Located at the eastern end of the magical East Lothian town of Gullane, whose character is inherently tied to golf, Muirfield occupies a stretch of coastline that is seemingly god-given for golf. The austere society's history can be traced back to 1744, when Edinburgh's gentry played over five holes on the Leith Links, but the Company has long since occupied the majestic Muirfield turf. As the jewel in the crown of East Lothian, Muirfield is a must visit course as part of your next golf breaks in Scotland.
16 Open Championships, the most recent in 2013, are testament to the outstanding quality of Muirfield's links layout, which features with unerring regularity in any credible list of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the world. The outward nine runs clockwise and envelops the anti-clockwise inward half, demanding that golfers tackle the relentless seaside wind from every angle. Muirfield certainly does not lack admirers, but the head of the queue is occupied by the great Jack Nicklaus, who chose to pay homage by naming his Ohio resort after the East Lothian gem.
The course's original design has changed since initially being laid out by Old Tom Morris in 1891. These design alterations were influenced by some of the leading amateur golfers of the time who were members of the club, the course was developed yet further with futher land acquisitions in 1923 and consultancy by Harry S. Colt, whose famous designs include Sunningdale, Wentworth and Royal Portrush, as a result of this, Muirfield quickly became seen as one of the very best golf courses in the world. Whilst there have been some slight alterations since then, including Tom Simpson's remodelling of the par-3 13th hole (an outstanding short hole with an elevated green protected by dunes and superb bunkering) and Martin Hawtree's review which resulted in work to introduce new bunkering and tee positions over the winters of 2010 and 2011, the course remains true to Colt's original work.
Golfers who have triumphed at Muirfield include some of the very best in the game, including most recently Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. It is however five-time Open Champion Tom Watson who takes the acclaim as lowest winner at Muirfield with a total of 271 in claiming the 1980 Open Championship, Mickelson's total in 2013 was ten shots higher.
During previous Open Championships at Muirfield, the 8th hole has traditionally played the most difficult, whilst the short par-4 11th has been the easiest in relation to par. The course is now defended by 148 bunkers.
For golf in its purest sense there are few courses that can rival Muirfield, which promises to be a truly magical experience.
Muirfield is ranked as one of the best courses in Scotland
When can you play Muirfield?
Visitors can play at Muirfield on Tuesdays and Thursdays, prebooking is advised as the course is incredibly popular, especially during the Summer months
Are there any handicap restrictions?
Golfers are required to have a handicap of 18 or less.
What format of golf do you have to play at Muirfield?
Fourball golf is restricted to morning play only. Those playing in the afternoon have to play foursomes
What is the par at Muirfield?
Off the championship (white) tees the course measures 7,245 yards with a par of 71, with the 9th becoming a par-5 while it is a par-4 off the yellows, these tees measure 6,728 yards with a par of 70. The standard scratch is 73, although if the wind picks up, the course can play significantly harder than this.