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: 69
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Kurt Krause
I tend to base my evaluation of how nice a golf course is by its condition, its difficulty, and how memorable the holes are. In terms of my first two criteria, Muirfield is quite a treat. This course has plenty of length and a player must hit good shots or pay the price. In addition, the high rough was more penal than almost any other course I played in Scotland. I don’t know if the native grasses just grow higher in this region, or if Muirfield does something special to make them so high and tough. The golf course when I played it was also impeccably maintained. The greens rolled as true as any I have ever played and the turf condition in the fairways was just about perfect all the way around. In terms of how memorable the golf course is, that is a much different case. Although I was told that Muirfield has no views, that is really not true. The views are much better than for example Carnoustie, where you can see nothing but the course. Muirfied has beautiful views of the North Sea, Firth of Forth and the hillsides that lay to the north toward St Andrews and Perth. But as far as memorable golf holes go at Muirfield, I would have to say there are none. Most holes are very straight forward and there is nothing really quirky anywhere on the course. For some that is exactly what they like to play. For me it meant a less then memorable golf course.
November 05, 2008
8 / 10
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jimmy
Muirfield is a gift to the world. It is a truly magnificent course, and the fairest links course in the world, as well as one of the best as well. The quality of open champions on this great golfing venue simply speaks for itself. The rough is penal, but so it should be...far too many courses these days have short rough which is all too easy to get out of and doesn't punish errant play severely enough. If the governing bodies of our game wish to know how to place more of an emphasis on precision and accuracy off the tee and less on simply blasting the ball aimlesly 350 odd yards, they should take a look at this splendid course.Everything about Muirfield is traditional, but in the very best sense of the world. Those privileged enough to play must behave within the boundaries of the etiquette of our sport and if they do, they may rest assured that they will receive a welcome reception from a friendly group of members who are unfairly percived as snooty. The food was also excellent, and the clubhouse lounge area was extremely comfortable.
March 12, 2008
10 / 10
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Tim Johnson
The first thing I noticed about the course was how quiet everybody was on the putting green. If this was a Saturday morning, the guys on the putting green would be laughing and exchanging barbs prior to the money match but this was Muirfield, jacket and tie for lunch. There was no wind on the day in May so it made trhe course easier but it was still a day to remember and enjoy. It is very expensive but if you love golf then go for the 2 rounds and lunch, an experience like this cannot be matched anywhere. I had thought the matching "uniforms" my dad bought for the round would make us stick out like sore thumbs but there were many other people who had the same ideas. That night back at the Ducks in Aberlady, I saw two guys in bright green sweaters who had played that day and said to them "I remember seeing you guys on the course" and he said, pointing at my uniform shirt, " I remember seeing you and your dad". We sat in the bar for a couple of hours just going over the day. Muirfield is a special course but a little pricey so if you are going to do it, do it right and bring the uniforms. And follow the rules, the secretary will kick you off the course if you dont rake the bunkers properly.
March 09, 2008
8 / 10
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Ian Smith
Muirfield is an unbelievable experience that every golfer should treat themselves to. I played it on Dec 6, 2007 for the winter green fee of £90 and got lucky with the weather. The club oozes history and tradition but was not nearly as stuffy as I had expected. In fact, we received a very warm welcome. It was surreal to see such a fantastic course virtually deserted. The lay-out is magnificent and it was in good condition for the time of year. It's very much a thinker's course; the rough is to be avoided at all costs and the bunkering is superb. Its collection of par 3's is particularly good. It is not visually stunning like North Berwick just down the road but for sheer class and quality it is difficult to beat.
December 12, 2007
10 / 10
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the_judge
Our group played Muirfield on a fair Thursday morning in mid-August. We approached the gates of the Honourable Company eager to commence play having travelled by coach from Edinburgh. We were welcomed by the Starter who directed us to the changing rooms. As we approached we caught a glimpse of an amazing sight in golf: the desk of the Secretary of Muirfield Golf Course. After digesting this we went into the changing rooms and prepared ourselves for the challenge ahead. The course itself is magnificent and and testing with every shot aimed to test your game. Although we could contest that the rough was increasingly lengthy at some points and some severly harsh greens (13th hole anyone???). This one undoubtedly tops our list of British courses.After our first round we caught ourselves in a timecapsule admiring the splendour of the clubhouse dining room. A member of staff approached us for our names to confirm our booking to dine. The lunch is an old-schoolboy affair with you sitting at long tables allowing conversation with fellow guests and, if you're lucky, some of the Honourable Company. The lunch was, to say the least, breathtaking and is better than most golf club lunches I have experienced. Afterwards we retired to the lounge for coffee and more drinks before embarking on a second round.The 180 pound double green fee is a little steep but we found it to be a most memorable experience. Back 9 definitely not as good as the front 9 but nonetheless a great test of golf. Fantastic experience!
October 02, 2007
10 / 10
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papa rabbi
About 8 years ago I was lucky enough to play Muirfield with a fellow student friend who was a member of the HCEG. We played the week after a British Amateur event when the course was playing pretty tough! The fairways were between 10 and 20 yards wide, the carry to the narrow target was often 200 yards long and the rough…well if you put your clubs down you might loose them too! The wind was pretty lively too and after two birdies and many bogies and worse we drove back to Edinburgh feeling like we had been sucked in and spat out after 36 holes of golf. 2 weeks ago the same friend invited me back. I spent a week steeling myself for the experience but after 2 days golf there I felt slightly deflated. The course now plays much more easily: The fairways are all very wide, the rough has all been cut away and it now plays very fairly. I didn’t even loose a ball this time… in 72 holes of golf! To be honest though I was disappointed. I wanted to be challenged, to see how my golf stood up to the Muirfield Challenge.

Previously if you asked me where my favourite course is I’d have replied that Royal Birkdale was my choice but that Muirfield was by quite some distance the hardest. The club have removed the teeth of this wonderful course and although I still think that it is a wonderful course I no longer hold it in a venerable position in my mind’s eye. Do play it but try to do so with a member – it is fantastic value and the lunch alone (for £15.00) is worth the trip! If I had to pay the green fee in full then I’d probably turn east and head to North Berwick instead.
May 04, 2007
8 / 10
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Cédric
Was back to Muirfield on a sunny and breezy april day a year and a half after my first visit …Second impression was as good as the first one. A real treat! The whole experience is just fantastic, lunch included. We played 2 rounds and the course and greens were in immaculate conditions. I cannot say enough about that place,it’s just too good!!!Bunkers are always in play, wind direction changes constantly as you progress through your round and makes think on every single shot. Cannot understand people who don’t like the place. Maybe a too big course for them?? Only negative point was the presence of noisy and loudy Americans in the dining room and on the course…Some of them played foursome in the afternoon and were fore caddying each other even on par 3s!!On the 4th, they were shouting at each other 20 meters from where we were putting. Shocking and a real lack of respect in such a place…Cédric
April 21, 2007
10 / 10
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a nony mous
April 28, 2007
Totally understand what you mean about the Yanks Cedric. But remember we need them to spend here so it keeps the green fees down. From what I have heard there are actually some very good golfers that visit Muirfield from the states. They cant handle their drink but they're a good laugh and overall I think they respect the game. Maybe you just hit it unlucky that day.
paul
Played the course last year and I must say I don't know what the fuss is about! It is what it says "a field" no way a classic links, you expect much more from £150! save your money and play Kingsbarns, this is everything a good links should be and you don't have to put up with quirky rules and stuffy members! The stewards and starter at Kingsbarns will make you feel special.
April 10, 2007
4 / 10
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David Davis
Played Muirfield, in March of 2006. Being relativiely new to golf (tennis background) and missing some of the historical basis that you build up over time, I tried to read up on the course before we played it. It definitely has a bit of a majestic feeling about it. I arranged for my playing partner to stay in GreyStone Hotel which was a great combination and even enhances the atmosphere the club house and course already create.

We had a beautiful, cool and windy March day. As for the course, I shot an 85 which isn't great for a 9 handicap I guess but i don't think we hit it on one of the most difficult days. I've seen the rough higher and must say I hit into it on about 5 occaisions but was able to hit my way out each time with a sand wedge or pitching wedge and just accept my penalty basically. The course wasn't in Open condition by any means as I've seen pictures where the rough is much longer. Two holes stick into my mind a short par 3 on the back nine, which a great design and a green tucked into the small hill sloping down and to the left front with large bunkers there. I remember this one because the wind was blowing so hard across the hole and even though I hit my t shot into the middle of the green it hit like a rock and rolled all the way back down into the large/deep bunker leaving perhaps one of the most intimidating bunker shots I've ever had, right up there with a couple at Carnoustie. Also the toughest rated hole on the course sticks into my head but only because of a rather lucky birdie after sinking about a 35 fter.

So honestly, the experience was great, the lunch was decent and no offense to any Scottish people it probably is pretty high standards for Scotland. In terms of value for money if you take away the history and prestige of the Honorable Club there, Muirfield much like St Andrews Old course is definitly not in my list of top courses I've played, as for me there has to be more than architecture and history but there has to be a combination of aesthetic beauty, nature and variation. Nevertheless even as a new golfer I believe everyone should fork over the cash and judge for yourself if you ever get a chance to play.
April 09, 2007
8 / 10
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Neil
Beauty and glory. This is a wonderful course, the clubhouse and refectory are magnificent and the food is just perfect. Muirfield positively oozes history and class. It is a real treat to visit this hidden gem.
April 03, 2007
10 / 10
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