Donald Trump makes his way into Scottish golf history


By Christine Lavelle

SOME of the oldest golfing relics on earth are set to be unveiled at an exhibition illustrating 500 years of the sport’s social history.

Over 200 unique artefacts will go on display at the Swing Through Time exhibition coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the Open Golf Championship in St Andrews.

Pieces on show include the earliest known written rules drawn up in 1744 by the world’s oldest golf club, The Company of Gentlemen Golfers, as well as the club’s first ever minute book.

It also includes Donald Trump’s infamous planning application for a huge golf course in the North East of Scotland.

Olive Geddes, chief curator of display at the National Library of Scotland, said she hopes the showcase will pull in both golf enthusiasts and those interested in Scottish history.

She said: “It is not only for golf fans, there are many things here that tell a lot about the history of Scotland.

“The country was very important to the development of the sport; the first club was actually set up in Edinburgh.

“No one knows exactly how the game started, but Scotland has all the right conditions because it is never too hot and if you can believe it, never too cold.”

Mrs Geddes also hopes the exhibition will pull in summer tourists because of the strong association between golf and Scotland.

She said: “Whether you are a golf professional, just learning the ropes or simply keen to find out more about the birthplace of the game, there is something for everybody.”

Many of the artefacts on show are sourced from the Company of Gentlemen Golfers, which asked Edinburgh Town Council to provide them with a silver golf club as a prize for their competitions on Leith Links, effectively asking for sponsorship.

The Council gave them the prize on condition that the golfers organized themselves, resulting in a series of regulations, the original of which will be on display alongside the spectacular Silver Club itself.

Coming almost right up-to-date, the exhibition will also display the planning application sent by Donald Trump.

Olive said she had been sitting on the idea for a while in order to tie the presentation with the anniversary of the Open and also this year’s Ryder cup which takes place in September.

She said: “I’ve wanted to put this together for a while now and I really think this year is the best time for it.

“Some of the pieces are borrowed from clubs around Scotland, but many of the diaries and letters were here already in Edinburgh at the library.”

A Swing Through Time is open to the public from 18 June to 14 November and entry is free.