Golf Articles Tollcross Online Golf Headlines Cinema Plus Tollcross Sport

Golf in the news

Club tees up plan for course with Links to birth of game

As the place where the rules of golf were first written down, it lays claim to being the birthplace of the sport.

But with the exception of an annual four-day festival, a club has rarely been swung on Leith Links for well over a century.

All that could be set to change as part of plans to regenerate the area and improve the popular park.

The city council is to consider proposals for a nine-hole pitch and putt course on the east of the Links.

A statue of John Rattray - the founding member of the club which first recorded the rules - would also be installed near the starting tee as part of the plans.

Pat Denzler, secretary of the Leith Rules Golf Society (LRGS), which promotes Leith's place in the history of the game, said a new course would be an ideal way of promoting the history of the Links and the famous game played there in 1744.

"It's a very under-celebrated fact that the first recorded game of a now worldwide sport took place in Leith," she said.

"It would be great if we could have something permanent, not only to remember that fact by, but for people to play there now. I think it would be a popular facility. Many people don't have any idea about the history and this would be one good way of raising that profile."

Golf is currently banned on the Links for the safety of other users of the park. The LRGS has to obtain special permission to hold the annual Hickory Open, in which participants dress in historic golfing clothes and play a temporary course with hickory clubs.

A five-hole course was created on the Links for the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, who in 1744 became the first to make a written record of the rules of the game.

They included instructions to play each shot honestly and not aim at a competitor's ball, that player whose ball lies furthest from the hole plays first, and that objects such as sticks and leaves should not be removed unless on the green.

Margaret Moffett, secretary of Leith Links Community Council, agreed with the proposal but questioned whether East Links was the best location, preferring another site beside John's Place.

She said: "The community council has been going on about bringing in something like this for years.

"There used to be a pitch and putt at John's Place and that was tremendously popular at the time.

"There are a lot of good things happening in Leith just now, and this could be another."

Source: Adam Morris, Evening News, Tuesday, 29th May, 2007