Prestonfield Golf Club was originally formed as the Edinburgh Civil Service Golf Club in 1920, with Peter Robinson designing the club’s original 18-hole layout in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat in nearby Holyrood Park.
Less than a decade into the operation of the new course, the city council stepped in with a compulsory purchase order for housing, taking control of an area occupied by holes 15 to 18 and offering the club replacement land to the east of the property.
As authors John F. Moreton & Iain Cumming describe in their book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses, “It was time for an expert to solve the problems created. Enter Baird.”
The book continues: “Roughly half the holes were kept. Others were changed. New holes were created. The completely new holes are the 2nd, the 5th, the 9th and 10th, the first two inserted par threes, the second two on the new land.”
“The changes involved a reversal, the 11th, lengthening where possible, 4, 11 and 12. Obviously, some old greens were still available, and presumably, the 16th and the 18th greens were used, though the holes came from a different direction. It was a considerable challenge to Braid’s ingenuity…”
Today, the course extends to around 6,200 yards, with five par threes and only two par fives on the scorecard. On the front nine, the 138-yard 2nd, “Hunter’s Bog,” is a terrific short hole which plays to a heavily sand-protected two-tiered green.On the back nine, first time visitors should be aware of the strong trio of par fours between the 10th and 12th, where a big score can easily be run up at any of these holes. The slight right doglegged penultimate hole (“St Leonard’s”) is another tough par four that demands respect so extreme care should be exercised here too.