JAMES BRAID (1870 – 1950)

Born in Earlsferry in Fife in 1870, Braid was playing golf from the age of 5, becoming something of a local phenomenon from the age of 9….much like Tiger Woods. He left school at 13 to become an apprentice joiner, moving to London in 1893 to become the club-maker for the Army and Navy Store. At weekends he was Assistant Professional at Hastings Golf Club. At the age of 26 he was appointed Professional at Romford, moving to be the first Professional at Walton Heath, when it opened in 1904, where he remained till he died in 1950

Braid was an extremely long and accurate driver, whose average driving distance with a hickory shafted driver and a Haskell ball compared favourably with today’s golfers…stood at over 280 yards.


As a tournament professional, Braid won the Open on five occasions, as well as several other competitions. Along with Harry Vardon and James Taylor he formed the Professional Golfers Association and they were called the Great Triumvirate, a term used in later years for Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

His Open record, over the period 1899 till 1912, will likely never be beaten…

1899 – fifth, 1900 – third, 1901 – won, 1902 – second, 1903 – fifth,1904 – second, 1905 – won, 1906 – won, 1907 – fifth, 1908 – won, 1909 – second, 1910 – won, 1911 – fifth, 1912 – third.

He was also perhaps the most prolific golf course designer ever, having been involved in the design of over 400 courses in the Great Britain including Gleneagles, St Enodoc, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Rosemount, Brora and of course Henley. He is credited with ‘inventing’ the dog-leg hole.

James Braid has heavily influenced the Golf South Ayrshire portfolio of courses, being instrumental in the design and construction of Belleisle and Seafield courses and advised on the reinstatement of Girvan Golf Course to its current layout shortly after World War 1.

Golf South Ayrshire is proud to be a member of the Association of James Braid Courses, which offers reciprocal green fees for its members at over 250 James Braid Courses.