The Musselburgh Golf Club Course Review

The Musselburgh Golf Club is home to a James Braid parkland course that has been used for Open qualifying

The Musselburgh Golf Club - Hole 1
Looking back down the closing hole with the spire of St. Michael’s in the distance
(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The Musselburgh Golf Club Course Review

GF Round: £100 Mon-Fri, £125 Weekend
Par 71, 6,725 yards
Slope 129
GM Verdict A fine parkland design with plenty of interesting holes and challenge
Favourite Hole The par-4 15th, Joogley, played back down to the railway with bunkers in front and the burn behind

Musselburgh is a place synonymous with golf, but not so many people know there are not one but three clubs and courses with this name in their title. This one, either The Musselburgh or simply Musselburgh, is substantially the youngest of the three although it does still date back to 1938. As with several other courses along Scotland’s Golf Coast, it is a James Braid design. It was used for regional qualifying for The Open from 2006 to 2010, and final qualifying when the championship was at Muirfield in 2013.

FRONT NINE

The Musselburgh - Hole 1

Strong bunkering lines the opening hole

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

A pair of par 4s get you on your way as you head out towards and alongside the River Esk.

The Musselburgh - Hole 3

The third hole, Whins, is the shortest hole on the course

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The first par 3 comes next, this one protected at the front by a quartet of bunkers which makes the only approach an aerial one. This is followed by the first of the three par 5s which again follows the river although you don’t really see it as it is screened by trees and dense foliage.

The Musselburgh - Hole 6

The par-3 sixth is 157 yards from the back tee and SI16

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The next short hole comes at the 6th, and it plays a little longer than it looks and is again well protected, this time by three large bunkers. Following the second long hole at the 7th, you cross under the railway line to close the front nine with two testing par 4s, the second of which has a burn crossing in a valley some 70 yards short of the green.

BACK NINE

The Musselburgh - Hole 10

The approach to the tenth hole on the far side of the railway

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The 10th is a long par 4, and the 11th, Braid’s Best, is another short hole with a great deal of sand and trees lining the right hand side. The final par 5 comes next and takes you to the southernmost point of the course, surprisingly close to the A1 but again well screened by very mature woodland.

The Musselburgh - Hole 15

The toughest hole on the card at fifteen is well protected by bunkers and a burn waiting over the back

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

There are two gentle doglegs at 13 and 14, and then a very characterful hole back to the railway line. The 15th is just over 400 yards and SI1, tree-lined on the left and with a green that is surrounded by bunkers and the burn. There is a great deal to think about, and a par here will probably feel like a birdie.

The Musselburgh - Hole 17

The par-4 seventeenth, Kirk, is well protected by sand

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Across the railway, the final par 3 is all about distance control, and the 17th is a lovely two-shotter that eases its way gently from left to right.

The Musselburgh - Hole 18

It’s uphill and usually into the breeze on the closing hole overlooked by the art deco clubhouse

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

The final hole is very challenging and memorable, a maximum-length par 4 from the back tee that plays longer than its already considerable yardage.

Musselburgh, or Monktonhall, is a very engaging design that from the back tees is more than capable of challenging the best golfers. In an area with plenty of Top 100 and Next 100 courses, it makes for a welcome alternative to the links courses that tend to dominate the best golf courses in East Lothian. It is also very pretty, has its own character, and can hold its head up high in this area of outstandingly strong golf.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.