Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 1
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 1
The first hole at Musselburgh Links features a deep front bunker. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Images
Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 2
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 2
Pictures explaining the origins of golf line the second tee box at Musselburgh. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - 2nd
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - 2nd
Gorse guards the second green at the Musselburgh Links golf course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course
Musselburgh Links in East Lothian is the oldest course in the world. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hickory clubs
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hickory clubs
Golfers who want an authentic old-school experience play hickories at Musselburgh Links, The Old Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - knickers
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - knickers
Golf writer Darin Bunch breaks out the knickers and hickories to play Musselburgh Links in East Lothian. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 4
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 4
The fourth hole is the toughest at Musselburgh Links. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 5
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 5
A look back shows the fifth green at Musselburgh Links, The Old Golf Course sits outside the racetrack that holds the oldest course in the world. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 9
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Musselburgh Links - Old Golf Course - hole 9
The nine-hole loop at Musselburgh Links ends at this green. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor

Play the oldest course in the world: Musselburgh Links, The Old Golf Course in East Lothian, Scotland

MUSSELBURGH, East Lothian, Scotland -- Tucked inside the Musselburgh Race Track sits golf's oldest playground.

Musselburgh Links, The Old Golf Course is touted as the oldest course in the world. Its 2,954 yards are no match for modern golf balls and titanium drivers, but imagine playing this par-34 layout with a feathery ball and a brassie club.

Billboards located near the second tee give players a sense of its historical timeline. Mary Queen of Scots is said to have played on site prior to surrendering to the Confederate Lords in 1567. The first documented evidence of golf came in 1672.

The wives of local fishermen played the first women's competition in 1811. Robert Gay used the first hole-cutting instrument in 1829. Seven of the current nine holes were laid out in 1838, with two more added in 1870. Musselburgh hosted British Opens in 1874, 1877, 1883, 1886 and 1889. Willie Park Jr., whose legendary father was a pro at Musselburgh, won in a playoff in front of a large crowd in 1889.

Playing through the rails and over the racetrack brings an odd feel to several holes. The scorecard actually explains what to do when landing in a hoof print. Fantastic sod-walled bunkering and colorful gorse makes up for these quirks and any rough spots in conditioning. Playing with hickory clubs available for rent remains the best way to connect with the club's magical past.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Related Links
East Lothian, Scotland, just east of Edinburgh, is small but it packs quite a punch with not only golf but plenty of off-course activities as well. Here are a few ideas for a rainy day on your next trip to Scotland, including checking out Bass Rock, touring the Belhaven Brewery, and chatting with local legend Archie Baird at the Heritage of Golf Museum.
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Play the oldest course in the world: Musselburgh Links, The Old Golf Course in East Lothian, Scotland
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