As golf’s oldest major, The Open holds a special place in the game, as do the courses that are currently on the Open Rota. The likes of St Andrews, Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale are among the best courses in the world but many are of the opinion that this year’s host, Muirfield, is the best of the bunch.
Muirfield is the course of “The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers” which is the world’s oldest golf club having reportedly been formed way back in 1744. Originally the club played their golf at Leith Links but in after Muirfield opened for play in 1891, all that changed and they moved to the now famous East Lothian gem.
Old Tom Morris laid down the original layout at Muirfield which started out in life as a 16 hole course. In 1928, famed course architects Harry Colt and Tom Simpson were commissioned to make changes to the layout and many feel these changed are what transformed Muirfield into one of the undoubted greats.
Quite simply the layout at Muirfield is a masterpiece, put together by three of the most influential brains in the history of the game. Muirfield is unusual in the sense that it was one of the first courses to stray away from the traditional 9 out and 9 back routing, instead opting for two concentric circles with the front nine encircling the closing stretch. This ensure the wind comes from all directions throughout the round which adds much the overall test, requiring golfers to stay on their toes from start to finish.
Considered by many, both professionals and amateurs alike, to be one of the fairest golf courses in the world, you get exactly what you deserve when you play at Muirfield. Well considered golf and sound strategy will present opportunities to score well; play poor shots and the course will take an almighty bite out of your handicap.
Bernard Darwin, a legendary golf writer and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, was a particular fan of Muirfield and said of Muirfield, “There is a fine view of the sea and a delightful sea wood, with the trees all bent and twisted by the wind; then, too, it is a solitary and peaceful spot, and a great haunt of the curlews, whom one may see hovering over a championship crowd and crying eerily amid a religious silence.”
Everything you expect of a classic links is present and correct at Muirfield with fast running, spongy fairways – heaven sent for year round golf – as well as phenomenal bunkering, punishing rough and some of the best greens in the country. Eccentric and traditional, Muirfield is one of the great links courses and a fitting host for the most important golf tournament on the golfing calendar.
Situated in the Lothians and thus surrounded by a whole host of top golf courses, Muirfield can be enjoyed as part of an epic Scottish Golf Tour, or indeed as a spectator at this year’s Open Championship.