Review: The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh

By David Rennie, Contributor

Originally, the club was known as The Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society, and was reportedly founded in 1735, which would make it the oldest golf club in the world. At that time, the Society played on Bruntsfield Links, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. When the links began to be congested because of urban growth, the Society moved to Musselburgh where it shared the links with the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Finally, as a result of the 1890's golfing boom, the club settled in its new, private course in Barnton in the west of the city of Edinburgh in 1895.

The original course was set out in 1895 on the advice of Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews and it remained largely unaltered until 1945 when James Braid was invited to advise on the layout. The members take considerable pride in the quality of presentation of the Course and visitors to Barnton will enjoy a day's golf on lush and manicured fairways in a golfing haven only six miles from Edinburgh city centre. The club received it's royal patronage in 1929 and was captained by the prince of Wales in 1935, its bicentennial year.

At a distance of 6,494 yds, with a par of 71, it is a challenging parkland course with treelined fairways and soft greens, less characteristic of many courses on the east coast of Scotland. Most of the par 4's require a good drive and a mid iron, making short birdie putts a rare luxury even for low handicappers. Notable holes are the 4th, 9th, 17th and 18th.

The 4th hole, par 4, 465yds .

This is a long left to right dogleg with out of bounds on the right. Drives have to be down the left hand side, avoiding three cruelly placed bunkers if players are to give themselves a chance of reaching in two, the sloping green guarded with tall trees. All in all, not much room for error!.

The 10th hole, par4, 362yds .

A tough hole with which to start the back nine. Another left to right dogleg, it requires an accurate shot uphill to the 38 yd long green where you can't see the base of the flag. It is always a club more than it looks.

The 17th hole, par 4, 443yds.

The drive at this hole is a real knee-trembler. Starting back in the trees, there is a sloping fairway, left to right, inviting a slice, and trees on the left of the fairway ready to eat up anything that is slightly hooked. The green, requiring a long iron to reach, has bunkers at the front and a group of trees to the right.

The 18th hole, par 4, 247yds .

A downhill layout with a green that can be reached with a well hit drive. However there is a carry of at least 150 yds to the fairway, out of bounds tight along the right hand side, and several bunkers short of the green turning a straightforward shot into a serious challenge particularly if par is required to win the money!.

All in all, this is a spendid course to test your game.

Directions: If travelling from the south on the M8, follow the Edinburgh airport signs. After passing the airport on the left, at the first set of traffic lights, bear left past the Stakis Maybury Casino. At the next traffic light, follow the sign for Cramond. The clubhouse is located on the right immediately after the parade of shops behind the Barnton Hotel. If travelling from the north on the A90 follow the dual carriageway until it becomes two-way at the 30mph sign (Cramond Brig Hotel). As you approach the Barnton junction, take the slip road left into Whitehouse Road. The entrance to Royal Burgess is immediately after the parade of shops.

The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh
181 Whitehouse Road, Barnton,
Edinburgh, Midlothian EH4 6BY
Tel: +44 (0)131 3392075
Fax: +44 (0)131 3393712.

Convenient places to stay in the area are the Barnton Hotel, the Caledonian Hotel and the Whitehouse Bed and Breakfast.

The Barnton Hotel is almost directly next door to the golf club and offers excellent accommodation and has a very good public bar.

The Barnton Hotel
Queensferry Road
Telephone:: +44(0)131 339 1144
Facsimile: +44(0)131 339 5521

Whitehouse Bed and Breakfast
4 Corbiehill Road, Edinburgh, EH4 5EF
Telephone:: +44(0)131 336 2881

The Caledonian occupies a prominent location in the heart of the Scottish capital. Located on Princes Street just minutes from the business and shopping district, it is also situated in the shadow of the magnificent Edinburgh Castle and offers golf packages in and around Edinburgh.

The Caledonian Hotel
4 Princes Street
Telephone: +44 (0)1314599988
Fax: +44(0)1312256632

David Rennie, Contributor

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Toughest par 35

    john pilch wrote on: May 26, 2005

    Looking for info on a course that only has 13 holes, several where damaged during the war. It's a par 35 with the best score being a 45. Blind 1st and 2nd shots. Located on the isle if fifh.Maybe even has a castle on it? Please help a wyoming cowboy out.