1856 Dunbar East Links

Course Start 1856
Initial Holes 15
Date 18 holes 1880
Course management Owned and managed by Dunbar Golf Club
Home Clubs Dunbar Golf Club (1794/1856)
Dunbar Castle Golf Club (1882)

Prior to 1856, golf  at Dunbar was played on the West Links. The East Links began with the revival/beginning of the Dunbar Golf Club on 20th December 1856. The minutes reported that the first course required “clearing of the ground” which, as the club points out, suggests there was no pre-existing course. Fifteen holes were initially laid and to the seaward of the large wall which runs between today's eighteenth and fourth holes. The course became known as Broxmouth Links or East Links.

Dunbar Clubhouse Hole 3

Dunbar Golf Club clubhouse and 3rd Green

Initially, the Dunbar Club used the St Andrews' rules, with the addition clause that any obstruction within twenty yards of the putting hole should be removed. In 1859, they drew up a committee to form their own rules.

The course was extended to 18 holes (4,701 yards) in 1880, going as far as the current 8th green.  In 1883, the club adopted white flags for the outward nine holes and red for the inward holes, following the convention at St Andrews, though there do not appear to have been any ‘double greens’ at Dunbar (which would necessitate their use to indicate which hole on the green you were playing to.)

In 1894 Old Tom Morris altered seven holes and extended the course by 200 yards to today’s 10th green.

In 1905 the land called Deer Park was acquired, on which the present 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 18th holes are situated. This allowed the course to be lengthened to 5,740 yards. The present layout largely dates to 1922-24, when James Braid of Walton Heath and Ben Sayers of North Berwick laid out an extended course of 6,425 yards.

The first official competition was the Warrender medal in April 1857 and was won with 93 strokes. Later in the same year the second major competition was arranged for the Club Medal and won with a score of 91. In the early days, as there was no clubhouse, the competitors afterwards retired to The George Inn in the High Street for dinner. In 1871 the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe gifted a club-house, which still exists as a house on the right of the entrance drive. The present club house was built by the club in 1902, when it was evident they had outgrown the old one.

In 1870, there is a mention of ladies’ golf when an organization was created allowing them to play over 12 holes on a western part of the links. The Dunbar Ladies Golf Club itself was not created until 1894.

Dunbar Hole 07W

Dunbar East Links hole 7 & 14 with Bass Rock in background