Royal Musselburgh - Lothians - Scotland

Royal Musselburgh Golf Club,
Prestongrange House,
Prestonpans,
East Lothian,
EH32 9RP,
Scotland


  • +44 (0) 1875 819000

  • David Cummings

  • James Braid, Mungo Park

  • Calum Smith

The Old Club Cup Royal Musselburgh Golf Club dates back to 1774 and their Old Club Cup is one of the oldest golf trophies still being competed for annually. If you think you may have seen the trophy before (pictured here) then maybe you have as it now sits in the Golf Museum near the 18th green of the Old Course at St Andrews.

The club played over the Old Course in Musselburgh for 150 years, sharing it for a long spell at the end of the 19th century with The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society and Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society. These three clubs, along with the R&A and Royal Blackheath, are the only ones to predate the club, making it the 6th oldest golf society in the world.

One by one, the other clubs moved away to other venues and so too did Royal Musselburgh in 1925 when they moved a couple of miles east to Prestongrange House at Prestonpans, on a twenty five year lease from the Grant Suttie family. The club still leases their land on the same site (and have done so since 1958) from the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation. King William perhaps gave Prestongrange House to Robert de Quincy in 1165 and there's no doubt this magnificent building is one of the most impressive clubhouses in Scotland.

The new Royal Musselburgh course was designed by the great James Braid and he laid out the 18 holes over beautiful parkland situated on elevated ground overlooking the Firth of Forth near Prestonpans, the site of the 1745 victory of Bonnie Prince Charlie against the Hanoverian army of Sir John Cope. When additional land became available within the estate, Mungo Park was invited to construct some new holes and the remodelled course reopened for play in 1938.

Only four of the fourteen par four holes on the 6,237-yard (par 70) course are longer than 400 yards so golfers are able to reach the green in regulation at most holes – even the solitary par five on the card, the 477-yard 9th hole, named “Jimmy Braid” is well within reach in three shots from the tee. Distance is not the main consideration at Royal Musselburgh; precision off the tee and accuracy of the approach are what matter most.

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Reviews for Royal Musselburgh

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Description: Founded in 1774, Royal Musselburgh is one of the oldest golf clubs in the world. The baronial clubhouse contains plenty of interesting golfing memorabilia. Rating: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 7

We played Royal Musselburgh last year during our trip visiting the Lothians. I picked the course because of all the stories about the history of the golf club, and of course the trophy (of which a copy is on display in the clubhouse), being one of the oldest trophies in the world still being competed for.

Royal Musselburgh moved to the current venue around 1925, so the current venue has less historic value than the golf club itself. Although the old Prestongrange House must be one of the most impressive clubhouses to be found (with the most peculiar pro-shop attached to it....).

On our day of play it was pretty busy, and the starter asked if we had any trouble teaming up with another two ball. It was the start of a long, long walk that took away most of the fun. Taking more than 5 hours to finish this course is no fun.

I remember the course as and old fashioned parkland course (relatively short, narrow and straight with simple greens) with very fast greens. It must have been much more fun if we could have walked it at our own pace.

If you rate the history of the club, it will be an easy 5 star rating, if you rate the golf venue as such, it scores average.

OCB

3 / 6
Royal Musselburgh
June 07, 2017


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In recent years I have played this course once a year in a charity event. It has always been in immaculate condition even in the wet summer of 2011 It is a parkland course with some spectacular holes. I play off 16 and can still get up in par at most holes so it is not overly long. It is a very enjoyable experience.
5 / 6
Royal Musselburgh
August 25, 2014


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Upon arriving at Royal Musselburgh the first thing that catches the eye is the grand, almost castle-like clubhouse. It certainly is a very charming and impresive building although the interior perhaps could do with a lick of paint to return it to its former glory. The course was in relatively good condition and all of the regular greens (with the exception of the 9th, which was being reconstructed) were in play - a bonus for a parkland course given the time of year (last November).

After a couple of straightish holes the course begins to get more interesting with the third and fourth holes, both par 4s. The third is played along the length of the clubhouse to a well bunkered green, followed by the dogleg fourth. I found to my peril on this hole that a tee shot pushed too far right will result in trees blocking the approach shot to the green, stressing the importance of accuracy off the tee on this tactical hole. The 6th hole is the first of the three excellent par 3s at Royal Musselburgh. Trees line both sides of the hole, except for an old wall to the right but this should not interfere with play from the tee, and once again excellent bunkering is in evidence to protect the green and collect any wayward approaches to the putting surface. I found the remainder of the front nine to be fairly similar, with the 7th, 8th and 9th zig-zagging the golfer away, towards and away again from the clubhouse.

The back nine starts off in good fashion with the 10th, a 343 yard par 4, where the green cannot be seen from the tee. An accurate downhill approach must be played to avoid the ball rolling off the green which falls away on both sides and at the back. Two considerably solid strokes must be made to first get decent position on the fairway and then to attack the 12th green which sits on top of a small slope. Trees again provide a defence on this hole with my drive landing too close to the large overhanging tree and my subsequent shot ending up short due to clipping the branches of the tree on the way past. In my opinion the closing holes include some of the best holes at Royal Musselburgh, beggining with the par 3 14th hole. As has been commented upon by prior reviewers "The Gully" looks to be a short par three at a mere 127 yards however anything short will be gobbled up by the large valley from which the hole gets it's name, leaving a 50 yard almost vertical and blind uphill pitch should the golfer be unfortunate enough to land there. The drive on the 15th requires a carry of 100 yards or so to clear another gully (not quite as deep as the one on the 14th thankfully!!) and land safely on the bumpy fairway. The likelihood of an uneven lie makes the longish second shot a difficult one into the green which is longer than it is wide. The 16th is yet another excellent par three from an elevated tee and surrounded by several bunkers. The final two holes, going away from then back towards the clubhouse, seemed to me to play longer than their yardages of 334 and 377 yards as suggested on the scorecard on what was not a particularly windy day and are difficult finishing holes.

The three par 3s at Royal Musselburgh are without doubt the stars of the show as far as the course goes and each of them are great holes in their own right. However whilst there are a few very good par 4s I did feel that too many of them were often straight, and quite similar, holes, - particularly on the front nine, which meant that I wasn't overly excited by the course and this is reflected in my overall score. DM
3 / 6
Royal Musselburgh
March 08, 2010


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Lee
June 15, 2011
We played Royal Musselburgh after visiting St Andrews and playing Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. After having been beaten up by the big windy links courses, it was a real pleasure to retreat to this delightful historical parkland course and actually play to handicap! The course itself is relatively short – only one par five – but the condition is exemplary and the layout is enjoyable and entertaining. The baronial clubhouse is steeped in history and I thoroughly recommend Royal Musselburgh to anyone visiting the Edinburgh area.
This is a quality golf course which befits the 5th oldest golf club in the world. As you would expect, this club oozes history and, on the day we visited, we were lucky enough to encounter current Pro John Henderson who, was kind enough to give us a mini guided tour. John’s passion for the club shines like a lighthouse that has just had it’s bulb replaced and the tour involved us going into Prestongrange House which has some superb golfing memorabilia. It was then on to the course where, even the rain (you know that wet rain that soaks you through) couldn’t dampen our spirits. The first two holes ease you into the round but you are aware that the bunkering around the greens are just waiting to swallow up any errant shot. The 3rd hole takes you to the back of the house and again this dog leg has great green side bunkering. The 4th and 5th emphasise the fact that you have to put your drive in the right place to attack the pin and this leads us on to the magnificent, beautifully manicured 6th. A par 3 of 147yards off the yellows which is as tough as they come. Infact, all the one shotters on the course are well above par but more of that later.7, 8 and 9 are 3 more dog legs where you will be more than delighted to walk off with par. Locals feel that the front 9 is the place to make your score as the back is considered harder. Such is the capricious nature of this game we love I had a nightmare front 9 but a great back 9. Funny old game Saint! As you would expect the back 9 contains more dog legs and more great bunkering (all in fantastic nick, as were the greens) but, the 2 holes that really stand out are the two par 3’s, the 14th and the 16th. The 14th, Gully, is a mere 127yards from tee to green but what you don’t appreciate from the tee is the 60 foot drop before the green which cant be seen from the tee box. So always take one more club than you think. The 16th is around 150yrds from a slightly elevated tee and circumnavigating the 5 bunkeres that guard the front of the green is you goal if you are to make par here. You finish with two sub 400 yard par 4’s with the 18th an especially tough finishing hole due to, you’ve guessed it, great greenside bunkering. This is a great golf course which deserves far more than gem status. It has an understated class which, even in the rain, seduces you so much that you vow that you will return one day to play the course again. MPPJ
5 / 6
Royal Musselburgh
July 05, 2008


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This course is fantastic. A must play if you are in the area. The condition was outstanding when I played, and although it is a parkland course, it is not too tree lined, (which can punish a bad drive).The strategic bunkers reminded me of playing at a links course.
5 / 6
Royal Musselburgh
June 27, 2008


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It was a pity that on the day I finally got to play here, it rained for most of the front nine. Royal Musselburgh - Photo by Jim McCannNot that the weather really detracted from my enjoyment as it is a lovely course to play come rain or shine. I’d popped in here a couple of times before on my way to or from playing links golf along the coast and had promised myself I’d return for a slice of parkland action sometime as the place looked as good as I’d been told. And so it proved to be when I fronted up this afternoon, despite the inclement conditions. It’s a compact course, with several fairways running parallel to each other at various points but never intrusively so. At just under 6,000 yards off the regular tees, it is not a slog to get round and your game will be generally flattered as you should get up around the green in regulation at most holes. Green complexes were a joy to behold with exceptional mounding and bunkering throughout – the bunkers were as good as I’ve come across in many a day, actually. Putting surfaces were exceptional too and, as nearly half the strokes taken during a round are with the putter, their condition obviously goes a long way to determining how good or bad your score will be. The inward half - nearer the coast - is more undulating than the front nine, but pleasingly so and the ancient clubhouse is a real treasure, well worth a look around - and if the pro is not too busy in the shop, he just might dig out his old book on the history of Prestongrange House for you if you ask nicely! Jim McCann
4 / 6
Royal Musselburgh
August 21, 2007


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It's a very pleasant parkland course with some cunning bunkering. But from a design and layout perspective, Royal Musselburgh doesn't really get me excited, but the course condition was stunning when I played here in late summer. But hold on a minute, that clubhouse building is architecturally gobsmacking...now, that is a sight to behold.
3 / 6
Royal Musselburgh
February 15, 2005


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