About The Edinburgh Academical Golf Club
Perhaps the finest Accies golfer of them all… J H Lorimer’s portrait of the great F G ‘Freddie’ Tait with his terrier ‘Nails’ and a young caddy.
Reproduced by kind permission of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
On 20th December 1900 twenty eight distinguished Academicals met at Dowells Rooms, 18 George Street, Edinburgh, to resolve that an Academical Golf Club be constituted in terms of a draft constitution which was approved. That evening, the first captain was voted in, none other than the legendary L M Balfour-Melville. The list of his sporting achievements is one of the greatest in the annals of Scottish sport: a triple internationalist, playing rugby, cricket and golf for Scotland (the Amateur Champion in 1895 at St Andrews and runner up in 1889); the captain of the Honourable Company and the R&A, president of the Grange Cricket Club, the Scottish Rugby Union and the Scottish Cricket Union; the Scottish long jump champion; the Scottish lawn tennis champion; and to top it off the Scottish billiards champion! In his spare time he practiced law.
Balfour-Melville was the first of many distinguished Academicals who came to dominate the wonderful game of golf in the amateur days of the mid to late 1800s. Others included Sir W Maitland-Heriot (who won the King William Medal at St Andrews in 1860 after pulling the stroke oar in the local lifeboat for five and a half hours in a gale), F R Charteris the 10th Earl of Wemyss (when 87 he partnered Harry Vardon in a match at Kilspindie – the venerable Earl, after playing his ball, mounted a pony and rode to the next shot), Dr W C Reid, A F Macfie, A Stuart and T Mansfield Hunter.
Perhaps the finest and most charismatic Academical golfer of them all was Lieutenant F G ‘Freddie’ Tait. Tait was twice Amateur Champion in 1896 (Royal St George’s) and 1898 (Hoylake) and runner-up in 1899 and competed in eight Open Championships, finishing third in 1896 and 1897. He was arguably the most famous golfer of his generation, much loved by all who knew him and was a keen supporter of The Edinburgh Academy and his fellow Academicals in all golfing matters. He was tragically killed in action in South Africa leading his men of The Black Watch in action against the Boers at Koodoosberg Drift on 3rd February 1900, aged only 30. It was a mark of the man that his fellow R&A members commissioned J H Lorimer to paint his portrait (alongside his beloved terrier ‘Nails’ and a young caddie) which hangs in the R&A clubhouse to this day. Many of Tait’s medals and other memorabilia can be found in the clubhouse of Luffness New Golf Club of which he was a founding member. The Club is very grateful to The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews for granting permission to use J H Lorimer’s portrait of Tait on our website and further details about the life and times of the great man can be found by reading J L Low’s fascinating biography of 1900, ‘F. G. Tait, A Record; Being his Life, Letters, and Golfing Diary’.
F G ‘Freddie’ Tait (left) with S M Fergusson after winning the Amateur Championship, Hoylake 1898.
The Club exists today to foster the enjoyment and camaraderie of playing golf on top class courses in competition with fellow Academicals. The membership is growing and the benefits of being a member not only include playing in competitions, but also meeting and socialising with other members, thus opening doors to play courses throughout the UK and abroad.
We play competitive matches against other FP clubs particularly in The Halford Hewitt, The Grafton Morrish, The Cyril Gray and The Queen Elizabeth Coronation Trophy. There is a thriving under-30s section and also several opportunities for over-50s to play competitive golf.
Halford Hewitt winning team 2003
Back row l-r: Iain MacDonald, Ollie Lindsay, Mike McPhee, Charlie Maran, Michael Gray
Front row l-r: David Simson, Steve Malcolm, Ken Hannah, John Lang (Captain), Iain Smith, Chris Tugwell
The Club won The Halford Hewitt in 2003 (beating Charterhouse in the final), the highlight of our 100-plus year history and also The Cyril Gray in 2004. More recently, we won The Prince’s Plate at The Halford Hewitt in 2014 (beating Ampleforth in the final).
The Club also has a stated goal of encouraging and supporting the coaching and playing of golf at The Edinburgh Academy in order to ensure that EAGC continues to thrive for the next 100 years.
If you are an Academical and are keen on your golf, please don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking here
The Club wishes to acknowledge Ian Whyte’s excellent and authoritative book, ‘A Century of Edinburgh Academical Golf' (2002), as an essential source of reference material for the above abbreviated history of the Club.
Historical Timeline – The Edinburgh Academical Golf Club
|1885||A F Macfie (founding member of EAGC) wins the first Amateur Championship (Hoylake)|
|1900||Club was formally constituted by 28 Academicals|
Design for two gold medals being for the scratch winners at the Spring and Autumn Meetings were approved and made by Hamilton & Inches at a cost of £8 10s each
First ever EAGC competition held (Spring Meeting)
First match played vs. The Fettesian-Lorettonian Club
First EAGC AGM held
|1904||First Hole and Hole competition held|
Life Members first admitted
Silver Medals purchase for competitions ‘under handicap’ at the Spring and Autumn Meetings; and a silver cup for the Hole & Hole Competition
|1914||Balance of Club funds £46.10s.8d, the membership 170 and ‘the Club in great heart.’|
|1920||First EAGC Committee Meeting takes place since The Great War|
EAGC joins the Lothians Golf Association
Two Academicals, W J Guild and S A O Shepherd make the final of the Scottish Amateur Championship
|1933||1933 Scottish Wayfarers created by 6 Scottish schools (EA, Fettes, Merchiston, Loretto, Glenalmond & Strathallan) to cover many sports, including golf|
|1946||First match played vs. The Watsonian Golf Club|
|1947||First match played vs. Melville College FP Golf Club|
|1948||First Annual Dinner held at The Royal British Hotel|
EAGC wins The Dispatch Trophy
Jubilee Cup (scratch) & Bowl (handicap) played for the first time at the Summer Meeting
|1954||First match played vs. The Merchistonian Golf Club|
J M Croall awarded a special prize for hitting his ball clean through the Luffness New dining room window at the Autumn Meeting - his first Club outing!
R F Galloway breaks the amateur record for the Old Course scoring 70 in his first round at The Open Championship
|1958||First match played vs. The Strathallian Golf Club|
|1961||C G ‘Buster’ Wallace presents a trophy to the Club for the player with the best aggregate handicap scores over the Spring and Autumn Meetings|
|1964||EAGC lose to Dollar Academicals in the final of The Queen Elizabeth Coronation Trophy|
|1965||The Winter Foursomes Cup, named after Drummond Stevenson, played for the first time|
|1967||First match played vs. George Heriot’s FP Golf Club|
Past Captains present a new trophy to the Club called the ‘Captains’ Salver’ to be presented annually to the Club Champion.
|1983||Stenhouse Quaich golf trophy bought to celebrate 50th anniversary of the Scottish Wayfarers. It's now been played for 40 years over a weekend of 72 holes of foursomes team golf in March at Elie.|
|1984||First match played vs. The Old Sedberghian Golf Club|
|1995||EAGC wins The Stenhouse Quaich|
EAGC lose to Uppingham in the final of The Queen Elizabeth Coronation Trophy
EAGC wins The Stenhouse Quaich
|2003||EAGC wins The Halford Hewitt at Deal, beating Charterhouse in the final|
|2004||EAGC wins The Cyril Gray|
|2019||EAGC wins The Stenhouse Quaich|
|2021||EAGC wins The Cyril Gray|
Iain Smith (right) - 2015 Club Champion. Trophy presented by Jason Parrott
Recent Club Champions
Recent Club Captains
|2017-19||B.J. Hay Smith|