The Society of Friends
Gleneagles: Carnoustie; Royal Musselburgh; these are the names one associates with the course architecture of James Braid. Yet, each year, hundreds of thousands of golfers enjoy courses, which have been designed or re-modelled by Braid: a fact unknown to the majority.
Braid golf courses, of which there are over 200, may be prestigious and well known, or they may be remote village courses. It was after a round at Brora, in the Highlands of Scotland and 15 miles north of Dornoch, that Peter Thomson expressed the view that a society dedicated to the memory of James Braid was long overdue. The idea quickly germinated and grew into the James Braid Golfing Society.
Furthermore, the Society is honoured that Peter Thomson, also a 5 time Open Champion and celebrated golf course architect, accepted an invitation to the office of President. The "Society of Friends" was born.
of the Society is
The Essential distinction
The traditions and values that over the centuries have set golf apart form other sports as the game of higher principal and personal integrity have never been exposed to so much challenge as they are in today's cynically commercial world. Indeed the danger of this most noble of all games being hijacked by some forces who appreciate little if anything of its history and customs, and what's worse, care even less, is a cause for not a little worry.
Perhaps it is not altogether their fault. The rush of new recruits to the game fuelled in some part at least by those upwardly mobile ambitions that so characterised the 1980's was hardly matched by a golf establishment ready, willing or even able to integrate them into the slightly arcane world where a simple game of club and ball is in fact so much more than just that.
With little in the way of guidance, is it any wonder that some, who bypassed the traditional upbringing of golf club or organised golf society now treat the game as a fashion accessory? In the rampant materialism of the present day should we really wonder why desire among some to join a golf club is seen in the same light as the acquisition of the latest flavour of the month, foreign motor car? The real values of this royal and ancient pastime that has infuriated mankind for five hundred years are sadly now passing too many by.
The James Braid Golfing Society exists not to try to save wayward golfing souls or bring the forces of reaction to bear on what some see as the threat of deteriorating standards. What it does seek to do is preserve the values and dignity that James Braid himself brought to this noble game in the eighty years of his life, and by so doing, at least attempts to give a lead by example.
The James Braid Golfing Society exists to honour more than the legacy of his wonderful imagination that created so many fine golf courses to be enjoyed for generations to come, or his record of five Open Championships wins in the space of a decade that made him the finest player of his day. Or even his wisdom and patient advocacy of
moderation as a Founder and later President of the PGA. Braid's contribution to the game was more even than that.
This unassuming son of the village of Earlsferry in the East Neuk of Fife knew as well as any the value of golf for its ability to bring together like-minded souls from every walk of life in friendship and honest competition to the greater betterment of all. His tweed cap, Norfolk jacket, always worn with collar and tie, were symbols of a greater dignity.
Because an individual owns some golf clubs and a few golf balls and take them on to a golf course to put one to the other in the generally accepted fashion, does not make that person by definition, a golfer.
James Braid was the shining example of the difference between the golfer and the hitter of golf balls. The James Braid Golfing Society can do no better than honour his memory by recognising and upholding that essential distinction.
Professional at Walton Heath,
Founder and President of the PGA and 5 time Open Winner
Open Championship Record
1901 - 1st Muirfield
1905 - 1st St. Andrews
1906 - 1st Muirfield
1908 - 1st Prestwick
1910 - 1st St. Andrews
Peter Thomson AO, CBE
Honorary Member of the R&A, and renowned international golf course architect, whose work includes The Duke's Course, St. Andrews.
Open Championship Record
1952 - 2nd - Royal Lytham
1953 - 2nd - Carnoustie
1954 - 1st - Birkdale
1955 - 1st - St. Andrews
1956 - 1st - Royal Liverpool
1957 - 2nd - St. Andrews
1958 - 1st - Royal Lytham
1965 - 1st - Royal Birkdale