In the middle ages the village of Aberlady was a harbor for Fishing, Sealing and Whaling. Set back from the coarse sand and black rocks, sits a renovated 1600’s inn decorated with flags from courses around the world. Upon entering Duck’s, the inn’s hard wooden floors, sofas and panelled walls usher guests through the lounge, where they are welcomed by the selection of whisky and cigars.
Duck’s Inn is a place I have visited many times while playing courses on Scotland’s Golf Coast. A club throw away lie gems such as Kilspindie, Luffness and Gullane. As well as the cradle of golf – Musselburgh. Bigger names like Muirfield, The Renaissance and Archerfield may tempt those looking for a more prestigious experience. Either way, golfers are spoilt for choice in this region. And Malcom Duck’s Inn offers a perfectly placed hub from which to sample some of the most historic and revered links courses on the planet.
After two or even three games in a day, a post round pint or a sip of local peaty whisky is more than welcome. Often served up by the Duck himself, with welcoming eccentricity. Duck’s is fuelled by golf, a few whiskys or a bottle of vintage wine later and you'll find yourself perched atop a bar stool gripping a hickory putter. Attempting to chip a ball off the stool and up the seesaw ramp is a shot that seems impossible at first, but you soon get the read. Getting the weight right for it to stop at the top is the mean feat. A ‘wall of fame’ adorning the lounge has some heavy hitting names scrawled onto it, they are safe from being tarnished with mine, for now.
Aberlady’s medieval harbour and its fishermen are now long gone, but its banks and dunes still offer bait for a different kind of species: the golfer. Shale-lined beaches merge into sandy undulating links turf that make up some of the best golf courses in the world. A visit to East Lothian would not be complete without the Duck’s experience; Malcolm shares the passion we do for the game and its history, welcoming weary wanderers to the hallowed grounds of golf’s birthplace.
Words & Photography By Ollie Allison