The Evolution of Turnhouse Golf Club
Turnhouse Golf Course came into being in 1897, initially only extending to nine holes, when members of Lothian golf club (established 1893) became dissatisfied of sharing Musselburgh Links with other non-course owning Clubs. Recognising the value for ease of access of a recently built Railway halt in those days of largely horse-drawn transport, they leased land from the tenant of Turnhouse farm.
The venture was so successful in attracting more members that in 1898 the land now occupied by the car park and Clubhouse was bought, and what later became the greenkeepers’ buildings were used used as a temporary clubhouse where tea ‘in the large upper room’ could be had ‘for sixpence plain, with cold meat, one shilling.’. Work to extend the course to eighteen holes was completed by June 1900.
The Club continued to be known as Lothian Golf Club until April 27th 1909 when it was incorporated and renamed Turnhouse Golf Club Ltd.
In those early days, golf courses were shaped by natural terrain and while links courses had sand bunkers, inland courses relied on gorse, whin and dry stone walls for hazards. At Turnhouse there is a record of turf dykes about three feet high being built forty or fifty yards from the tee across some fairways and in January 1908 an instruction was issued to remove steps over the walls and have gaps made in their place. Gradually however, sand bunkers were introduced and when James Braid redesigned the course in 1927, his strong preference for strategically placed bunkers heralded the end of walls as hazards. The course was reshaped and lengthened in 1950 when the current 7th and 8th holes were added. It is now a par 69 with a standard scratch rating of 70 over 6060 yards. Set across Lennie Hill, the course offers a magnificent 360 degree sweep of views to the mountains of the Highlands in the north, the River Forth in the east, the Pentland Hills in the south and the now grass covered shale bings of Broxburn in the west.
The Clubhouse now offers a much wider and more appealing fare than tea , bread and cold meat, but alas the cost is now more than a shilling!