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25 July 2014
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History of Golf - Leith Links

This - as Leithers will quickly tell you - is the real home of Golf, not St Andrews. The earliest mention of golf is in 1457.

King James II instructed the game to be "utterly cryt downe and nocht usyt" as it interfered with archery practice. By 1505 James IV was playing the game.

The links were also used for mustering troops, but lots of other activities also such as exercising horses, drying clothes, grazing cattle, fairs and breeding food rabbits.

This is the historical home of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. The game was initially played over five holes, with each hole being over 400 yards long.

In March 1744 the first rules of golf were established. There were 13 rules, 5 holes and feathery golf balls were used. These formed the basis for the modern rules of the game.

The game was run by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (the called 'The Gentleman Golfers'). They came in to being in March 1744 at Leith Links when the City of Edinburgh presented the Golfers with a Silver Club for annual competition.

Young and Old Tom Morris

On 7th March 1994, the 250th anniversary of the club was celebrated by the planting of a white hawthorn tree near the finish of the 5th (Thorntree) hole. On Friday 18th March in celebration of the anniversary, a 6-a-side two-ball foursome Challenge Match was played on the links by the High Constables of the Port of Leith versus The Honourable Company. The matches were started off by the Lord Provost and the game was played with wooden clubs of the time and with 'feathery' golf balls, filled with goose feathers. These holes were played, the 1st (Sawmill), the 2nd (North Mid-Hole), and the 5th (Thorntree). The Honourable Company won two matches to one.

Directions: From Leith Links it's a bit of a walk to the next point at Lamb's House. Retrace your steps to St John's Place, turn right down towards the docks and along this busy road then down to the junction at Queen Charlotte Street, turn left and along this street then turn left into Maritime Lane.

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The walk's stages

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