Braid, James

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Golf Architect James Braid is one of the most prolific golf course architects in history. His legacy is unparalleled in the UK.

From Scotland to England

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. Moving to London to accept a club-making position, 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, Braid became the head professional at Walton Heath where he would remain for the remainder of his days.

Transition From Playing to Designing

After claiming his fifth Open Championship title, he retired from professional golf in 1912 to concentrate on his course design. Due to severe motion sickness, Braid infrequently travelled over land and water. Although most of his 400 courses grace England, Scotland and Wales there is some Braid 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

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 by clicking here. Also, the book, James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses, provides an excellent overview of his prolific work.


Architectural Hallmarks

Very little earth was moved due to technological constraints.

Minimal artificial features present.

Putting greens must be well guarded often by dykes directly in front of greens.

Green size is governed by length of approach.

Alternative tees provided to allow play in all conditions.

Bunkering and layout reward good positional play with alternative routes provided on each hole.

Par 3’s are often surrounded by pot bunkers.


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