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.
If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Muirfield

Average Reviewers Score:
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
TaylorMade
Fred Hammer
This is the best course in Scotland, and among my favorite in the world along with Pine Valley, Cypress Point and Royal County Down (as I also stated in my review there). I wonder if some of the reviewers here actually played the same course. The routing and shot values are a 10, and the course puts pressure on your game on every shot - from the driver to the short game. The green complexes are among the best - up there with Pine Valley and Merion. It has a great collection of par 3's and especially par 5's - which is a rarity among older links courses (if we may call this a links). It is not spectacularly beautiful, but there are places on the course - especially on the holes closest to the firth - which have a totally remote and aesthetic feeling, as at Portmarnock or Waterville. As for the club, there is not a more priviliged place to play. Any guest here should count themselves fortunate. You want stuffy, try playing Augusta National.
October 19, 2005
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Shaun
Very impressive golf course and the lunch was excellent. However not my No.1 as easily edged out by the Irish classics.
September 17, 2005
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Bart Boudreaux
Good track but barely makes my top 5 in Scotland. Doesn't have that WOW factor, also too formal for me.
December 31, 2004
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Jim McCann
Our fourball thought the clubhouse was a throw back in time to a bygone age (way too stuffy) and the course was great but overrated (with the telling comment of play it if for no other reason than to compare it against what you consider to be the best in Britain). Can't understand fawning comments on websites from so many others who play it.
December 19, 2004
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Nick Stratford
While this course doesn't have the scenery, it is a great golf course that is challenging but fair. I could quite happily play golf there for the rest of my life, however I think it is second in the UK to Royal County Down.
July 14, 2004
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Steve Smith
I've played virtually all the links courses in GB & Ireland, this one half a dozen times through the nineties, generally with the same group of friends. It's not the hardest, that's Carnoustie, which I played on a dry, calm, day, it may not be the prettiest, (Royal County Down?), but we generally all agree it's the best. The layout gives relief against the elements - no series of holes into strong winds, and there is only one blind shot, the drive off the 11th. Has remained my favourite since first playing it over 10 years ago.
May 27, 2004
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Lee Abbey
Muirfield, a gentleman's club that also happens to have a golf course attached, albeit a brilliant one. The welcome at Muirfield was friendlier than expected. Given the age of the ‘club’ I was expecting centuries old wood and that distinctive smell of years of beeswax but sadly most of the building was refurbished and extended during the 1970’s. Lunch is an old schoolboy affair where you pay £20 for a self-service 3 courser and sit at joined tables. You half expect the dinner ladies to come around with the jugs of water. The food's good enough but after paying £140 for two rounds a tenner would have been fair. The course? Well to be honest (and don’t say it too loudly) …it’s not as good as it’s cracked up to be. There are few views to drink in, the holes though devious and aimed squarely at the big boys do not generally have that wow factor, they are great tests of golf but would not be my daily choice of golf. Sure it’s still better than most of the courses you’ll ever play but when a course is always rated no. 1 you have to set high expectations. You do the same with courses like Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. The only difference is that those two courses match and exceed them. LeeA.
May 01, 2004
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Billy
Undeniably a great course, very tough. Strong collection of par 3s, but there are few memorable holes. No idea as to why this course is regularly voted as the best in the British Isles.
April 21, 2004
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful