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Monday, July 8, 2013

Musselburgh Links - Let's Pack Our Clubs!

In 1567, in East Lothian, Scotland, not too far from Muirfield, which will host the 2013 British Open, not too far from Edinburgh, on the Firth of Forth,  25-year old Mary Queen of Scots played golf on the Musselburgh Links.  Mary had recently married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, following the murder of her 2nd husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.  Could it have been a golfing honeymoon?

Details of Mary's golf attire, information about her choice of clubs, the the nature of the ball she used are lost to history, as are the identities of her golfing companions.


Musselburgh Links, with documented records of golf being played that date to 1672 -- apparently Mary did not card her score -- has hosted the Open Championship 6 times and provided the venue for the Scottish Amateur Championship in 1898.

Until 1838, when an 8th hole was added, golfers at Musselburgh played a 7-hole course.  The 9th hole was added in 1870.  And in 2009 the Guiness Book of Records recognized Musselburgh Links as the oldest playing golf course in the world.  Are you ready to pack your clubs yet?

But wait!  There's more! In sharp contrast to the fabled St. Andrews and the American pretender, Augusta National, Musselburgh Links has also led in sponsoring ladies golf, holding the first ladies tournament in 1811.  The winner received the Creel Trophy and 3 blue silk handkerchiefs from Barcelona.  Creel Trophy?  Well, this is a seaside links course.  In an amazingly progressive move, local fishwives were invited to compete in the tournament and a brand new creel was donated (in addition to the Barcelonian handkerchiefs) as the top prize.

On June 23, 2012 the 40-some members of the  Musselburgh Links Ladies Golf Club held the 2nd modern Fishwives Greensomes Competition.  (The 200th anniversary Fishwives Competition was held in 2011.)  A net 75.6, carded by the team of Kitty Crews and Faith Geddes, took the top slot on the leaderboard.  The Creel Trophy, long since lost, has been replaced by a more contemporary symbol of victory.

How I would love to enter the next Fishwives Competition!  Who would be interested in joining me on this adventure?