Edinburgh Recollections





Ian Thomson

Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Ian Thomson, now living at Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia for sending me his recollections of golf in Edinburgh.

Ian wrote:


"RecentlyI read in 'The Scotsman' how it cost £23 for a game of golf at The Braids, week end charge.  This had me thinking back to carefree days of the 1950s."


"Armed with a Corporation Pass, £3 3s 0d for the season, I played the courses at:

Carrick Knowe

-  Silverknowes, and especially

-  The Braids, No 1 and No 2 courses.

I lived at Viewforth, so it was a big rush back from the plumbing business, then on my Norman motor bike, left handed clubs slung over my shoulders, and up to The Braids via Morningside Station and the back road."

Braids No 2

"I remember Summer evenings on The Braids No 2 coarse.  Hidden greens, sloping hills and whin bushes were a real challenge but always had time to take in the magnificent view back to Edinburgh.

Some evenings, I came to the 18th in the gloaming.  You could hardly see the ball.  If I broke 90, I was pleased."


"Swanston  was another favourite course.  I wonder if readers remember the old lady who lived in a cottage adjacent to the 1st tee who took your green fees, a few shillings then.

The coarse was built on the slopes of the Pentland Hills, so one leg shorter than the other was handy.  I don't know how many times I would hit a fine iron, only to see it hit a sheep."

Return to Edinburgh

"On my holiday trips, back to Edinburgh,  my son and I would play the Edinburgh courses.  I've fond memories of Murrayfield and Lothianburn.  I could beat the young fella until he turned 14, then he started to hit the ball a mile.  He now plays off 4 and I'm down to playing bowls."

Ian Thomson, Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia:  December 11 2009



Peter Sellar

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Thank you to Peter Sellar who replied to one of the questions asked by Ian Thomson above.  Peter is formerly from Edinburgh but emigrated to Canada in 1960.  He now lives there with his wife, both in their eighties.

Peter wrote:


"I just read a blog about golf.  Ian Thomson, above, was reminiscing how he used to play up at the Braids and Swanston and he was asking if anyone knew the name of the lady who lived in the small cottage at the first tee at Swanston and collected the green fees.

Her name was Mrs More.  She also ran the small Café, and her husband was the greenskeeper.

Miss Carswell

The old Swanston course was owned by an old girl called Miss Carswell who was often seen strolling the course.  She  always vowed that, as long as she was alive, the course would be kept at the artisan level, and it was.

In 1960, my yearly fee at Swanston was £5,  an with an extra two and sixpence if you wanted a locker.  We spent many happy days playing the course."

Return Visit

"We were visiting Edinburgh last year and took a run up to see the old course.  It's a changed place now, with a large new posh clubhouse

I feel they have desecrated the course by taking away the top section and putting in 9 new holes near the Lothianburn Course."

Peter Sellar, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada:   May 17 + 27, 2010




Ian Thomson

Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Ian Thomson who replied

Swanston in the 1950s

"It was good to read Peter Sellar's comments above.  The name 'Old Mrs More' rang a bell with me.  She was a lovely lady.

As Peter says, the coarse is not the same now.  The top section was easily the best.  Many a day, I would plank myself down on the grass to take in the view and have a breather.

There was a par 3 at the top where you had to hit your iron off the tee to the green down below.  Over-hit and you were in big trouble.  This was one of my favourites but there was many elevated tees on the coarse."


"I, too, migrated in 1960 to Australia by P&O.  It took 5 weeks and cost 10 quid.  I never regretted it."

Ian Thomson, Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia:  May 28, 2010



Maurice McIlwrick

North Gyle, Edinburgh

Maurice McIlwrick has already sent details of Baird Drive and a photo of Roseburn School to the EdinPhoto web site.

He has also been researching the history of golf courses in West Edinburgh, and recently published a book on this topic.

Maurice wrote:

Golf in West Edinburgh

    The Golf Courses of West Edinburgh  -  Book published by Maurice McIlwrick ©

"I've just published a book on the Golf Courses of West Edinburgh.  The book covers 37 courses that have existed over the years, so it may act as a source book for those interested in the history of golf.

It was a private publication via the web printer 'ASK'.  I've printed 350 copies as a starter.  I am selling through the 20 established golf clubs that are still in West Edinburgh."

Maurice McIlwrick, North Gyle, Edinburgh:  October 4, 2011



Maurice McIlwrick

North Gyle, Edinburgh

Thank you to Maurice McIlwrick for writing again about the book mentioned in in Recollections 4 above.

Maurice wrote:

Golf in West Edinburgh

    The Golf Courses of West Edinburgh  -  Book published by Maurice McIlwrick ©

37 Golf Courses

"In my book, I tried to cover all the courses west of a north-south line through Edinburgh Castle.  I went out as far as Linlithgow.

In that area I found 37 places that had been used for golfI cover a short history plus any unusual features on the courses. However once published I found that folk knew of other places I had missed!"


"I wonder if any of the EdinPhoto viewers can tell me anything more about the golf courses below:

1.    Craigiehall:  This is where the Army are at present.  Apparently this was once a Riverside Golf & Country Park.  It was the first of its kind.

2.    Blackford Brae Golf Club:  There used to be a golf club somewhere near the pond  This is possibly outside my area at present.

3.    Bloomsbury Golf Club:  This was on the north side of Canaan Lane. In my book, I called it Canaan Lane or Astley Ainsley.

4.    Craiglockhart Hydropathic:  They built a 9 hole course here.  It was eventually incorporated in The Merchants' Golf Club.

5.    Craighouse:  There also appears to have been a short course here.

Any further information would be appreciated."

New Edition

"I have sold almost all the copies of my book and am now considering a new edition, perhaps covering the whole of Edinburgh and out as far as Musselburgh

Maurice McIlwrick, North Gyle, Edinburgh:  April 9, 2012

Reply to Maurice?

If you'd like to send a reply to any of the questions that Maurice asks above, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.    Thank you.

Maurice McIlwrick, North Gyle, Edinburgh:  April 9, 2012




Maurice McIlwrick

North Gyle, Edinburgh

McIlwrick McIlwrick has written again, with a couple more questions about golf courses in and around Edinburgh.  I hope that somebody will be able to provide answers to some of his questions.

Maurice wrote:

Question 1

Golf Course at Morningside

"Is anybody able to help regarding a golf course in Morningside area, somewhere in the region of Nile Grove / Blackford.

It may have had the name Bloomsbury Golf Club, Blackford Brae, Canaan Lane or even The Ladies Golf Club as I believe it was exclusively for ladies.

It possibly disappeared due to the development of housing in the area at the time of World War I."

Maurice added:

Question 2

Other Golf Courses

    Book jacket for Maurice McIlwrick's book, 'Golf in West Edinburgh' ©

"In my book, 'Golf in West Edinburgh', I tried to cover all the courses, past and present in an area going out as far as Pumpherston  / Linlithgow

I'm now contemplating either extending the book to cover all of  Edinburgh or issuing a new book for the East of Edinburgh.

Does anybody have any information dealing with the history or unusual features of any of the golf courses in and around Edinburgh?   If so, I would be interested to hear about it.

I found 37 for the West, but needless to say another five have since come to light in the area that I covered, so Iwant to be sure this time to cover them all if possible."

Maurice McIlwrick, North Gyle, Edinburgh: August 8, 2012

If you would like to contact Malcolm in connection with either of the questions that he asks above, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on your message to him.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  September 24, 2012




Ian Taylor

South Glasgow, Scotland

Thank you to Ian Taylor for sending a reply to Question 1 above.

Ian wrote:

Golf Course at Morningside

"The golf course Maurice refers to is probably the one marked on the Edinburgh and Leith map of 1915, south section, directly across Cluny Gardens from Blackford pond, beyond the western end of Mortonhall Road.

This land is now occupied by an extension of the Astley Ainslie hospital, something to do with the ever mushrooming Napier University."

Ian Taylor, South Glasgow, Scotland:  September 24, 2012



Maurice McIlwrick

North Gyle, Edinburgh

Maurice McIlwrick replied

Golf Course at Morningside

"Ian Taylor is right about the location of the course at Morningside.  I had also looked at the old map, but I would still like to know what the ladies called their club, if indeed it was limited to ladies."

Maurice McIlwrick, North Gyle, Edinburgh: September 24, 2012


Edinburgh Recollections - Golf

Edinburgh Recollections