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Luffness Old Golf Club, East Lothian. (1867 - 1894)

The original Luffness Golf Club Links, founded 1867, were laid out to the west of the present course.

The location of the old course was more or less north of Luffness House, over the other side of Peffer Burn. The course started over the wooden bridge that now leads into the bird sanctuary. This was the main walking track from Aberlady to Gullane. The clubhouse was just on the right over the bridge and there is still a building there, which is almost 1,000 meters or so west of the present Luffness New clubhouse.

On Monday 16th June 1871 members of the Luffness Golf Club met to play for the prize presented by Major Hope, president of the club. Mr J Brodie and Mr A Brown tied with a score of 84, the tie was decided in favour of Mr Brodie. Despite the recent bad weather the links were in excellent condition.

In 1878 John Ernest Laidlay, a most successful amateur golfer, became a member of Luffness Golf Club and in the same year won his first medal with a score of 77, this remained a record for several years.

John Laidlay, born in 1860, was educated at Loretto School. Musselburgh Links were close by and this gave him the opportunity to hone his game. Laidlay was first to use the overlapping grip years before Harry Vardon or J H Taylor adopted it.

On Monday 19 January 1880 the members played for a set of clubs presented by H W Hope. Mr A Murray won the first prize with a score  91. Mr J Smith was second, 103-14-89 ahead of Mr J Wybard who had a "similar score."

There was a large entry for the annual Monday Handicap competition played in January 1884, result; W H Bryden, 90-6-84; D Kinloch, 90-9-81; Rev Kerr, 97-10-87; A Murray, 88 scratch.

On Saturday 30th May 1885 the Wemyss handicap medal was won by Mr J Todrick, 102-15-87.


Luffness Old Golf Club, Aberlady, East Lothian. Entry from the 1888/89 Golfing Annual.


Luffness Old Golf Club, Aberlady, East Lothian. Entry from the 1888/89 Golfing Annual.

Above is the entry from the Golfing Annual 1888/89.


It was reported in the Edinburgh Evening News in January 1893 that Mr Henry Walter Hope "is not at present on good terms with members of Luffness Golf Club". It's probable that this dispute escalated and eventually lead to the closure of Luffness Old course.


Luffness Old Golf Club, Aberlady, East Lothian. Result of the Hope Scratch Medal August 1893.

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 26 August 1893. Image © Illustrated London News Group.


Luffness Old Golf Club, East Lothian. Old course layout.

Layout of the course (1867 – 1894) taken from the Rev John Kerr’s book Golf in East Lothian 1896.


Competition result from January 1894.


Luffness Old Golf Club, Aberlady, East Lothian. Competition result from January 1894.

"Golf" Friday 26 January 1894. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


In 1894 a number of members from the original club broke away to form the Luffness New Golf Club. The course included nine original holes from Luffness Old Club.

Although the Old Course was once completely separate parts of the former course are now being used by Lufness New (the western parts of the current holes nine to eleven and parts of holes fourteen to seventeen) and by Gullane 2 (holes twelve and thirteen)

From the Golfing Annual 1898/99 – “It is quite a rare event, when one hears of new courses being opened on every hand, to hear of an old course being abandoned - so rare that it may be chronicled as something quite notable. Many must think with regret that the old Luffness Club has bid farewell to its old course and clubhouse, and found fresh fields and a new Clubhouse at Craigielaw, on the estate of the Earl of Wemyss.


Luffness Old Golf Club, East Lothian. Picture of the Old Luffness clubhouse and golfers.


The course was laid out by old Tom Morris in 1867, and it was a great favourite with many players, who found it a good test of the game, and a capital place for enjoying a good match in peace and quietness. Differences between the neighbouring proprietors led to the Club's receiving notice to quit, and, while the loss is irreparable, it may be slight consolation to know that many of the old holes will lie used up in the new relief course at Gullane, and in the course of the Now Luffness Course. We give a view of the interesting old Clubhouse now vacated, with some Bass Rock players in front, from the photograph by Hutchison, North Berwick. The chief competition of East Lothian, that for the Comity Cup, when annually held over the old course, and for many years the trophy was monopolised by the Bass Rock Team. Last year it was captured by the New Luffness representatives. Messrs. A. M. Ross. T. T, Cray, F G, Tait, and W.T. Armour. Lord Wemyss formally opened the Craigielaw course on 25 November.”

Luffness New Golf Club is probably the oldest “New” course in the world. It was created by Tom Morris. 

Ordnance Survey Map showing the location of the golf course in the 1890s.


Luffness Old Golf Club, East Lothian. O.S. Map showing the location of the course in the 1890s.

O.S. Map Revised 1892; © Crown Copyright {year of publication 1896}.


Interesting article on Old Luffness from "Golf" in February 1895.


Old Luffness Golf Club, East Lothian. Report on the Old Luffness Golf Club in February 1895.

"Golf" Friday 8 February 1895. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the Old course.