Image by Kevin Murray.
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To view some of Kevin’s work from around the world [CLICK]
The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is one of the most esteemed names in the sports history, and sits alongside the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. The Club dates to 1744 but it was 1891 when the Honourable Company left their previous home at Musselburgh to take up residence at Muirfield.
|Founded||1744 opened 1891|
|Yardage||Championship tees, 7241 yds|
|Ranking||8th in the world|
|Handicap Restrictions||18 for gentlemen|
The Course itself
Muirfield quickly replaced Musselburgh as the host of the Open Championship of Golf with Harold Hilton winning their first staging in 1892, before Harry Vardon 1896 and James Braid 1901 became early Muirfield winners. They were to set a trend. No other course has generated quite such a glittering roll call as Muirfield. Hagen, Player, Nicklaus, Trevino, Watson, Faldo, Els and Mickelson are amongst the most recent winners.
Muirfield introduced a design innovation which has similarities with Carnoustie. The conventional orthodoxy had been to replicate a St Andrews style in and out nine. Perhaps the best example of this straight lay-out is Troon, but it also meant that players could settle into a rhythm by adopting upwind and downwind strategies. Muirfield adopted a clockwise ring of nine running on an outer circle, and then a counter-clockwise circuit running inside of it. This ensured that the wind would come at you from all angles and therefore stretch a player’s game to the limits in terms of reading the most feared of all links adversaries. It’s perhaps not surprising therefore that not only does Muirfield enjoy a reputation for being a blue blood golfing aristocrat, but the course is also heralded as being the fairest on the roster, and one which simply can’t yield a lucky winner
Muirfield is one quality hole after another lining up on you. The ride begins at the very assignment. The first is a difficult opening hole played into the prevailing wind, and regarded by some observers as the courses signature hole. The tee shot should be kept to the left half of the narrow fairway which swings gently to the right. This leaves a clear view of the green, past bunkers short and right. The green merges with the fairway and is essentially flat.
The second was one of two nominated by Jack Nicklaus when he was composing his ultimate Open Championship course. It wouldn’t be a tough hole, but it is an important one as a driveable par 4, but one which can punish you with a tight out of bounds wall should you find yourself over-striving and losing control.
The ninth isn’t a long par 5 by modern standards, but the landing area is cruelly patrolled by bunkers and a narrowing strip you need to thread in order to proceed in regulation. If you strive for length you risk a hooked drive sailing out of bounds. Even off a really solid drive it is very difficult to chase a long running shot past the bunkers on the right to a green set uncomfortably close to the out of bounds wall that runs all the way down the left side.
The par 3, uphill thirteenth is another that poses similar predicaments. A phalanx of greedy bunkers ring the perimeter of a long and deep green, but one which is painfully narrow at just 15 paces. On top of that, it drops sharply from back to front and falls away to the right. You just have to stay out of the sand.
Muirfield’s final assignment is one of the great finishing holes in golf. Two bunkers cut into the fairway on the left side as the fairway reaches its narrowest point, but any tee shot hit too safely to the right is threatened by more sand, or the prospect of having to over-extend yourself on the second. The prevailing cross wind from the right enhances the difficulty of the drive and the second shot to a long rising green deeply bunkered on either side, including the island bunker which can leave some unplayable lies
The rough is a feature of Muirfield as it’s often encouraged to grow and penalise the errant golfer. Should you try and bludgeon this course and overpower it, then you’ll only succeed in doing so if you can keep your drive straight. The other thing you need to pay particular attention to in preparing your strategy is the bunkering. Muirfield is clever. It has a habit of putting bunkers just where you wouldn’t want to find them. It seduces you into tantalising errors. The old proverb of ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ might apply at Muirfield. Think, plan, and execute
TO VIEW THE HOLE-BY-HOLE GUIDE TO MUIRFIELD, CLICK ON CLUB CREST
SOME IMPORTANT RULES FOR MUIRFIELD
Play on the Course: Muirfield is a particularly exclusive and sought after tee-time. Access is restricted to Tuesdays and Thursdays. Popular dates can book up a year in advance. Fourball games are allowed in the morning only. Afternoon play will be foursomes (alternate shot). Bookings will not be taken for three-balls, two-balls or singles.
Dress Code; Dress in the Smoking and Dining Rooms after 10.00am is smart, equivalent to a gentleman’s lounge jacket and tie. Golf shoes or outer golf apparel are not permitted in any of the Club’s public rooms. On the course, jeans, trainers and round neck T-shirts are prohibited but for men short, WHITE socks are allowed with tailored shorts.
We advise that you dress smartly to play the course. It’s easier to change from lounge jacket, collared shirt and tie, into golfwear and back, then it is to risk offence and possible objection
Photography is NOT permitted in the clubhouse. The use of mobile phones, and any other portable device used for the purposes of electronic communication, is prohibited on Club property.
Buggy hire, Trolleys, Caddies and Clubs
|Rental Carts Available||Yes; with medical explanation|
|Caddies||Yes, but limited|
|Rental Clubs Available||Yes|
Muirfield merchandise is sold through Gullane GC