|Related Links: 2013 Open Championship Coverage|
This week, Muirfield Golf Course which is hosting its 16th Open Championship, is one of the most historic courses in the world. Thus, it doesn’t always meet your expectations of a modern-day golf course. But there’s a reason it’s one of the select few courses with the honor of hosting the golf’s oldest tournament.
Here are five fun facts about Muirfield:
1) The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers is based at Muirfield, and claims to be the oldest golf club in the world. Its records go back to 1744, when some members – then known as the “Gentlemen Golfers of Leith” – wrote up the 13 rules of golf. Those standards were later adopted by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which took over the role of administering the rules in 1897.
2) We’re all accustomed to professional golf tournaments being played out over 72 holes – four rounds of 18 holes. That practice began at Muirfield in 1892, the first time the course hosted the Open Championship. The tournament was won by amateur Harold Hilton.
3) Most links courses abide by a layout of nine holes out from the clubhouse and nine holes back in. Not Muirfield. It was the first of its kind to be designed in a loop. The first nine holes run clockwise to encircle the entire Muirfield property. The back nine holes then play out, for the most part, in a counterclockwise loop inside the larger loop of the front nine. And the 18th green ends up right back near the first tee. This layout guarantees that that the wind, which is plentiful coming off the nearby North Sea, affects shots differently on every hole.
4) When members play the course, games of fourball – the most common type of golf, which involves a group of four players, who each hit their own ball every time – are allowed only in the morning. The afternoon features “foursomes,” which at Muirfield means a group of four takes on the course together, but in teams of two. And the two players on a team alternate taking shots.
5) There have only been two holes in one during an Open Championship at Muirfield. The first ace was sunk by Billy Andrade in 1987, and the second by Paul McGinley in 1992. Both came on the par-3 seventh hole, which is 185 yards.