways have that lovely spongy seaside turf, there’s some unbelievable bunkering (many of which are small and deep) and there’s that thick, thick rough to contend with. The greens are relatively small too, which makes you think carefully about your approach shots and once you are safely on the putting surface, you’ll need to interpret them well because the borrows are subtle and tricky to read.

In readiness for the 2013 Open Championship, following a land swap with next-door neighbour the Renaissance Club, Muirfield was lengthened, with new tees added on seven holes. Now measuring 7,192 yards from the tips, with par set at 71, Muirfield has become a stern 21st century challenge, especially when the wind blows.

According to the results of a Top 100 survey, Muirfield is the Top 100 readers' favourite course. Additionally, The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is the Golf Club most readers would want to join.

In recent years it has become easier to get a tee time at Muirfield, especially if you are a gentleman. They do allow visitors on Tuesday and Thursday and ladies are allowed to play if accompanied by a man. Many people think that Muirfield is the best golf course in Britain and many more would love to join the club.
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Reviews for Muirfield

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Description: Muirfield is the course of “The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” (HCEG), the world’s oldest golf club – according to direct written evidence – formed in 1744. Rating: 8.9 out of 10 Reviews: 68
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David Jones
I played at Muirfield last week for the second time and a nagging doubt was confirmed. It’s a wonderful club, with amazing history, but the course isn’t quite as good as you are led to believe.Let’s start with the club. The welcome is warm and the clubhouse wonderful. Anne who looks after the bookings is tremendously efficient and very friendly. For many Muirfield is a bastion of snobbery and elitism. Those people have never visited. Having played Birkdale, Hoylake, Turnberry, St Andrews, Lytham and Carnoustie I can safely say Muirfield is the Open course where you are made to feel a real member for the day in a way that simply doesn’t happen, for various reasons, at the others. It’s worth taking the time to read the notices on the way into the locker room for a little insight into the club.Technically, I’m sure the course is great. I can’t pretend to be a good enough golfer to really be able to give it the critique it deserves. We played it, this time, in fairly atrocious conditions (it was June after all) and that definitely detracted from the experience a little. The rough was beyond penal. The second cut was thigh high and, if you had the misfortune to find your ball, escaping with a wrist in tact was success. Again, compared to other Open courses and links courses I have played this was in a different league of penalty. In truth, they needed to cut if back a bit. Maybe the fact that we have had one of the wettest summers on record to date was the contributory factor – it would take a combine harvester to get through it. Another victim of the wet, presumably, were the greens. Truth be told, in the third week of June, they were slow. Getting to the hole took real effort and they didn’t play like links greens. We played Gullane number 1 the next day, a few hundred yards aways, and they were a different class. Fast, breaking and fun. I understand that Muirfield are probably protecting them but for £250 for a day’s golf it was a real shame.Those criticisms could both be put down to the unseasonable wet summer in Scotland though – they are comments about the course conditions which can and will be remedied. However, I came away feeling the golf course itself isn’t quite as great an experience as some of the finest links courses around. At Turnberry every hole has its own amphitheatre and there are some truly spectacular holes; the history of St Andrews is verging on the overwhelming and Birkdale has so many memorable holes. Muirfield is, well, fine. The holes are challenging, but the setting average. The par 3s are probably the strongest aspect of the course – a really great mix of distance and challenge in a way that many modern clubs could learn from. However, there are few moments when you really find yourself catching your breath in awe. Instead, you just tee it up and say, yep, that looks like a good hole. It’s a very good test of golf but if you want to feel real links golf, walk up Gullane Hill and look at the other side. It should be said that after a round in the morning the lunch is fantastic, and again the staff great. It would be remiss of me however not to mention a gripe with the lunch. The wonderful carvery is definitely let down by the appearance of reheated Aunty Bessie Yorkshire Puddings. I can’t imagine they serve those on a Sunday lunch so why on a Tuesday and Thursday when us mere mortals pay and play? You are letting yourselves down! This site ranks Muirfield the number 1 course in Scotland but I would definitely recommend a visitor to these shores plays at least Turnberry and St Andrews before it, and probably Royal Dornoch. Those courses would give a better representation of the pure thrill and excitement of Scottish links golf in a way that Muirfield just can’t quite do.
June 30, 2012
8 / 10
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Andy
Without a doubt a great world-ranked golf course but a visit to Muirfield covers so much more than just the course. This is about tradition, high standards, long lasting acquaintances and spending quality time at a very special place. Of all of the Open rota courses, I would say that only Royal St. Georges comes close to this experience, this is not a commercial operation at all and to be frank I am glad that it is not. The course opens with three great par-4’s, each changing direction and all very different…the first par-3 comes at the 4th hole and at around 200 yards is very tough. Love the 6th hole, 440+ yards, normally with a cross wind to contend with and an unusual backdrop behind the green for a links course, here you have Archerfield Wood. After the par-3 7th, the 8th presents an inviting drive, slightly elevated and plenty of bunkers down the right-side but an opportunity to score well. At the 9th tee you have turned full circle and now face the same direction as the opening hole, the 9th could be called short compared to modern day par-5’s but this is still tough and to the left of the green, there is the great Greywalls Hotel. The back-9 holes are basically inside of the front nine and continue to present so many challenges. Only the drive at the 11th is blind and a short par-4 but the severly contoured green is the big protection. I choose the 13th as my pick of the par-3’s…. around 190 yards uphill to a narrow green, heavily bunkered and dropping sharply from back to front, an ultra tough hole. The remaining holes all test player’s handicaps in a big way but this course continues to be a joy to play from start to finish. Playing the 18th is one of great golfing feelings, a tough drive with the normal wind from the right bringing two bunkers cut into the fairway into play …. the second shot plays fairly long to a green that slopes upwards with yet again great green-side bunkering. My advice is… 1. Play Muirfield, 2. Arrive early and enjoy everything that the clubhouse offers, 3. Embrace the fact that is a special place, 4. Keep out of the rough at all costs. 5. Book up and do it all again next year…
June 13, 2012
10 / 10
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DAVE J
Played today. Very high expectations of the course and lower expectations of the hospitality. Expectations of the course met and exceeded, given there are no stand out landmarks (water, lighthouse etc) every hole is memorable. Particularly fond of the par 3s however they weren't so fond of my playing partner and I, each one of them a unique challenge with little room for error. Beware the rough is absolutely brutal, no matter the standard of your golf there is a high probability that your golf bag will be a few ounces lighter by the time you return as the fairways narrow severely on many holes. The course played very long today at nearly 7000 yards with most of this being made up of the tough par 4s, 7 of which were playing over 420 yards but this gave us a real sense of how the course has played for the last 250 years, each of these holes was unique in their design in how they challenged our abilities. As encouraged by others we opted for the whole experience by experiencing lunch in the amazing historic clubhouse. Wow the hospitality received was so far from the expected with each and every member of staff very warm in their greeting and this was epitomised by George the starter who greeted our arrival at the gate. The lunch experience is an absolute must for any visitor to eat in those surroundings is a privilege and the food is excellent too. My playing partner and I agreed on departing the club that this experience will not be forgotten in a hurry and would be one we would love to repeat some day. In summary a great course and a wonderful club, a must for any passionate golfer.
November 16, 2011
8 / 10
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Peter
January 14, 2012
Agree about the course, the members & George, but should point out that the course hasn't been around for 250 years! It was first laid out in 1891 before being modified in, more or less its current layout, in 1927. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, however, was formed in 1744.
Mac Plumart
Wonderful golf course. Ideal for a championship test of golf.
August 13, 2011
10 / 10
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Hans Berntson
This is the best course I've ever played. Other contenders include the courses at Bandon, The Country Club in Boston, and Royal St George's. Muirfield is in my opinion way ahead of them. This is championship and recreational combined in a way I've never seen before. It was 18 months since I played (September '09) but the course still lingers. It is truly inspirational, the message being "if you are enjoying it now, imagine how much fun it would be if you were a better player". It is tough but never intimidating or unfair, just demanding. I can't wait to play it again. And the lunch is great too!
March 23, 2011
10 / 10
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Vorndron
Played here on a dry but blustery day in late February. Was expecting great things of the course(voted no.1 course in UK by todays golfer magazine) and clubhouse after the reports and reviews I'd read, but I have to say I left a little disappointed. Yes the course is very tough, probably the toughest I've ever played but for me there were no stand out holes, all were good but none great. Also I was surprised on how flat the course is and a good way from the sea. On the plus side the course was in good condition, the staff were fantastic and extremely helpful and the clubhouse and lunch is second to none. I always rate a course on 'would I rush back and play' and to be honest I have to say no I wouldn't. Glad I've played it but not in even in my personal top 10 in the UK.
March 01, 2011
6 / 10
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Michael McDonald
Muirfield is my favourite links course in the UK. It is a true test, that doesn't fail on either the front or back nine. Whilst it is a test and tough, especailly when the rough is up, it is also very fair. I look forward to my next game on this wonderful track.
October 25, 2010
10 / 10
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Stuart S Tillery
This was the final course in a 12 day trip to Scotland and I have to say the toughest, yes harder than Carnoustie. I have never seen fairwas so narrow in my life. Thank god for the caddies or I would have lost 10 balls. The primary rough was fine, but the secondary rough was 3 feet high. the course plays fair, except for the par 3's which play 2 clubs longer than the card says. We arrived in our jackets and ties and changed into our golf cloths, played 18 and put our jackets back on and had a nice lunch with the members. We then claimed our cloths from the drying room and played alternate shot in the afternoon. It was much more enjoyable than the first round, because my caddie was not there to tell me to hit 3 wood. Great way to end the trip, but tough as hell.
July 09, 2010
10 / 10
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Simon Laird
Simply the best course on this planet!
May 29, 2010
10 / 10
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Tony
June 21, 2010
I must say everyone in our group of 16 that recently played Muirfield were highly unimpressed with all aspects of the course. The course is a true test and it is something we all agreed we had to do, but we will not include it on our course of Open courses we play in the future. It is second rate to Turnberry and Carnoustie in my opinion. The staff at the club were very rude and the whole place just gives off an extremely stuffy vibe. The lunch was not impressive either. The bottom line is they do not want visitors there and treat them accordingly. The only reason we are allowed to play there is they have to make rounds available to the public in order to stay eligible to host the British Open.
Brent Carlson
I had the opportunity to play Muirfield in October of '08. If you truly appreciate the history of the game and golf architecture, Muirfield has few peers. The routing is phenomenal as well as the turf "carpet". This is a very fine golf course. The atmosphere of the ground / clubhouse is very neat, and this club has the best showers in Scotland. If you get the chance do join for lunch. Alistair Brown was a gentlemen and we had a nice discussion over lunch. The greens fee is quite high but they have the right to set it at whatever they want. It is getting cost prohibitive to make a return visit. Muirfield is highly recommended and the educated golfer should play there at least once.Brent
May 22, 2010
10 / 10
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