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Royal Musselburgh

This club is famous for… a very, very, old trophy

Captain Cook was sailing the high seas and King George III was on the throne when Royal Musselburgh members started playing for this cup.
 

We all know the world’s oldest major is the Open.

Prestwick’s website would probably be a bit sparser without that fact and there’s even a clothing range to celebrate it.

But even though the prestigious championship has been going since 1860, it’s a mere pup when compared with the Old Club Cup at Royal Musselburgh.

You’ll often see a bit of creative licence used to jazz up something that isn’t really worth the name.

That’s not the case here. The Old Club Cup is, well, old. Very old.

Royal MusselburghIt’s so old that Captain Cook was sailing the seas, a revision of the laws of cricket had introduced the leg-before-wicket rule and King George III was on the throne when it was first played for.

“The history of the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club dates to 1774 at least,” boasts Royal Musselburgh’s website, “as their Old Club Cup has winners listed back to that year.”

It’s the oldest trophy still competitively played for in the world and was presented to the club by the first winner – Thomas McMillan, of Shortthorpe. He subsequently became captain.

Early victors were ‘characters’.

The Reverend ‘Jupiter’ Carlyle, the second winner in 1775, was moderator of the Church of Scotland.

Outside of being censured for his behaviour – “on several occasions” according to Royal Musselburgh’s website – he is said to have performed the world’s first recorded golf trick shot in London in 1758.

For the first 150 years of their life, Royal Musselburgh played over the Old Course in the town. They gained royal patronage from the Duke of Connaught in 1876.

They now play down the road at Prestonpans, having moved there to a James Braid design in 1926, and lease their grounds from the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation.

Click here for the full ‘This Club Is Famous For’ archive

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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