Feature Interview


Mungo Park

February 2017

Mungo Park is an architect and golf historian, who over 30 years in his own general architectural practice has worked on over 35 golf Clubhouses. He is currently writing a book on the Club Makers of Musselburgh. It investigates the most significant period of Musselburgh’s golf history in the second half of the 19th century, when the town was arguably the most active centre of golf development in the world. Mungo trained at Edinburgh University, and set up practice in London with two partners in 1984. The practice was selected for the RIBA’s Forty under 40 exhibition and won an invited competition for the design of The Oxfordshire Golf Club. Since then he has worked at Hoylake, Gullane, Temple, Sunningdale, Muirfield, Royal Wimbledon and many others. He has written on the evolution of the golf clubhouse as a generic building type for the British Golf Collectors Society, of which he is a member. In 2007 he visited Argentina, where his grandfather won the first Argentine Open (El Abierto). He discovered and was instrumental in the conservation and restoration of the earliest Minute Book of the Argentine Open Championship Committee with assistance from the AAG, the British Council, the R & A and Masterworks Golf. He has contributed articles on golf history and the history of early club makers, including his own family, to various periodicals. His great grandfather Willie Park Snr won the first Open (1860) and three others (1863, 1866 and 1875); his great-great-uncle Mungo won it in 1874, and his great-uncle Willie jnr in 1887 and 1889. He is married to Julia, also an architect, and they have two children, Anna and Jack.

What was it like for the children of James Park (James, Mungo, and William) growing up in Musselburgh in the 1830s and 40s?

James and Euphemia Park started their married life in Wallyford. Around 1834 they moved down to Cottage Lane on the road that runs along the south of Musselburgh Links. Willie Jnr maintained that his grandfather James Snr was a golfer, but as a ploughman he must have found it difficult to find the time or more significantly the money for golf equipment, particularly with a wife and nine children to feed. It is possible that he played the ‘short game’ as did many in Scotland outside the gentry, with cruder instruments than the gentlemen’s ‘long game’. Four of the children we know took to golf; Archibald, Willie (Snr), Davie and Mungo (Snr) were all able golfers. Willie and Mungo both won the Open, Davie came a close second to Willie in 1866. Archibald, James’ second son, briefly became a golf ball maker, and was an able golfer too. He went away to sea, and on his return started a laundry business with his wife and daughter. He appears to have taken no further part in competitive golf, although he stayed in Musselburgh. Little is known of John Park the oldest son but James Park Jnr, the third son became a footman for Lord Meadowbank, and later a butler.

Honestly, what was the golf scene like then?!

Musselburgh has always been a home to golfers. It is one of the earliest centres of golf in Scotland. Although date attributions vary there are certainly written records of golf being played by Sir john Foulis of Ravelston at Musselburgh as early as 1672. By the 1830s and 40s when the Park boys were born golf was on the threshold of a re-emergence in popularity, after something of a lull. The ‘long game’ itself was by that time regulated, the first Rules having been laid down in Leith by the Honourable Company in 1744, as a condition of the gift from the city council of a silver club for which they played annually.

Balls were featheries, clubs were mostly wooden, even the lofted clubs, the baffy and the spoon. Featheries were too valuable to risk hitting them with an iron unless in really serious difficulties, when a ‘rut iron’ might be taken. The short game was unregulated and was probably still being played by those with lower income, but the ‘long game’ which involved considerable expense in terms of refined clubs and feather stuffed balls, was predominantly the preserve of a fairly small, select and riotous group of ‘gentlemen’, many of who had fortunes to burn. The same names recur as players in Musselburgh, North Berwick, Montrose, St Andrews, Perth and to some extent the two main centres in Edinburgh, namely Bruntsfield and Leith. It seems that this lively (and sometimes out of control) group of wealthy men over-indulged themselves in horse racing, gambling, prize fighting, drinking and womanising. Ironically, what may now seem to be the unacceptably ‘laddish’ behaviour of this group also probably kept the game of golf alive. With the country frequently at war, golf had diminished in popularity in the late eighteenth / early nineteenth century. Despite the efforts of this group, the long game of golf was not widespread; the newly formed clubs struggled to keep going and by the early 1830’s the game was struggling.

In 1834 the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers put its Leith clubhouse, ‘Golf House’ up for sale with all its furnishings and paintings, and seems to have entered a short period of dormancy. Musselburgh Golf Club too diminished in popularity for a time. Nevertheless the hard-core of ‘bad boys’ kept the game alive through tournaments and money matches. They set up regular meetings, often at the same locations as horse racing meetings. Occasionally these golf meetings were reported in the newspapers, particularly those in St Andrews, which became a fashionable place for the golfing ‘set’ to meet. This relationship between the press and St Andrews possibly contributed much to its later fashionable success as a resort, at the expense of many of the other centres of golf, including Bruntsfield, Musselburgh, Leith and Perth etc, which were less newsworthy in the number of the ‘fashionable’ set that they attracted.

There were certainly the beginnings of a local golf industry in Musselburgh before the middle of the century, and the Park boys must have watched and learned to play early, by caddying for the gentlemen, perhaps marking the location of a lost ‘featherie’ ball and returning for it later. Once the Honourable Company started to play their matches there, and the Musselburgh Golf Club (not Royal until 1876) started to grow again, the town became a centre for play that was in its time as important as St Andrews.

Three things took place which propelled it into a position as the most important centre of the game; the invention of the ‘gutty’, the arrival of the railway and the re-location of more of the most important clubs. These all happened in the years between 1836 and 1855, when the Park boys were at an impressionable age. They were quite simply in the right place at the right time, and they took their chances. The gutty (1848) made golf accessible to a much wider social group, the train (1849) brought them down from Edinburgh and took them back for a reasonable cost. The growth in the clubs and their commitment to the Links through the building of Clubhouses ensured there was regular competition.

These events transformed the town in the second half of the nineteenth century. Willie (Snr), who started playing with a roughly fashioned stick, went on to dominate the game with Tom Morris, in the early days of the Open. Between the Park and the Morris families, 15 Open Championship wins were accounted for. 8 by the Morrises, 7 by the Parks.

What impact did winning the first Open in 1874 at Prestwick have on Willie Park Sr.’s life?

Willie Snr started to challenge the accepted stars of the game in 1853/4. He won the first Open in 1860 at Prestwick – initiated incidentally by two of the early golfing reprobates, the Earl of Eglinton and James Ogilvie Fairlie. Willie’s success, it is fair to say, transformed the family’s future. Willie dominated the game with Old Tom Morris for at least the next ten years, each eventually winning 4 Opens, with Willie’s last being in 1875. His brother Mungo had won it the previous year, in 1874. Willie and his brothers were among the second generation of ‘golf professionals’, men who made their living from the game, but they were the first to play with the gutty, and they led the explosion of interest in the game that followed its arrival in 1848.

Willie made clubs at his workshop close to the Links, in Millhill. By the time he had stopped carrying clubs and issued his famous challenges to play any man for £100 a side, the featherie ball had been universally replaced by gutta percha, and Musselburgh became the source of much of the best golf equipment. The McEwans had moved down from Bruntsfield, following their cousin John Gourlay, the last of a famous ball-making family. The manufacture of clubs, and his professional play for high stakes became Willie’s source of income. He was later assisted by his sons, including my grandfather, Mungo Jnr, and his more celebrated and charismatic brother, Willie Jnr.

Mungo Park with the Prestwick Claret jug by the original first tee at Prestwick.

Please give us the background on W. Park and Son. Where was it based, what did they produce and for how long?

The composition of W Park and Son’s history is slightly uncertain in parts, and the Wm Park and Son stamp is sometimes misleading. Willie Jnr stated that his father had told him that he had started his business in 1853. In 1884 Willie Jnr returned from the south and started a separate business from that of his father; he said that they were not in partnership until 1893. This explanation may have been invented to avoid liability for Willie Jnr’s mounting debts falling on his father. After 1893 the two businesses certainly became one, and Willie Jnr built it up to become a highly successful enterprise, employing 80 people. As well as supplying clubs wholesale to shops such as John Wisden and Swan and Edgar in Regent Street, he opened stores in Manchester, London, Edinburgh, North Berwick and New York.

The company’s workshop, where they made every part of the club, was located in Millhill, the centre of the golf industry in Musselburgh, and just a few steps from the Links. It was sold in 1912 to a local building contractor. Production continued to a lesser degree in Pinkie Lane, Newbigging. ‘Old’ Willie produced a conventional range of clubs, but with Willie Jnr’s arrival and latterly their amalgamation, a period of continual invention began. Willie Jnr was a highly creative inventor and entrepreneur. He was the first to patent a golf club, and produced many novel club and ball designs in his career, including what is perhaps his most lasting legacy to the technology of the game, the ‘bent neck’ putter, an original idea that is now an assumed part of putter design. W Park and Son was wound up in 1912.

Assorted Wm Park and W Park clubs including the patent bent neck putter and the Patent Lofter.

Huntercombe is a fascinating course – I’ll go so far as to say it is the most underrated design in the United Kingdom. Talk to us about its design and the purpose behind its creation.

I agree with you about Huntercombe being one of the most underrated courses, although I am much less of an expert than you or most of GCA’s readership. I like to think that it is the course at which you see Willie at the top of his game. He had just designed Sunningdale, which had opened to huge acclaim. At Huntercombe you see him indulging himself with imagination and panache and without constraint, as he was both designer and client. For me the result is some of the most fun you can have on an inland course. . . . but then of course I am biassed. In routing, shaping, bunker placement and green design he displays a sensitivity to the landscape and an almost witty quality in his use of topography. My grandfather, Mungo Jnr worked with him there as General Manager and Pro, before he left for Argentina to make his own career.

The 4th green at Huntercombe with its savage, nearly 4 foot drop to a low right section.

Park Jr. poured so much into Huntercombe mentally, financially, and emotionally. Yet, when the housing component didn’t flourish, Huntercombe became a financial burden. Did he ever second guess himself?

Before the days of geotechnical and water surveying, the depth of the water table was not something that could be known before you started drilling. It was the water difficulty that really stretched the company’s resources to breaking point. The knock-on from that was that the houses and clubhouse could not be started. Willie was a canny business man, but he over-reached himself and took one fairly large risk too many. However, the final nail in the company’s coffin was the fact that another of Willie’s clients, the income from which might have baled him out, also proved to be under-funded. As a result, the post-dated cheques that had been provided to him by the owners of the proposed Maplethorpe G C proved to be worthless, and this further stretched his financial capacity . . . beyond its limit, yet another example of cash flow being the life blood of business.

Speaking of underrated, please tell us about three designs of the Park family that perhaps remain unheralded today yet most of us would love a hit around?

Kilspindie – used to be my home course, a charming 18 holes, shortish but quite tight enough particularly with a stiff breeze. Great with hickories.

The par 3 first hole at Kilspindie immediately transports the golfer to the water.

Alnmouth village – home of Mungo Snr, who reputedly laid the course out and went on to be its first professional, although the dates don’t quite tally as in 1869 when the Club was formed he was still a seaman, but then it is a coastal port so perhaps he took his clubs. Another hidden gem by Mungo is Newbiggin, just down the coast.

San Andres in Buenos Aires – designed and built by my grandfather – it is a great course and a classic Clubhouse. My dad was born there.

Gullane No 2 and 3 – Gullane for me is everything that any reasonable golfer could ask for. All three courses have so many wonderful holes, and the bunkering particularly is great on No 3 . . . . believe me, I know.

Hollinwell – Reputedly in the Sunningdale and Huntercombe league. I am ashamed to say I have never played it.

Innerleithen – the first course that Willie designed. It seems uninspiring, but it is a gem all the same if only for the drive in to it. It has a real feel of early golf and an honesty box for the green fee.

Monte Carlo – I am just waiting for the call!

. . . . OK I know there are eight in that list, not three, but there are so many that have been left out, Laurentian in Canada, by Frank Park Glass, Mount Bruno of course and plenty of great work in the US which most GCA correspondents will know much more intimately than I do – it would be great to get bucket list of Park courses going. . . . and get over to play them.

Willie Park Jr. had an insatiable work appetite, tirelessly crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean. Some say he ‘worked himself to death’. Tell us about his last few months in 1925 and where he is buried.

What is impressive about Willie’s career is that having taken such a knock at Huntercombe, his most ambitious project, when it failed financially he reinvented himself. In 1916 he started a new career in America. Arguably there, between 1916 and 1924 he did some of his best work, building on the knowledge gained at Sunningdale, Huntercombe and Hollinwell. Willie and his brothers John and Mungo came together again when Willie started to have trouble keeping up with his own workload in America. John was there already. Eventually Mungo came up from Buenos Aires to help, and in 1924 to take him home.

George Colville the Musselburgh historian was also the local Registrar. He knew the family well and managed to find Willie a place in Craighouse Hospital, where in May 1925 he died. He is buried in St Michael’s churchyard, Inveresk; a granite slab is set into the south wall to mark his family grave. Mungo went back to the USA to finish off work at St Johnsbury, and then down again to Argentina. At some point he moved north again, but in 1935, when his brother John, who had worked with Willie at The Maidstone, died, Mungo too returned home to Musselburgh. He carried out one more commission for the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club at Prestongrange, in 1939.

Let’s go over Maidstone. Two Parks were actively involved in the design and construction of that gem?

The Maidstone is special for me as it kicked off my research into just what it was that my family really did. Willie Jnr and John, according to the Club history, laid out the first holes in 1898. John (Jack) stayed in the US and worked as a professional. Jack had a promising start to his golfing career in Scotland, where he tied in 3rd place with Fernie and Simpson, after Vardon and Herd in the Open at Carnoustie in 1898. In 1899, 1900 and 1901 he was pro at Essex County Country Club, and also assisted Willie jnr at the Maidstone L I, laying out a second 9 holes to their course. Mungo went down to lay out Galveston in the winter of 1899/1900, and then went back to help his older brother Willie jnr with his development at Huntercombe. Willie had just completed Sunningdale the year before. Mungo and Jack were both in Argentina in 1905. Jack was brought in as pro to the Belgrano G C. Both played in the Argentine Open (El Abierto) in 1906 (when they were 4th and 5th respectively) and in 1907 (when they were 1st and 2nd). Jack was also Pro at the Golf Club Argentino in Buenos Aires, and laid out a 9 hole course at Mar del Plata. I think he then went back up to the USA, while Mungo stayed in Argentina. He travelled to New York in 1911, 1912, 1913 (‘Golf Professional, Philadelphia’) and 1915 (‘Golf Pro, Bedford Springs’), and I have his draft card of Sept 1915. Jack returned to the Maidstone, and was certainly the professional there after the Ist World War, until 1924, when he left the club, but stayed in East Hampton L I, with his family until he died, aged 56, in 1936.

Everyone raves about Mt. Bruno and once again, a family member played a crucial role for several decades. Tell us about Frank Glass.

Willie Jnr, in common with many other Musselburgh club makers who worked away from home, sent for a member of his family, or a friend to fill the positions of construction manager and then professional at the courses he designed. Frank Park Glass was the eldest son of Willie Jnr’s younger sister Janet. She had married John McKay Glass, a Golf Club Salesman from Fife in 1890, and by 1901 they were living in Edinburgh. It is possible that John was manager at W Park and Son’s shop in Edinburgh. Frank was born in 1891, their first child. He would have been 28 when Mount Bruno was built in 1919. He is remembered as a dashing young man, very glamorous when he came back to Musselburgh in the 20’s, driving a ‘motor car’, can you imagine!

Having penned The Art of Putting, Willie Park Jr. is seen as an architect that put considerable emphasis on putting, getting the ball into the hole, and therefore green construction. What are three of his best sets of greens?

This is where I have to hand over to GCA members, who know much more about what makes a good green. For me the variety and pleasure that is exhibited at Huntercombe is hard to beat, and of course Sunningdale, but there are some lovely courses like Gullane 2 that have some great greens. I am itching to get onto Olympia Fields and Mount Bruno and many others, where great care is taken to preserve the original quality of the design, and in some instances to return to it.

Of course as we all know, there is no such thing as a 1900 green left in the world. Grass species, green keeping equipment, style of play, errant greens committees, golf equipment changes, all ensure that golf courses evolve and change as managed landscapes, even when we don’t mean them to. To me, from a historical point of view, that seems entirely natural and acceptable, and indeed futile to resist.

The 3rd green at Huntercombe.

What is important I think is that the peculiar quality and character of the course design understands and celebrates the landscape and physical context of its specific location. It seems to me that it is increasingly unacceptable, ecologically and aesthetically, to go in with giant scrapers and shift a lot of muck to turn a piece of medium grade farmland into a moonscape before imposing your own particular design vision onto it.

This, I am glad to say seems to be going out of fashion. . . . . . which brings us onto Mrs Forman’s!

You have been involved in a lengthy fight regarding a new development and its consequences for Mrs. Forman’s green on the Musselburgh links. On December 6th, 2016, the Council reached an unfortunate conclusion. Tell us about your travails.

It is now almost a year since we started to oppose the demolition of Mrs Forman’s pub at Musselburgh and the development of three houses in its garden. Many schemes have come and gone since then, until just before Christmas when the final application came up before the Planning Committee for determination. Mrs Forman’s is not a ‘great’ or dramatic piece of Scottish architecture, but the building is significant through its historical associations with some of the greatest names in the history of golf. It seemed a shame not to make East Lothian Council aware of its importance to many golfers and historians, and to try to save it and its garden wall for future generations. Both have been made famous in paintings and old photographs. If they were lost, we felt that the course and history would be the poorer. This aesthetic view was shared by some GCA correspondents, questioned by others, both with valid arguments.

In the end the main point of opposition was the reciprocal danger that the development in the garden represented, and some other technical problems. To some extent we have been successful; Mrs Forman’s original pub building has been saved (although the developer has demolished the east end of it to gain access to the garden), the garden wall has been saved at its original height and is now protected by condition, along with the hedge, which will we hope protect the site from wayward golf balls. Only one building is now proposed for the garden, although it could reasonably be said to be too large for the site that is left. David Hamilton, Ian Sills of Enjoyleisure and I all spoke at the Planning Committee meeting.

The days of drinks being served through the window behind the 4th green are over; more is the pity.

Neil Laird (www.scottishgolfhistory.com) and I spoke back in April to oppose the change of use from pub to residential, more as a marker than in expectation of success. We came frustratingly close this time to being successful; the committee was split 6 votes ‘for’: 6 votes ‘against’. The Chairman cast his vote in favour of the applicants. As a result we will see what will aesthetically be an undesirable visual intrusion to the historic course and Mrs Forman’s green. More dangerously, I think there is now a risk to the Musselburgh Old Links golf course, as the Planning Authority condition doesn’t seem to understand the risks posed by golf balls or their trajectory. The condition, specifying the height of the hedge, which in the first permission was designed to protect occupants in the garden (i.e. ground level, behind a wall) is maintained at exactly the same height in the latest permission, which proposes a two-storey building with large areas of openable sliding glass doors facing the course, a much bigger target. This is an area of vulnerability which may in the future need to be addressed, either with a high close-meshed net along the boundary or by moving Mrs Forman’s green way back up the course, ruining the hole and its historical significance. It is ironic that the historic golf course, which has been there for many hundreds of years is now put under threat by a modern house built on it boundary. This is not an isolated example, but it does seem counter intuitive.

The battle for Mrs Forman’s is now in the past. Like other recent battles on the national stage, we have to live with the consequences however blind and mis-guided they may be, and make the best of them. My concern now is the risk posed to the course. Musselburgh has suffered since the 1920’s by being considered of diminishing relevance to the golf world; this decision doesn’t seem to buck that trend. At one time in the late nineteenth century Musselburgh was more important than St Andrews. Of course it is not that now, but the course is worth playing, both in its own right and because of its historical importance, and the town would benefit from this being understood, appreciated and supported by the Local Authority.

I haven’t been up to Musselburgh since December, but anyone who wants to play the hole as it has been for 200 years had better get along there. Hickories, for the complete historic experience, can be hired at the starter’s office in the Race Course stable block on the north-west side of the course – enjoy it while you can; I hope it is only the view that will be compromised.

Taken as a group, what do you reckon the Parks would think of the modern game and the evolution of golf course architecture?

Quite honestly I think they would find the modern game completely unrecognisable, but I suspect that they would fairly quickly get the hang of it! There is a pragmatic strand that runs through the Park temperament historically, as far as I have seen it. Although I never met my great-uncle Willie Jnr, I met his brother (my grandfather) and his sister Margaret. Certainly my grandfather, who had gone through the first world war as a stretcher bearer and medical orderly with the Royal Army Medical Corps, must have had seen some awful times, but he never seemed to me anything other than a gentle old man. As a young man he had been involved in golf at an exciting time, and he rode the crest of the Musselburgh wave until it took him to Argentina, where to some extent he mirrored the experience of his father in winning the first and subsequent Open Championships. It must have taken a great leap of faith to go halfway round the world to make your living as a golfer, club maker, teacher and course architect, sometimes in a country where you couldn’t speak the language, but the three brothers John, Mungo and willie Jnr all made a success of that leap, and left their mark.

We have talked about many Parks in this interview – all male and I apologize for that. Tell us about the women!

The women in the Park family should indeed be mentioned as they included some extraordinarily tough and resilient people, and there is a story there that is quite as complex and demanding as that of the men. In the case of the women they had to cope with child-birth and -raising and home management, often far away from their native country, in addition to playing top class golf. My grandmother Grace Park was the first winner of the Argentine Ladies Open in 1904. She won it again in 1909 and 1910. She was winner of the Veteran Ladies Championship at Ranelagh in 1931. Doris, Willie Jnr’s daughter had an exceptional career in national and international golf, and my aunt Catherine (Katie) Park was also an international player, as were her aunts Margaret and Jean, who went down to England to play for Scotland in 1902. Willie Jnr’s second wife Margaret Inglis was a tough business woman in her own right.

Any myths about the Park dynasty that you would like to dispel such as mis-credited courses?

One of the problems of golf history is the large number of children that are named after their fathers or their uncles. In the Park family we have a particular poverty of available names it seems; consequently there is a Willie and a Mungo in both the main golfing generations, and John is also there, though only once as a golfer. Frank too appears twice, but in the second generation he is a Glass. I have read histories that describe Mungo Jnr as going up to help his father, Willie, who was working in North America in 1924. Sadly, he had been dead for 21 years at that time – this was Willie Jnr. This happens, quite understandably fairly frequently, but it is worth watching out for in any of the golfing families. I recently discovered that the two James Hutchisons were in fact three, and this explained a whole chunk of time that had been unaccounted for.

I am sure there are more specific myths of course attribution that need to be dispelled, but much of this has been done elsewhere – see particularly the earlier thread on Willie Park Jnr’s courses on GCA, which I found fascinating and continue to use as reference – so much knowledge in detail out there, and a real generosity in sharing it. Sunningdale Old was at one time credited to Colt, although he publicly denied it, and there are many other courses which are credited to Willie Jnr which may have been initially designed by others and modified later, but that is the nature of golf course architecture. In the UK, Park courses like Sunningdale may well have been modified by Braid or Colt once the Haskell came in (Willie didn’t think it would catch on), but equally Willie almost certainly modified some of Tom Bendelow’s and indeed Seth Raynor’s courses in the USA.

The reworking of golf courses, and the archaeology necessary to unpick them is part of the pleasure and speculation that golf history offers.

What is Willie Park Jr.’s legacy? Does ‘doyen of golf course architects’, as Sir Guy Campbell anointed him, sound about right?

Willie Park Jnr has been described as forming the bridge between the old player / caddy of the money-match days, and the modern business man / golf course architect. In his time he was both, a hustler and a gentleman, as well as being an author and an inventor. His busy work as a designer of courses probably affected his play negatively in the 1890’s when he might have been expected to have seen more success, although his epic match with Harry Vardon in 1899 was described as “the greatest individual golf match we have had in the last quarter of a century”, a record of which, even though he lost to Vardon, he was clearly proud. A cutting from ‘Canadian Golfer’ reporting the match was found in his belongings on his death. He continued to play competitively up until 1910, when his business troubles at Huntercombe began to overwhelm him. The development had been funded to a great extent by himself and his family, but substantial loans were also required to enable houses to be built. These were to provide the added value that he hoped would make the development financially successful. Unfortunately he had not bargained with the difficulties that he would encounter when boring for water, without which there could be no real estate. It was this and the failure of some other clients to pay that overstretched his finances and led him eventually to have to sell the development. It had opened to great praise in the press, but without houses to sell Willie was overstretched and could not sustain his borrowing. The Norwich Union foreclosed on him and later sold the estate to William Morris, Lord Nuffield, the motor car magnate. As in so many cases the second or third owner made a financial success of the development.

His legacy is without doubt his courses. It is interesting to see how many are being brought back to their original designs. Sunningdale Old, Huntercombe, Olympia Fields, the Maidstone, Mount Bruno, Hollinwell, Gullane Nos 2 and 3, Shuttle Meadow and so many others are his legacy. Certainly his creative attitude extended into club making, and his more theoretical reflection led him to write two successful books, but without the more than 200 courses that he worked on, he would be regarded in history as a player, journalist and manufacturer. His courses define him, even more than his two Open wins. . . . and I need to get round to see more of them!

Any particular golf related project you are working on now?

I have been talking to Musselburgh Museum about putting together an exhibition on early golf and the club makers of Musselburgh. It is to be held in the Museum located in the High Street, in Musselburgh, from July to September 2018. I hope it will catch some of those interested in the history of golf who might be staying around Edinburgh and East Lothian on their way up to Carnoustie for the Open.

I have access to plenty of artefacts for display (possibly even an early Open medal or two), but because it is a fairly small local museum, much of the information will need to be provided on boards to fit onto a special hanging system that the museum has devised. Each board, with graphic design costs about £1000, and there is probably room for about six or seven of them, together with the design and print costs of a booklet.

Much as I love golf history, £7 – 8k is rather beyond me and if I need to get it sponsored or pull out in good time. Perhaps a £500 sponsor packages for anyone who is interested, with their logo displayed in the booklet and possibly on one of the boards? I shall try the R & A and USGA, possibly the Society of Hickory Golfers and the BGCS – if anyone has other thoughts for anyone who might be appropriate sponsors they would be most welcome. There are some locally, like Loretto School, and the four golf clubs, Royal Musselburgh, Burgess of Edinburgh, Bruntsfield Links GS and the Hon Company.

I hope I can make this happen as the exhibition will raise the profile of Musselburgh’s golfing past a little, both for those interested in the history of golf and those in the town who are unaware of just how significant it was to the early spread of the game. To me, that’s a worthy cause.