After a round at Gullane Golf Club, stop into Archie Baird's Heritage of Golf Museum

GULLANE, Scotland -- The long history of golf has its grey areas, but stop into the Heritage of Golf Museum after a round at Gullane Golf Club and local legend Archie Baird will serve it up in a single, concise, black-and-white tour.

Gullane is mostly known for its three golf courses in East Lothian, including Gullane No. 1, the club's most famous and an Open Qualifying venue among some of the country's other prestigious events.

But before or after your round, be sure to see Archie. With a few days notice, Baird will offer free tours of his Heritage of Golf museum right next to Gullane's pro shop. Here, Baird shows off his extensive collection of artwork, memorabilia and equipment, including some bizarre old clubs.

"I especially enjoy showing Americans this one," he says with a grin. It's an old, hickory iron designed by an American that has a wooden face attached to the iron head. "They thought that it was the wood that made the ball go far, so they put wood over the face of the iron, bless them."

The tour starts at the beginning of golf history, dating back into the 1300s. Though the game's origins are debated by many, Baird has plenty of proof the game was played by the Dutch on ice, including paintings of men playing to a stick on ice, as well as some young Dutch children in formal portraits holding ancient tools, resembling the game's first clubs.

In a painting from 1668, you'll notice Dutch men now joined by men in kilts. Those are Scots, who would sell wool to the Dutch in the winter and would sometimes stay for days or months if the weather was unfavorable to return home.

Baird especially enjoys talking about the golf ball, which went from an expensive, feather-core ball to a cheaper, more mass-produced ball made of a black, gum-like Gutta-Percha, just after 1850. This allowed the number of golf clubs in the world to go from just a handful to thousands by 1900.

The tour ends rather abruptly, as Baird notes:

"Then the modern, rubber-core ball came along in the 1920s, courses had to adapt to it, and I lost interest. Any questions?"

That's not entirely true. Baird still plays the game regularly, often at Gullane, especially enjoying the shorter Gullane No. 3 course, designed by Harry Colt in 1910.

For more information, see

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
Related Links
From East Lothian's historic coastal towns of Musselburgh to Dunbar, you're never far from a fabulous links golf course, not to mention a complementary 19th hole nearby. Here are some of East Lothian's best 19th holes ...
2 Min Read
Yes, it's home to Muirfield. But East Lothian locals adore a more understated, classic links in Aberlady: charming Kilspindie Golf Club. The club stakes its claim as the world's 35th oldest, having been founded in 1867. The opening stretch of holes at Kilspindie is as good as it gets in East Lothian.
3 Min Read
Scotland's East Lothian region is Edinburgh's golfing coast. It is just a few miles east of the capital city and is home to more than 20 courses, including the Old Links at Musselburgh, the very influential North Berwick Golf Club, Gullane, Dunbar Golf Club, Kilspindie, Craigielaw and more. Here's a look at some of the area's top golf courses in pictures.
13 Images
More from the author
4 Min Read
September 10, 2021
Pete Dye's golf course designs set the bar for innovation, creativity and challenge. We've compiled his top courses as rated on Golf Advisor by regular golfers like you.
4 Min Read
September 7, 2021
A recent visit to a trio of Midwest courses was a reminder that there's a lot to love about playing golf on campus.
3 Min Read
August 27, 2021
USA and Europe's finest women prepare to face off on a Donald Ross Midwestern classic. Here's a hole-by-hole guide to venerable Inverness.
9 Min Read
August 26, 2021
Who should you tip and how much? From caddies to bag boys to locker room attendants, here's how much cash you should bring to the club.
6 Min Read
August 24, 2021
Garmin's new golf product in 2021 features 14 swing metrics recorded, plus the option for video in a portable device.
5 Min Read
August 6, 2021
The experience at the newest golf course in Michigan is unlike anything you'll play in the Jack Nicklaus portfolio.
21 Images
August 31, 2021
Flowers, castles and sunsets highlight the best photos from our users in the last hurrah of summer.
4 Min Read
September 1, 2021
While the boom has been great for the industry, it's been tougher on golfers looking for tee times.
1 Min Read
September 17, 2021
R.I.P. to a legend.
3 Min Read
August 19, 2021
Two recent sales of golf courses will eventually lead to the development of solar farms, continuing a concerning trend for golfers.
Load More
Now Reading
After a round at Gullane Golf Club, stop into Archie Baird's Heritage of Golf Museum