The first golf international

Scotland v England

What is dubbed the 'first golf international', involving Scotland versus England, is said to have taken place on Leith Links, near Edinburgh, in 1681.

James Duke of York challenged to a game 2 English nobles who claimed golf was an English sport. The Duke chose as his partner John Paterson, an Edinburgh cobbler and local golf champion.

Duke of York's golf equipment

John Werden, the Duke's Secretary, kept a pocket book when he came to Scotland in 1679-1681.

This includes accounts for expensive golf clubs and balls bought for the Duke, confirming that he played golf in Scotland.

Featherie balls

The balls John Werden bought were almost certainly featherie balls made from pieces of leather stitched together and stuffed with goose feathers.

Featherie balls were made in Scotland from at least 1554, when they were the subject of a dispute between Edinburgh and Leith tradesmen.

Part of a drawing of Edinburgh from across the water with hand-scripted notes

Edinburgh from the Firth of Forth

A pen and ink drawing of Edinburgh from the Firth of Forth from the pocket book of James Werden, the Duke of York's secretary.

Full drawing of Edinburgh >

Part of a coat of arms with arm holding up golf club

Coat of arms from 'Golfer's Land'

James Paterson bought a house in Edinburgh with his golf winnings. The Duke of York placed this plaque on the wall.

Full coat of arms image >