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  1. #1

    Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    I’m lucky enough to be playing Muirfield this week. Excited to play my first Open venue and looking forward to the challenge of what is almost universally considered to be a fantastic course.

    In the build-up to this round, I’ve taken an interest the club as well as the course, so steeped in history and fame (or is it infame?). ‘The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers’, as most of you will be aware, owns this exclusive patch of land and exclusive is how they wish to keep it. A multitude of articles are to be found on notable rejections and ejections from the course (perhaps most notably Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw in 1980) which, coupled with the recent controversy over female membership, gives vindication to one headline that this could be ‘the stuffiest golf club in Britain’.

    I’ve also read that Muirfield has modernised. Guests are now welcome and can share the same facilities as members, women CAN now join (though current waiting lists mean several years before this privilege can be exercised) and no longer will an ex-military secretary dress down any guest found to be in breach of… whatever he feels like.

    Contrastingly, after a visit to the club website I found myself scrolling through the list visitor rules. Let’s just say I was scrolling for some time. It is clear that while certain concessions have been made by the honourable company to create a more welcoming experience for guests, the desire to maintain exclusivity couldn’t be clearer. For example our visit will be tightly controlled: we are playing probably the only few tee times in the week available to guest wish to play their own ball (rather than alternate shot), we must only arrive 15 mins before the tee time, we are not allowed access to the bar and lounge, we must maintain pace of play…. It goes on… and on.

    I will reserve judgement on the golfing experience until after I’ve actually had it, in the mean time I’ll continue to mull over the questions rolling around in my head as to whether this ‘traditional’ style of golf is fantastic/desirable/fun or archaic and at odds with inclusivity and spreading the sport.

    I’m sure this topic will divide opinions but interested to hear experiences and views of average golfers like me in situations like this and how you’ve found the experience.
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  2. #2
    Journeyman Pro 2blue's Avatar
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    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    Very interested to hear of your experience....
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  3. #3
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    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    I would say it is absolutely archaic outdated nonsense and something that most clubs should be trying to get away with.....

    However I played it last year in November and it was a fantastic experience and I wouldn't change any of the nonsense (apart from the welcoming ladies etc).... It's almost like entering a time machine and the quirkieness of it I enjoyed- a bit like going on a school trip to a museum where you get to participate.

    Plus I thought the course was fantastic
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  4. #4
    Ryder Cup Winner drive4show's Avatar
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    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    Quote Originally Posted by thesheriff View Post
    we must only arrive 15 mins before the tee time, we are not allowed access to the bar and lounge
    I read through the visitor notes and didn't see any of this, I must have missed it.

    When I played there in a party of 12 we were made to feel very welcome and we had full access to the bar, lounge and dining room, obviously wearing J&T!

  5. #5
    Ryder Cup Winner patricks148's Avatar
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    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    played there quite a few times and what ever you may think of the club and how they sometimes treat visitors, its still a fantastic course.

    playing with a member is totally different experience to just a fee paying visitor from my experience anyway...

    Enjoy

  6. #6
    Money List Winner FairwayDodger's Avatar
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    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    Played there a few years ago with some from the forum and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Of all the "men only" clubs I've played I found it by far the most welcoming.

  7. #7
    Ryder Cup Winner
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    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    I played it as a visitor a few years ago and I found the visitor experience excellent. In comparison to some of the other open venues which are very good I thought the staff etc at Muirfield were top notch and a step above the likes of Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham and if im honest the only staff to be equally as good or better than Muirfield was Turnberry.

    Still one of my favourite places to play golf.

  8. #8

    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    Quote Originally Posted by drive4show View Post
    I read through the visitor notes and didn't see any of this, I must have missed it.

    When I played there in a party of 12 we were made to feel very welcome and we had full access to the bar, lounge and dining room, obviously wearing J&T!
    Yes these are rules for our outing and don't apply to normal guests.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    I was told by a guy I recently played with at the wisley, that he was invited to play at Muirfeild at the weekend and topped his tee shot on the 1st, he was promptly followed down the 1st fairway by the starter. He then topped is 2nd, thinned his 3rd, at which point the person who invited him to play said you need to start playing or we are walking in. He then apparently holed his 4th from the fairway, at which point he went to turn round to the starter and the starter had already gone.

    Don't know if it was true, no reason not to believe him, but made us chuckle.

    Never played there, but jealous of you, hope you have a good day there, enjoy.

  10. #10
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    Re: Muirfield - 'Open' to all?

    £225 to be told to leave after 1 hole.
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