Hoylake Golf Club
Braid (1870 - 1950)
|Born Earlsferry, Scotland,
is remembered as one of golf's original and great champions, course
designers and modernisers.
Braid grew up in Fife - the birthplace of golf. Although his parents
had no enthusiasm for the game, his cousins were top golfers.
His earliest recollection of golf was playing with a child's club
at around the age of 4. Originally trained as a carpenter and
joiner, Braid learned to play a forceful style of golf at Elie
links. Given his modest means, he reconditioned old clubs for
his own use. After all, this was the era of the hickory shafted
club and guttie balls.
In 1893, he was offered the position of club-maker at the Army
and Navy in London which he was delighted to accept. After some
success as an amateur he turned professional in 1896 and worked
as club professional at Romford, Essex. He later moved to Walton
Heath, Surrey and stayed with the club until his death. JH Taylor
described him as "sincere, trustworthy and loyal".
Although Braid's long and short game were excellent, his putting
sometimes left him down. That was largely corrected when he replaced
his wooden putter with a metal headed one. Braid's spectacular
success came at the turn of the century. In 1901 he won his first
Open. Within 10 years he became the first man to win the event
five times. He was runner up three times. Throughout his career,
Braid remained modest and always demonstrated restraint whatever
Besides his success as a golfer, Braid was an excellent course
designer. He used his farming background to ensure that courses
were well laid out and well drained. As a founder member of the
P.G.A and later it's president, he was instrumental in laying
the foundation of today's professional game. In recognition of
his contribution to golf, the R&A honoured him with membership.
Had he played in the modern era, he would be a M.B.E. however
Britain was a different place back then.
Braid was a great pioneer of golf and will be remembered with
great respect and admiration.