Discover Scotland’s Golfing History

The town of St Andrews, on the east coast of Fife, has long been considered as the home of golf, and the British Golf Museum is dedicated to detailing all there is to know about this game that captivates countless players around the world. Located near the Royal & Ancient Clubhouse, which overlooks the 1st tee on the historic Old Course, the British Golf Museum is worth exploring, whether you’re a golfer or not. Fittingly, a larger than life bronze statue of legendary Old Tom Morris (16 June 1821 to 24 May 1908) stands in the reception area and is the first feature visitors see as they enter the museum.

While golf had been played in Scotland long before Tom Morris Senior, better known as Old Tom Morris, was born, he was responsible for many innovative changes to the game which are used around the world to this day. Among his contributions to the game was the practice of green-keeping and managing of golf course hazards. He was influential in standardizing golf courses to 18 holes and was the first golf course designer in Scotland, having a hand in designing Prestwick, Muirfield, Royal Dornoch, Carnoustie, and Cruden Bay golf courses.

The museum covers the history of British golf from the 17th century to modern times. More than 16,000 items are housed in the museum, including golfing equipment, trophies, medals, decorative art, photographs, books, programmes, periodicals and more. An unusual feature of the British Golf Museum is the series of bronze grips of golfing greats, such as South African Gary Player and Nick Faldo of England. Other highlights of the museum include the hand-written rules of golf dating back to 1754; a driving putter made by Hugh Philip in 1848; a ball pattern-making press dated at around 1890; a crosshead wood from 1897; and Tom Morris Jr’s Open Championship Medal. A ‘flicker’ book from around 1930 uses a series of photographs in booklet form, which when flipped through rapidly show Bobby Jones swinging a club in the way that earned him the reputation of being the greatest amateur golfer of all time.

The British Golf Museum is open seven days a week, and with interactive and multi-media displays, as well as fun features like the practice putting area, it offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to discover exactly why golf is so appealing to so many.