what is the oldest golf course in the world

A Trip Through Time: What Is the Oldest Golf Course in the World?

Last Updated on November 7, 2023

Musselburgh Links is the oldest golf course in the world, dating back centuries and offering a glimpse into how golf was played before St Andrews became renowned as ‘the home of golf’. From Royal Blackheath, London’s oldest club, to Leith Links in Scotland and Cranfield Golf Club, we’ll explore some of the most historic courses throughout this blog post. So grab your clubs and join us on our journey through time as we uncover these amazing stories about the oldest golf courses in the world.

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The Royal Burgess Golfing Society was founded here in 1735, and it’s where some of the earliest rules of modern golf were established.

The Musselburgh Links course has been played by many famous figures throughout history, including King George IV, who visited during his visit to Scotland in 1822. Today, it’s home to the annual Scottish Open Amateur Championship, which draws players from around the globe each year. Its popularity continues due to its picturesque views and challenging terrain, which provides an exciting round for all levels of golfers.

The links also boasts one of only two remaining holes that were part of St Andrews Old Course before it was redesigned over 200 years ago – “Redan Hole” – making this site even more significant within the game’s history. This hole is considered one of the most iconic par 3s on any course worldwide and has been replicated at other courses across Britain and beyond.

The iconic Redan Hole is not the only remarkable hole at Musselburgh Links; ‘Home Hole’ (the 9th) requires a well-placed approach shot into a narrow green, while ‘Golfers Grave’ (the 8th) – so named in memory of four golfers who perished on this spot – and ‘Royalty Hillock’ (the 5th), which Queen Victoria graced with her presence during her visit to the course in 1842, also make for an exciting round.

Musselburgh Links holds another record – Guinness World Records officially certified them as having hosted five major championships longer than any other club or venue: The British Open Championship (1860–1870); The United States Golf Association Amateur Championship (1902–1908); The U S Amateur Championship (1920–1926); The British Amateur Championship (1893–1900); and the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championships (1920). These accolades make this place truly special amongst those involved with golf around the world.

Key Takeaway: Musselburgh Links is the oldest golf course in the world, with a history dating back to 1672 and an iconic hole from St Andrews Old Course. It’s also home to five major championships which have been held there for longer than any other club or venue, making it a real standout on the international golfing circuit.

St Andrews: The Home of Golf

st andrews the home of golf

St Andrews is the oldest golf course in the world, having been continuously played since 1552. It is a renowned location with an extensive and remarkable past, often referred to as the ‘Home of Golf’. The Royal Burgess Golfing Society was formed here in 1735, making it one of the oldest golf clubs in existence. St Andrews also hosted the first Open Championship (now known as The British Open) in 1860, cementing its place as one of the most important venues for modern golf.

The iconic Old Course at St Andrews has seen many changes over time but remains true to its original design. Its nine-hole layout offers plenty of challenges for both novice and experienced players alike – from blind shots to hidden bunkers. Though it may not be a golfer’s paradise, the allure of walking around this iconic course is something special that even those without any golfing skills should experience at least once.

The popularity of St Andrews extends beyond simply being an ancient golf club; it’s now home to several other courses, such as The New Course and Jubilee Course, which offer different levels of difficulty for all kinds of players. In addition to these courses, there are also driving ranges available so you can practice your swing before hitting any fairways. With so much on offer at St Andrews, it’s no wonder why so many people flock here each year – whether they’re looking to improve their game or simply take in some beautiful views while playing 18 holes.

What sets St Andrews apart from other courses is its sheer size: with seven miles (11 km) worth of turf stretching across two townships – East Links and West Links – this is truly a golfer’s paradise. And with a Guinness World Record for hosting more major championships than any other venue worldwide, including 10 Opens, there’s no denying that this unique destination deserves its title as ‘the Home Of Golf’. Whether you want to play on one or all three courses available here or just take a leisurely stroll along them admiring their beauty – whatever your preference may be – make sure you pay homage to this hallowed ground by experiencing everything that ‘The Home Of Golf’ has to offer.

Key Takeaway: St Andrews, the ‘Home of Golf’, is an iconic and historic golf course which has been continuously played since 1552. It boasts seven miles (11 km) worth of turf across two townships – East Links and West Links – as well as three courses offering different levels of difficulty for all kinds of players, making it a golfer’s paradise. With its Guinness World Record for hosting more major championships than any other venue worldwide, St Andrews deserves its title as ‘the Home of Golf’.

Royal Blackheath: London’s Oldest Golf Club

londons oldest golf club royal blackheath

Royal Blackheath is London’s oldest golf club, founded in 1608 and still open today. This venerable institution has been part of the world’s premier golfing grounds for centuries and boasts an impressive list of achievements. It was the original home to the Royal Burgess Golfing Society, which hosted some of the earliest major golf championships ever played. Society also created many of modern golf’s most famous rules, such as not being allowed to ground your club in a bunker or water hazard.

The course itself is a nine-hole layout that features tight fairways lined with trees and several challenging par 3s. While it may be short by today’s standards, don’t let that fool you; this course demands accuracy from even experienced players if they want to score well. With its ancient history and beautiful setting, playing at Royal Blackheath is like stepping back in time – making it a must-play destination for any serious golfer visiting London.

In addition to hosting tournaments throughout its long history, Royal Blackheath has also been associated with some other notable events over the years. In 1754 it was host to one of the first meetings between members of what would become known as The Honourable Company Of Edinburgh Golfers (now known as St Andrews). And in 1851, it held one of only two matches ever played between teams representing Scotland and England – resulting in a win for Scotland.

Today, Royal Blackheath remains an important part of British golfing culture – both historically and culturally -and continues to draw visitors from around the world who are looking for a unique experience on their travels. For the experienced golfer, Royal Blackheath offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience a centuries-old tradition of golfing culture.

Key Takeaway: Royal Blackheath is the world’s oldest golf course, established in 1608 and still going strong today. It was home to some of the earliest major tournaments and has seen a number of important events over its long history – making it an iconic destination for any serious golfer visiting London.

Leith Links: Scotland’s Ancient Course

Leith Links is a historic golf course, said to have been established in 1567 and reputedly one of the oldest such courses globally. Situated in Scotland, Leith Links was formerly a public park before becoming an internationally renowned golfing spot. The original layout of Leith Links included nine holes, but over time this has been expanded to 18.

The course at Leith Links features some unique hazards, such as ditches, bunkers and streams which make it both challenging and enjoyable for players of all levels. It also boasts stunning views across Edinburgh’s Firth of Forth estuary – making it an ideal spot for photographers too.

The Royal Burgess Golfing Society, credited with founding modern golf in 1744 and responsible for establishing many of its core components, such as playing rules, handicapping systems and tee markers, is still honoured today at Leith Links. The original clubhouse built in 1778 stands to this day as a testament to their legacy. A round here provides an enjoyable challenge even for the most experienced players due to its unique hazards, including ditches, bunkers and streams, not to mention the stunning views across Edinburgh’s Firth of Forth estuary that make it a great spot for photographers.

Leith Links has a long history of hosting prestigious tournaments, including The Open Championship and the Amateur Championship. In addition to this prestigious event, other famous championships have taken place here, including The Amateur Championship (1893), Ladies’ British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship (1927) and Guinness World Records Longest Drive Competition (2005).

So why not grab your clubs the next time you’re passing through Scotland? With plenty of amenities onsite, such as driving ranges and putting greens, there really is something here for everyone, whether you’re just starting out or an experienced golfer looking for a challenge. Leith Links has become increasingly popular with locals due to its convenient location close to Edinburgh city centre, meaning anyone can enjoy a round without having to travel far from home.

Key Takeaway: Leith Links, one of the oldest golf courses in the world, dating back to 1567, offers a unique challenge with its ditches, bunkers and streams. This historic course has been home to numerous major tournaments such as The Open Championship and is conveniently located near Edinburgh city centre – making it an ideal spot for golfers from novice up to pro level.

Cranfield Golf Club: A Historic Course

Cranfield Golf Club is an 18-hole course that has been open for play since 1793. It is located in the small village of Cranfield, Bedfordshire and boasts a long history as one of England’s oldest courses. The club is well known for its unique layout, which features two separate nine-hole loops, each with its own distinctive characteristics.

The Course

The course itself offers a challenge to even the most experienced golfers due to its narrow fairways and undulating greens. Golfers must stay alert to avoid the lurking dangers of sand traps, water hazards and off-limits zones that can easily ensnare those who aren’t paying close attention.


As you would expect from such an old establishment, the clubhouse at Cranfield Golf Club has plenty of character. Inside you will find picturesque views over the surrounding countryside as well as comfortable seating areas where members can relax after their round or enjoy a bite to eat in between games.

Practice Facilities

If you’re looking to improve your game, then there are plenty of practice facilities available at Cranfield Golf Club too. This includes driving ranges with both grass and artificial mats, chipping greens and putting surfaces so you can hone your skills before heading out onto the course proper.

Tournaments & Events

Throughout the year, there are various tournaments held at Cranfield Golf Club, ranging from amateur competitions right up to professional events like those organised by PGA Tour Europe or European Tour Qualifying School Finals Series (QSFS). These provide great opportunities for local golfers who may be aspiring pros or just keen amateurs looking for some competitive action on home soil.

Membership Options

Membership options vary depending on whether you want full access rights or just occasional use but all offer excellent value for money when compared against other courses in the area – making it ideal for those who want regular access without breaking the bank.

With its rich history, modern amenities and challenging yet rewarding layouts, Cranfield Golf Club continues to draw people back time after time. For those seeking an exciting challenge or just looking to have a pleasant outing, Cranfield Golf Club may be the ideal destination.

Key Takeaway: Cranfield Golf Club is a true gem in the golfing world, boasting an impressive 18-hole course since 1793. With its narrow fairways and undulating greens, it provides both amateurs and pros alike with an exciting challenge as well as a picturesque clubhouse to relax after their round.


As a testament to their timelessness, Musselburgh Links, St Andrews, Royal Blackheath Golf Club, Leith Links, and Cranfield Golf Club have all stood the test of time as some of the oldest and most historic golfing venues in the world. From Scotland to London, these courses offer unique challenges for any golfer looking to experience something truly special – so why not take on “the oldest golf course in the world” today?

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