Place of birth: Earlsferry, Fife, Scotland
Date of death: November 27, 1950
British Open: 1901, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1910
Awards and Honors:
James Braid Biography:
Braid took up the game as a young child and won his first local tournament at age 8. His game developed along with an interest in clubmaking, and in 1893 he took a position as clubmaker in London.
Braid turned pro in 1896. His play, prior to the turn of the century, was marked by long driving by inconsistent putting. While Vardon and Taylor were already winning Opens, Braid's putter kept him from breaking through.
He switched to an aluminum-headed putter in 1900 (from a wooden-headed model) and his putting improved. In 1901, he won his first British Open, and he won five more by 1910 - reaching 5 before either Vardon or Taylor.
Through 1911, Braid also won the British Professional Match Play four times and the French Open once. He retired from competitive golf in 1912, joining Walton Heath as its club professional. He remained at Walton Heath until his death.
Braid's great passion after his retirement was course design. 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.). Among the courses he helped remodel are Carnoustie, Troon, Prestwick and Ballybunion.
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. In fact, some have postulated that Braid "invented" the dogleg hole.
Braid was a founding member of the British PGA and authored an instructional book entitled "Advanced Golf."