Played Musselburgh on July 14th with my son on a warm sunny evening after watching a practice round for the Open Championship at Muirfield. On the second tee there is a poster that says "Musselburgh Links, The Old Golf Course - The Oldest Golf Course in the World". For that reason alone this is a must play course for anyone that is interested in the history of the game. The scorecard says that Mary Queen of Scots played here in 1567 and James VI played here in 1603. In addition, as one the 14 venues that have hosted The Open Championship, those that would like to play all the Championship venues must play this course.
The 9 hole links only measures 2954 yards with a par of 34. While short by modern standards, Musselburgh has many well placed bunkers that could be very difficult to play from. Shots offline could be in trouble as the rough can be difficult. The day we played the links played very hard and firm and the racetrack encircling the links certainly received more water than the links. The 3 par 3s all played into the wind and measured 240, 183, and 240 yards from the white tees. Certainly no pushovers and pars are an accomplishment. For us holes 2, 3, and 4 played downwind and with the ground so hard the ball rolled farther than I have ever seen. My son drove the 357 yard par 4 fourth and it is the longest shot I have seen him hit. The 431 yard par 4 four fourth was a nice solid hole and with the ground so hard a nice bump and run second shot had to be played. The 350 yard par 4 ninth was a nice dogleg left hole with bunkers protecting the green.
Overall, the links was in good condition. However, playing a links that is labeled The Oldest Course in the World is a great experience. My only regret is that we did not hire hickory clubs to play the links as in its heyday. Would highly recommend anyone interested in the history of the game play this links steeped in history. While not in the greatest condition, it certainly was fun to play at a very reasonable cost. Click here to see a You Tube slideshow of some pictures I took during my visit. Jim Brady
Date: August 05, 2013