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Port Seton Golf Club, Cockenzie, East Lothian. (1912 - 1938)

Golf is first recorded at Seton when Mary Queen of Scots played there in 1567.

Port Seton originally opened as an 18-hole course on the 6th July 1912. In 1918 the layout was reduced to 9-holes due to lack of patronage.

The nearest station was at Musselburgh; from there an electric car service was available, which ran past the course. Alternatively, there was a station at Seton Mains Halt (LNE), which was a 10 minute walk from the course. Sunday play was not allowed.


Port Seton Golf Club, Cockenzie, East Lothian. The Port Seton clubhouse.

Port Seton the clubhouse. Image courtesy


Card of the 18-hole course in 1914:-

Hole 1 – 400 yards; 2 – 340 yards; 3 – 490 yards; 4 – 160 yards; 5 – 390 yards; 6 – 350 yards; 7 – 135 yards; 8 – 330 yards; 9 – 360 yards. Out – 2,955 yards.

Hole 10 – 375 yards; 11 – 390 yards; 12 – 170 yards; 13 – 470 yards; 14 – 450 yards; 15 – 220 yards; 16 – 450 yards; 17 – 330 yards; 18 – 350 yards. In – 3,205 yards. Total – 6,160 yards. 

A professional golf tournament was held on the course on Monday 1st June 1914. It attracted many of the top players of the time. Below are the leading first round scores.

J H Taylor, Mid Surrey. 74
George Duncan, Hanger Hill. 74
Allan G Gow, Nairn. 76
David T Watt, Morton Hall. 78
D Robb, Mortonhall. 78
George Smith, Bieldside. 78
Joe Anderson, Perth. 79
Willie Watt, Direlton. 79
Robert Thompson, North Berwick. 79
P Robertson, Braid Hills. 79
Willie Park, Musselburgh. 82
Jack Ross, Park Langley. 82
P Brown, St Andrews. 82
James Nelson, Peebles. 82
H Duff, St Andrews. 83
Arthur Grant, North Berwick. 83
Tom Ball, Raynes Park. 83
Alex Marling, Royal Aberdeen. 83
David Grant, North Berwick. 84
G Cassidy, Norbury. 85

The 36 hole scores as follows; Geo Duncan, Hanger Hill won the £20 first prize with scores of 74+78-152; J H Taylor, Mid Surrey (£10) 74+80-154; W M Watt, Direlton (£8) 79+76-155; D Watt, Mortonhall (£5) 78+78-156; Tom Ball, Raynes Park (£3) 83+75-158; G E Smith, Bieldside (£3) 79+79-158; P Robertson, Braid Hills (£3) 79+79-158; R Thompson, North Berwick, (£1) 79+80-159; A Gow, Nairn (£1) 76+83-159.

Below are the first round hole by hole scores of the winner, George Duncan, and runner-up J H Taylor, the 1913 Open Champion. Both players returned scores of 74, equal best of the day.

Geo Duncan; Out – 5,4,4,3,4,5,4,3,4 = 36; Home – 5,5,2,5,4,3,5,5,4 = 38 – total 74.

J H Taylor; Out – 4,5,4,3,5,4,4,4,3 = 36; Home – 4,4,3,5,4,4,5,4,5 = 38 – total 74. 

In 1922 the secretary was T S Hare, Port Seton House, Cockenzie. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 4/- a week and 15/- a month.

From 1924 to 1926 the secretary was W Wood, Winton Park, Port Seton. Visitors’ fees were now 1/6d a day, 5/6d a week and 15/- a month.

From 1930 to the club’s final year in 1938, due to the expiry of the lease, the secretary was G M McKinlay, Aldersyde, Port Seton and the green-keeper Jas Fraser.

Thanks to Roger Johnson who sent us the picture below. It’s marked 1933 on the reverse side.


Port Seton Golf Club, Cockenzie. Picture of the Port Seton golf course dated 1933.

The Port Seton golf course in the 1930s.


The former course can be seen on the Britain From Above links below.



Port Seton Golf Club, Cockenzie, East Lothian. Location of the former golf course.

See below for a more accurate location of the 18-hole course (apologies for the incorrect road names above).


Port Seton Golf Club, Cockenzie, East Lothian. Revised map.

Matt Cunningham, the Club’s Historian, provided the amended map above showing the location of the original 18-hole course, with the correct road names.


Port Seton Golf Club, Cockenzie, East Lothian, Courses.

The above map shows the location of the Thorntree and Port Seton courses in the centre. Longniddry is top right and Royal Musselburgh bottom left.


I would like to thank Matt Cunningham, Historian for the Port Seton club, for the help and information he has provided regarding the history of both Thorntree and Port Seton clubs.



The club was reformed as an active non-course club in 1958 –