One of the first recorded instances of golf in history dates back to 1457, when—according to "Scotland: The Official Online Gateway"—King James II outlawed the sport, calling it a distraction from military training. It would not be until the 19th century, however, when Scots would develop golf into the modern sport we know today, featuring standardised cup holes and courses. Scotland, a country with golf intertwined throughout its history, not surprisingly features some of the oldest golf courses in the world.
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While many people have heard, either from television or golf buddies, that St. Andrews is the oldest golf course in Scotland, and in the world, this is debatable. According to "Golf Vacation Insider" the "Guinness Book of World Records" gives that title to Musselburgh Links. This course is located a few miles outside of Edinburgh, about 60 miles down the coast from St. Andrews. Musselburgh Links is a nine-hole course that lies inside a racetrack. Documents show that people were golfing on the links as early as March 2, 1672. Local legend holds that Mary Queen of Scots played a round of golf there in 1567.
The Starters Hut, 10 Balcarres Road
Musselburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom EH21 7SD
0131 665 5438
People began playing golf on the area that is now home to the world-renowned St. Andrews Links at around 1400. The links includes several different individual golf courses, including the New Course, the Jubilee Course, the Eden Course, the Castle Course, the Strathtyrum Course and, most famously, the Old Course. And while the Old Course at St. Andrews is one of the oldest golf courses in Scotland, according to the Winnipeg Sun, the course's founders did not officially establish it until 1754, well after Musselburgh Links was already up and running.
St Andrews Links Trust
Pilmour House, St Andrews
Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom KY16 9SF
+44 (0) 1334 466666
Bruntsfield Links is the oldest short-hole or pitch-and-putt golf course in Scotland, as well as the world, according to "The Golf Tavern." The course, which today is free to the public, can trace its roots to 1735, as a public recording in the 1834 edition of the Edinburgh Almanac gives it mention.
During its history, the grounds of the course also provided space for grazing animals, travelling fairs and horse trade shows.
Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society Limited
32 Barnton Avenue
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom EH4 6JH
0131 336 1479
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