musselburgh golf ball box

A golf ball box from the late 1890s, embossed in high relief for “The Musselburgh” gutty golf ball, endorsed by Harry Vardon. The corners of the box feature anchors and mussel shells, the Arms of the Burgh, which is located on the shore of the Firth of Forth in East Lothian, Scotland, about five miles east of Edinburgh city center.  

The course existed long before documentary evidence dated 1672; Mary Queen of Scots reputedly having played on or nearby the course in 1567. 

The Musselburgh Club first played for its Silver Cup in 1774. It held the “Fish Ladies” golf competition on New Years Day in 1811. From about 1830, Musselburgh Links became the home of four of the six earliest golfing societies – Royal Burgess, Bruntsfield, and the Honourable Company joining Musselburgh.  Bruntsfield and the Honourable Company were both formerly in Edinburgh. They left to join the Musselburgh Club at the more convenient Musselburgh links. The course hosted six “Opens” between 1874 and 1889 before the Honourable Company left for Muirfield in 1892.  

The original course of seven holes was expanded to eight in 1832 and at nine holes is still played today. Most of those holes lie within the infield of an active horse racetrack established in 1816.