Gullane Golf Club No.1 G.C

Historic Summary

Gullane Golf Club was formed in 1882, but the history of golf in this part of East Lothian dates back to 1650 when the handloom weavers from the nearby villages of Dirleton and Aberlady met on the links at Gullane for their annual golf match on Auld Handsel Monday. This was a winter festival celebrating the New Year. Matches were played on the links but there was no structured club until the early 1800s when a number of local farmers began meeting to play golf. The initial enthusiasm was short-lived and the club was discontinued around 1848.

The oldest surviving club still playing on Gullane links is the Dirleton Castle Golf Club. This was formed by the shopkeepers and artisans of Dirleton and Gullane in 1854. Another club was formed in 1854 and plays today as the East Lothian Golf Club. The old course of 13 holes was maintained partly by subscription and partly by the East Lothian Golf Club. In 1865 by volunteer efforts, the villagers lengthened the course to 15 holes.

In 1882 , eight gentlemen from Gullane discussed the links and reached agreement that to maintain them in a satisfactory condition a club should be formed and would be known as ‘The Gullane Golf Club.’ They contacted local golfers and there were 32 founder members. Numbers grew and within 12 months there were 125 members.

The course was further extended to 18 holes and the Duck Pond, said to be a great hazard was removed. The person acting as golf architect for the course is unknown. From 1842 to 1892 there was a critical menace to golf, particularly on Gullane Hill.  Gullane was a significant and effective training area for racehorses. Exercising the horses on the hill was a well-established custom.

The incompatible claims resulted in Lord Low barring the exercise and training of horses on Gullane Hill in 1892. This ruling to all intents and purposes made the hill permanently available for golf. The attractiveness of golf grew so that more capacity was required on the links. Gullane No. 2 was laid out by Willie Park Junior in 1898 and he also laid out Gullane 3 in 1910.


The Heritage of Golf Museum at Gullane

Close to the 18th green of the Gullane No. 1 Course is a small stone cottage. It contains memorabilia and golf equipment collected by one keen golfer and his wife. The founder of the Museum was the late Archie Baird. He married Dr. Sheila Park a medical doctor, but also, great-granddaughter of Willie Park Senior, winner of the first Open Golf Championship in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club. Archie was a former RAF fighter pilot and a veterinary surgeon. He was Captain of Gullane Golf Club 1976-78 and also a member at Muirfield.

The couple initially lived in a small flat in Edinburgh and they furnished their home by looking for bargains at auction sales and second-hand shops. On one excursion Archie came upon an old bag with hickory clubs. He discovered one was a family heirloom as it was stamped with the name Park and promptly bought it for five shillings.

This incident sparked his interest and he found that such clubs could be found all over Edinburgh, so he collected hundreds of the good makes such as Philps, Forgan’s, and of course Park’s. During this time he became interested in the beginnings of the game and started to collect golf books, memorabilia, nick-nacks, and his strongest interest was golf art.

In 1980 he decided to share some of his treasures by opening the Heritage of Golf Museum. A fellow collector Ben Crenshaw was in Scotland to play the Open at Muirfield. He was invited to cut the tape at the Opening. Archie gave free short tours to visitors who made advanced bookings.

His presentation was engaging and humorous and traced golf’s origin back to the 1300s. He quotes the Dutch as inventors of the game explaining that they could not make decent clubs. However, as they played on the ice this was not critical for them.

The Scottish craftsmen worked in fine beech and ash and made the first great clubs to advance the game on links land. Furthermore, it was the Scots who developed and spread the game. The museum tells the story from its beginnings when a few people in the East of Scotland played their featheries around basic links to the present day when multitudes of men and women enjoy golf for its activity, challenge, and skill. To visit the Museum you should now contact the club.


Gullane Golf Club Number 1 Course

6873 yards, par 71

The club is located in East Lothian just 18 miles east of Edinburgh the Capital City. The course begins and ends in a town similar to North Berwick and St Andrews. It is unusual for a true links course in that it is routed up to the crest of Gullane Hill around and down again.

This opens up spectacular vistas of the surrounding countryside, the Firth of Forth and other features. Carved into the ancient links turf it has smooth-running greens, pot bunkers, and wispy grasses and is a unique challenge for all golfers.

The game has been played over the links since the 1600s and although the architect of this inspiring course is unknown, what we do know is that they did a great job with every hole having its own character and charm. The course is renowned for its well-maintained greens, links grasses, and extensive bunkering. Add in sea breezes and you have a significant challenge for the serious golfer. 

The type of grass is mainly Bent on the fairways and Fescue on the greens. There are 124 bunkers scattered across the course. Although Gullane No. 1 is not especially long there is a requirement for varied uphill and downhill shot-making whilst avoiding the traditional pot bunkers. There is a series of testing short holes that demand guile and skill.

If you are looking for a charming and beautiful golf course that features scenic views, greens that run fair and true all year round and a diverse challenge then look no further than Gullane Golf Club.


Suggested ways that you could play some of the holes.

Hole 1

The First - 302 yards, par 4, index 14

The course starts in the town and the first hole eases you into the round with a relatively gentle short par four. Drive down the right side and you have a short iron approach and opportunity for a birdie start. Well-placed bunkers are the main defence rather than length.

Hole 2

Windygate - 412 yards, par 4, index 4

This is an unusual par four. From the tee, it’s a tight drive up a steep hill. It is essential to find the narrow fairway. You need accuracy rather than length. The approach is tough to a narrow strip of green. It was in fact ranked the hardest hole when the Scottish Open visited with an average of 4.43.

Hole 3

Racecourse - 523 yards, par 5, index 8

The course continues a slow climb up Gullane Hill. It plays along with what was the old Racecourse. You are high enough to appreciate the spectacular views. A good strong drive down the left will position you for a second to the right of the fairway and a good view of the green. There are well-placed fairway bunkers to consider.

Hole 5 

Murrays Hill - 450 yards, par 4

This is a long tough par four uphill and rated index 1. Drive to centre-right of the fairway. Be careful with your club selection for a long approach to the green.

Hole 7

Queens Head - 398 yards, par 4, index 10

The hole is downhill to a protected green, a straight drive and you will leave a short pitch or running shot to the green. From the tee, this hole is famous for its spectacular views. You can see Edinburgh, the Forth bridges, the Firth of Forth, Fife,  Gullane Beach, and Muirfield. 

Hole 8

Kings Chair - 471 yards, par 4, index 6

Another tough par four where you need a good drive noting the bunkers at typical driving distances on the left. The approach to the green needs to be well placed avoiding more greenside bunkers.

Hole 13

Hole Across - 178 yards, par 3, index15

A par three that is uphill and all carry. Take care with club selection for a demanding tee shot. It is better to be slightly long, to be sure of avoiding the greenside bunkers.

Hole 15

Pumphouse - 580 yards, par 5, index 9

This long hole is the highlight of the back nine. It is a testing dogleg. The father you drive the narrower the fairway becomes. Best to drive down the left followed by a positional shot on the right.

There are a dozen bunkers to avoid on the snaking fairway. This leaves an uphill pitch to the severely sloping green.

Hole 17

Hilltop - 390 yards, par 4, index 5

This par four is shortened by being steeply downhill. You need to find a level plateau. This will provide a good stance to clear the bunkers before the green.

Hole 18

Kirkland's - 385 yards, par 4, index 17

A short well-designed hole downhill to the village. You just need to avoid the bunkers. It's a great setting for the final hole taking you back to the heart of the village. The green has no bunkers and is between the first tee and the road.


The Scottish Open

The Scottish Open is a professional golf tournament and one of the European Tour's premier events. In recent years it has been played on a links course, appealing to players who wish to gain experience before the Open, which takes place in the following week.


2015 Scottish Open at Gullane

For the first time in its 132-year history, Gullane Golf Club hosted a European Tour event. Rickie Fowler from the USA won his first victory on the European Tour. He played well right up to the last putt at Gullane on the final day. It was perfect preparation for the Open Championship the following week.

The American scored a two-under 68 to take the title with a fabulous birdie on the final hole. With that birdie he overhauled his fellow countryman Matt Kuchar and Raphael Jacquelin of France to top the leader board at 12 under with a total of 286, winning by 1 stroke.

Fowler has enjoyed two top-five finishes at the Open in his career and his win at Gullane Golf Club further improved his impressive links performances. The winner’s purse was $541,668.


2018 Scottish Open at Gullane

South African Brandon Stone broke the Gullane course record with a final round of 60 to win the Scottish Open by four shots. There have been 28 prior rounds of 60 on the European Tour.

Stone could have been the first to score a round of 59 on a European Tour but missed his putt for a birdie on the 18th. Stone said "The first time I knew I had the opportunity was when I was walking onto the 18th green." He had rounds of 70, 64, 66, 60  to finish on 260, 20 under par.

This was the third time that the course record had been broken during the tournament. Stone said that to be Scottish Champion was incredible. He explained that his caddie had kept him very calm and level-headed the entire week. His eagle on the sixteenth was the highpoint of his round.

Englishman Eddie Pepperell had led the field for most of the day but had to accept second place on 16-under-par. He said he was pleased with his performance which secured him a place in next week's Open Championship at Carnoustie. The winner’s purse was $1,666,669. 


Gullane No. 2

6396 yards, par 71

It was laid out by the legendary Open Championship winner Willie Park Junior. Shorter than Number 1, it provides an equally stern test as it has proved during final qualifying for the Open Championship and many other tournaments.

The course is laid out alongside No. 1 for the first seven holes before running down to a nature reserve next to Aberlady Bay. It then turns towards home from the 13th tee, down Gullane Hill back to the new Gullane Links Clubhouse. 

The beauty of the East Lothian coastline and the challenge of the layout create an unforgettable round that typifies links golf in Scotland. In particular, the course is renowned for the challenge of its short holes expressed by the 215-yard, par-three 11th with its wonderful views, testing downhill tee shot, and tricky club selection.

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