Golf is recorded in Dunbar as far back as almost 400 years. In 1617, just a few miles west of the town, one of the very earliest of golf references shows “gouffers” breaking the Sabbath laws and being reprimanded by The Kirk.
In 1794 the first golfing organization is recorded when a body known as The Dunbar Golfing Society set down its rules and listed 27 members. This Society played at West Barns Links (near today’s East Links Family Park). A framed copy of the rules hangs at Dunbar Golf Club clubhouse today. Sadly no further record of them survives and soon afterwards the West Barns Links were taken over for Napoleonic military training and exercises.
In the ornate script of John Jaffray, the first Club minute records that on Saturday, December 20 1856, having hired the Town Hall at a cost of one shilling, six gentlemen formed the Club. A military captain, George Warrender of Lochend, aged 31, chaired the founder members; George later became the 7th Baronet of Bruntsfield. The other five founders were Captain James Cox of the Berwickshire militia, Lt. John Stewart, William Anderson, James Brand and Jaffray. The prevalence of these military titles is unsurprising; Dunbar was then a major garrison town.