Leith Links: Statue funds hit £35k

2016 08 Leith Links
• Leith Rules Golf Society aiming to erect statue of John Rattray
• The society has raised £35,000 of its target £50,000 so far
• It is hoping the statue will attract visitors to the links


An Edinburgh-based golf society has revealed it is getting close to raising the £50,000 required to commemorate the signing of golf’s first official rules at Leith Links.

Dubbed ‘The Rattray Project’, Leith Rules Golf Society is attempting to raise the money to erect a statue of John Rattray, the former captain of the Company of Gentleman Golfers, on the old Leith Links course.

A qualified surgeon and skilful golfer, Rattray won the first competition organised by the Company of Gentleman Golfers, now known as the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, over Leith Links.

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Rattray’s prize for his Leith Links success saw him become the company’s ‘Captain of Golf’ for a year. In that capacity, he signed the first recorded rules of golf for a competition in 1744 with the city of Edinburgh supplying a ‘Silver Club’ for golfers to play for.

In 1754, those rules were passed on to the ‘Noblemen and Gentleman Golfers of Fife’, who went on to become the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.


Leith Links plaque

Pic credit: scottishgolfhistory.org

Keen to pay homage to Rattray and his influence on the game, Brian Graham, the secretary of Leith Rules Golf Society, believes the statue will give Leith Links its deserved place in golfing history.

“We started this project around five years ago to get recognition for Leith Links as the home of the rules,” Graham told bunkered.co.uk. “We’ve had to overcome a few complications to get to this stage, but we’ve managed to raise £35,000 of our target so far.

“We’ve continued to move through the process at a steady rate due to the fundraising. We’re now at the stage of making the moulds the statue will be cast from and raising the remaining £15,000 will allow us to complete the statue.”

"We think it will be of interest to the millions of golfers around the world and especially to those who are visiting Edinburgh."

The complications mentioned by Graham were caused by the protection of Leith Links by an act of parliament. As a result, the Leith Rules Golf Society had to request special permission from the Scottish Government before going ahead with plans for the statue on the east side of the links at Links Place.

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Leith Rules Golf

With planning permission now granted and the moulds in progress, Graham is hoping the statue will soon become an attraction for visitors from around the world.

He added: “We have a lot of tourist buses that come down to Leith, so we’re hoping to make this statue part of the route once it is in place. We think it will be of interest to the millions of golfers around the world and especially to those who are visiting Edinburgh."

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With regards to Leith Links, the five-hole layout is no longer in tact with golf not having been played regularly on the land for nearly 100 years.

The land is now better recognised as a park for the people of the city to use but, one week a year, Leith Rules Golf Society is able to play a hickory tournament across an improvised five-hole layout.

Leith Links: How to donate to 'The Rattray Project'

Click here to find out more about 'The Rattray Project' at Leith Links or click here to make a donation.

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