James Braid was born in Earlsferry, Fife, Scotland on 6 February 1870.
Braid was a Scottish professional golfer and a member of the Great Triumvirate of the sport alongside Harry Vardon and John Henry Taylor. He won The Open Championship five times. He also was a renowned golf course architect.
Braid played golf from an early age, working as a clubmaker before turning professional in 1896. He won The Open Championship in 1901, 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1910 and four British PGA Matchplay Championships (1903, 1905, 1907 and 1911), as well as the 1910 French Open title.
He was also runner-up in The Open Championship in 1897 and 1909. His 1906 victory in The Open Championship was the last successful defence of the title by a European until Padraig Harrington replicated the feat in 2008.
Braid was an excellent Course Designer
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. It it estimated that he designed or re-designed more than 200 courses around Great Britain (fear of flying and motion sickness on boat rides prevented him from ever working in the U.S.).
Many of Braid’s best courses were inland parkland tracks (as opposed to seaside links), and some of these courses contain the earliest known uses of the dogleg.
Braid’s relationship with Hawick Golf Club started in 1901 when he played the course on the 12th September with his great friend Harry Vardon.
On the 15th May 1931 the captain of the club, C A Charles, wrote to Braid asking him to produce a report suggesting alterations to the course.
Braid responded to this request and on 29th May 1931, for the cost of £9, he walked the course and two weeks later the club received his ideas, which were duly disseminated to the members by the September of that year.
All of his recommendations were implemented which included lengthening of holes and the position of bunkers.
The Association of James Braid Courses
As a result of Braid’s recommendations we are eligible to join The Association of James Braid Courses.
The advantages of being a member of the association is that the members of the clubs, can play at all the other member clubs for reduced green fee, subject to tee availability, thereby hopefully increasing the awareness of Braid’s work and of course the man himself.