There is too much to talk about at the far end of Gullane for a single post. I thought it best to write two, the first about the course (Muirfield), and the second about the club (The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers).
After originally playing at Leith Links and then Musselburgh, Muirfield was laid out for the HCEG by Old Tom Morris in 1891. The name likely derives from a ‘moor field’, and the early course was often waterlogged – a far cry from the immaculate links presented today. Over the early decades, the land was drained and improved.
The original 16 holes were soon after extended to 18 – constrained by the plot of land originally procured. In 1907, a further 13 acres was acquired, and 50 more in 1923. It was then that Harry Colt was invited, making changes and additions that led to the inspired routing.
Two concentric loops of 9, the first outer loop playing clockwise, and the second playing anticlockwise within it. Whichever way the wind is blowing, you’ll need to navigate it in every direction.
The land is undulating without being characterised by particularly large dunes. Intelligent use is made of the larger elevation changes – the step change on the Eleventh fairway and the exceptional par 3s in particular.
Tom Simpson provided a further contribution to the development of the links in the 1930s. The classic par 3 Thirteenth was added, but it was the bunkering that received the bulk of his attention. The total number was drastically reduced and the style altered. Now, it is Muirfield’s brilliant and strategic bunkering that is one of its defining features.
Eminently fair, this is one of the greats. A course you could play every day and never tire of the infinite variety it offers.