Muirfield Golf Club, Gullane, East Lothian
Founded 1891. Links Course
No analysis of Scottish golf would be complete without mentioning Muirfield but this is a private club and visitor play is limited so those hoping to play should plan well in advance. Home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, whose records date to 1744, Muirfield has occupied its current home since 1891 and has hosted the Open Championship on 16 occasions, most recently in 2013 when Phil Mickelson won his first Open. Fitting for a course of such stature, the list of champions at Muirfield is impressive and includes Player, Nicklaus, Trevino, Watson, Faldo, Els and Mickelson. Following a review by Martin Hawtree, changes were made at 15 holes over the winters of 2010 and 2011 and while many in number, the changes were subtle in nature and the essential characteristic of Muirfield has been carefully retained. The most noticeable difference is the ninth hole, now a truly testing par five, particularly into the prevailing wind.
Great golf is only part of the story when considering what makes the perfect golf trip. Thankfully the other essential components are all found in abundance in Scotland, not least in the sights to see department. Whether scheduling a day off from golf or filling an afternoon after your morning round, there are many options regardless of which region you are visiting. The below is intended as a very general guide to sightseeing in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Central to your time in this region is the wonderful and historic city of Edinburgh. Whether you are staying in the city itself or on the East Lothian coastline, Edinburgh is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. Not to be missed is a visit to Edinburgh Castle (pictured above), with its many highlights including the Great Hall, Royal Palace, National War Museum, Stone of Destiny and Scottish Crown Jewels. Other attractions in Edinburgh include the Royal Yacht Britannia, National Museum of Scotland, National Gallery of Scotland, the Scotch Whisky Experience; and the official Scottish residence of the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
To the east of Edinburgh, the Lothians landscape is dotted with castles, each one telling its own tales of bygone days. These include medieval Dirleton Castle in the village of Dirleton and the imposing Tantallon Castle in North Berwick, which stands perched in the most dramatic of cliff-top settings. Other attractions in the Lothians include Dunbar Town House Museum & Gallery in the town of Dunbar, the 17th Century House of Binns near Linlithgow, Glenkinchie Distillery and the impressive ruins of Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots in 1542.