St Andrews – home of golf

Alexander Monro was Regent at St Andrews University in 1691. He was to become Provost or Principal of St Andrews University.

He sent a gift of 3 golf clubs – 'an play club, ane scraper, and ane tin fac'd club' – to his friend, the lawyer John Mackenzie of Delvine.

The 'metropolis of golfing'

In his accompanying letter Monro states that he knows golfing equipment is available in Edinburgh. However, he considers such a present would be welcome from St Andrews – 'the metropolis of golfing'.

Thriving trade in golf equipment

Monro was concerned his gift of golf clubs and balls might be mistaken for others or counterfeited, and took measures to avoid this.

As he details in his postscript, Mackenzie's initials were stamped on each club, and the tradesman's mark on each club and ball.

Clearly, there was a thriving trade in golf equipment between St Andrews and Edinburgh.

Two golfers on links from a painting.

Golfers on the links at St Andrews

This painting, which shows golfing at St Andrews, may be the earliest picture of the game being played in Britain.

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Part of letter in very clear handwriting.

Students' choice: golf or work?

James Morice was tutor to John Mackenzie's sons at St Andrews University. Here he writes to his employer about the boys.

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Part of sheet of hand-written accounts.

James Morice's accounts

Morice's accounts show that, apart from exam time, Mackenzie's sons were on the links as often as three times a week.

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