The Honourable Company members experienced an increasingly busy 5-hole Leith Links course. As both roads and transport improved, a growing number of The Honourable Company members from 1828 travelled 5 miles east to play at Musselburgh Links of 7 holes, later 9 holes, inside its horse racecourse. By 1830s, The Golf House for members on Leith Links proved difficult to maintain on falling member interest and so in 1833 a sale was reluctantly agreed. By 1836, The Honourable Company completed the Club's move to Musselburgh Links. Later, the club would move again to open its Muirfield course on 3rd May 1891, about 15 miles to the east, in the town of Gullane, county of East Lothian.
Shortly after completing its move to Musselburgh in 1836, the Silver Club became the only the Club Captain's symbol of office by membership election. The number of Silver Clubs obviously increased as each Captain added his own silver ball of Office: 1744 club (44 balls), 1811 club (45 balls), 1879 club (43 balls), a fourth (44 balls) and perhaps a current club. From 1811, Silver Clubs were paid for by The Honourable Company but still presented by tradition by Edinburgh Council. The design of the silver balls with the Captain's name has also followed the design evolution of golf balls through the centuries: featherie; gutta-percha; haskell and modern dimpled balls.
After moving to Musselburgh, the Club's 'Leith Gold Medal' (1790-1830) became its 'Musselburgh Gold Medal' (1836-1891), the Club's senior medal over Musselburgh's 8 holes of 2,800 yards and 9 holes by 1870. From its first award in 1790 on Leith Links, the Gold Medal is still played for at The Honourable Company's Spring Meeting at Muirfield almost 230 years later.
The Honourable Company organised six Open Championships between 1872 and 1892 at Musselburgh, as part of a 3-course rotation with Prestwick and St Andrews, before moving to Muirfield in 1891, taking the Open competition rights with the Club. The first three Opens were held under The Honourable Company's own Rules before adopting 1888 R&A Rules of Golf thereafter.
A new Links course of 16 holes was designed by Tom Morris Senior on 100 acres of land leased initially from Mr Nisbet Hamilton Olgivy of Archerfield Estate; his wife had inherited several estates in East Lothian in her own name as Hon. Mary Georgina Constance Nisbet Hamilton (1843-1920) and both were keen supporters of East Lothian golf. (By coincidence, she was the great-grand-daughter of John Wedderburn, the Jacobite leader executed in London when John Rattray was a prisoner there.).
For the first time, The Honourable Company had sole rights over its own Course with important local railway connections to Edinburgh, both for members and for competition players and spectators. (The ground had been used for summer horseraces and winter curling near current 7th hole). In two further stages, Muirfield bought out the existing Links land with further land purchases in 1922 and 1952 from the neighbouring Archerfield Estate, particularly as protection against North-East weather, sea and beaches. Muirfield opened on 3rd May 1891 and held its first Open Championship in 1892 of four rounds of the new 18 hole course. Old Tom Morris won by 3 strokes from Amateur Mr Harold Hilton of Royal Liverpool in a final round of 74 (out of 305), ahead of Amateur Mr John Ball jointly with two professionals Hugh Kirkcaldy and A. Herd.
Nick Faldo was The Open Champion of 1992 at Muirfield. As is customary for the Host Club, Captain Douglas Foulis as Captain 1992-95 (and future President of our Leith Rules Golf Society 2003-2014) presented him with the Claret Jug trophy.
Peter Arthur, Captain 2017-2019 of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers of Muirfield, receiving - from our Society member David Anderson of Golf and Thistle Ltd - a large Bronze in recognition of the Club's very special donation to our Rattray Project.