James Braid is one of the most prolific golf course architects in history. His legacy is unparalleled in the UK.
James Braid's Early Life
James Braid was born in Scotland and raised on the links at Elie. After a brief spell in St. Andrews, he moved to Edinburgh where he, interestingly, played at Braid Hills.
James Braid's Move to England
Moving to London to accept a club-making position, James Braid ended up as head professional at Romford GC in North East London. After winning the Open Championship in 1901, he undertook several design contracts in Ireland and England.
In 1904, James Braid became the head professional at Walton Heath where he would remain for the remainder of his days.
James Braid - Golf Course Architect
After claiming his fifth Open Championship title, James Braid retired from professional golf in 1912 to concentrate on his course design. Due to severe motion sickness, James Braid infrequently traveled over land and water. Although most of his 400 courses grace England, Scotland and Wales there is some Braid influence to be found in the Isle of Man, Ireland, and continental Europe. He was also able to understand topographical maps and therefore was able to design courses without a site visit, resulting in commissions in both Singapore and the USA.
A Closer Look at James Braid
We wish to thank friend of Evalu18 and collaborator, Keith Cutten, for the material for this short biography. For a more detailed account, you can find his book, The Evolution of Golf Course Design.
Also, the book, James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses, provides an excellent overview of his prolific work.