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Book tells of punishing rounds on Links

As Leith Links prepares for the possible return of golf for the first time in decades, a new book has revealed the punishment for playing there when the game was frowned upon.

The book, 'A Swing Through Time: Golf in Scotland 1457-1744', tells of how the site of the first ever game of golf played by official rules was once not so welcoming to the sport.

Plans are currently underway for a nine-hole pitch and putt course to be opened on the east side of Links.

The book reveals the Kirk at the time strongly disapproved of any golfing activity on a Sunday, and this manifested itself with a Leith church dishing out fines to offending Sabbath players.

It states: "In 1610, the South Leith Kirk issued the warning that those who ignored it would have to pay 20 shillings to the poor and 'make public their repentance before the pulpit'."

The book, published by the National Library of Scotland and written by Olive M Geddes - a senior curator at the library - also documents how King James V once played at Gosford in East Lothian, and relates how Mary Queen of Scots was particularly keen to play within the grounds of Seton Palace.

The idea for a new pitch and putt course currently forms the centrepiece of a Leith Links masterplan proposal.

Source: Evening News, Saturday, 2nd June, 2007