Gullane Golf Club - East Lothian, Scotland
Gullane Golf Club established in 1882, offers championship quality links courses with dramatic views across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh, Fife and to the south. Gullane is situated in East Lothian approximately 40 minutes from Edinburgh.
The three courses do not have names but simply numbers, which reflect their age. The Club has a history of hosting international Championship events and the No. 1 course is an Open Championship Qualifying Course. However golf has been played on Gullane links for over 300 years.
As far back as 1650, the weavers of Dirleton played the weavers of Aberlady annually on Old Handsel Monday. However there was no organised club until early 1800’s, when a number of local farmers banded together to play golf. This club became defunct around 1848 but it was resuscitated in 1859 and, as the East Lothian Golf Club, still plays today at Gullane. Dirleton Castle was formed in 1854 and is the oldest in continuous existence at Gullane. The members were mostly shopkeepers, working men and artisans from Dirleton and Gullane.
In 1882 eight gentlemen of Gullane met and resolved to form a club under the name of The Gullane Golf Club in order to keep the links in good order. It was agreed to issue a circular to those golfers who were in the habit of playing over the links, with a view to inducing them to become members. 32 names were given as members and by 1883 membership numbers were 125. Membership numbers in 2007 are just over 1,000.
As the popularity of golf grew, the village prospered and the course was stretched steadily and in 1910 there were three 18-hole courses plus a children’s course. This progress was not without opposition. For over 50 years - from 1842 to 1892 - a serious threat to golf on the hill was racehorses. Gullane was an important and successful training area for racehorses and exercising them on the hill was a well-established practice. However, in 1892, Lord Low prohibited exercising and training on Gullane Hill and by this judgement made the hill permanently available for golf.
In terms of the ages of the courses Gullane No. 1 was established in 1884 and the well maintained greens, links grasses, numerous bunkers and sea breezes makes a unique challenge for the serious golfer. Gullane No. 2 was laid out in 1898 and one feature of the course is its excellent short holes, particularly the 11th with its magnificent view and tricky club selection. Gullane No. 3 was completed in 1910 and will test even the most experienced golfer’s ability at accurate shot making and truly is a gem. Willie Park Jr designed them both.
In 1889 a clubhouse was built in the village, which is now known as ‘The Old Clubhouse’. In 1927 the lands surrounding the Gullane Ladies’ clubhouse were acquired. A contract, still in operation, was made with Gullane Ladies’ Golf Club, outlining the responsibilities and finances of the new clubhouse. In 1928 the old buildings on the site were demolished and construction work started. This clubhouse is used as the Members Clubhouse today.
Gullane Golf Club continued to grow and in 1993 a Visitors Clubhouse was built adjacent to the start of the No. 2 and 3 courses to accommodate the increasing number of visitors playing the courses. It offers all the facilities expected at a major golf complex.
Thanks to material provided from Golf on Gullane Hill written by Archie Baird.