John Henry Taylor (1871 - 1963)

Born Devon, England, Taylor is remembered as a member of the Great Triumvirate and a founder of the PGA.

Taylor grew up in a family of modest means. His father died when he was an infant and he was therefore obliged to start earning a living aged just 11. He worked as a caddy and general labourer at the nearby Westward Ho GC. Soon afterwards he was seconded to the greenkeeper's staff, a move which laid the foundation for his skill as a course designer later in life. At 19, he turned professional and worked at several clubs eventually settling at Royal Mid Surrey. Besides tuition and competition, he made money from making clubs.

He won his first Open in 1894 and would go on to win another four. Taylor was a stocky and strong man with the personality to match. His particular advantage over the opposition in golf was that he was able to maintain a consistent record in adverse weather conditions. Besides the Open he also won the French and German Opens.

Taylor played golf all his life; indeed he contested the 1924 Open aged 55. However his main achievement at this time was the formation of the PGA. He spoke publicly and helped to raise the profile of professional golfers.

In recognition of his achievements and contribution to golf, the R&A made him an honorary member in 1949. He retired from golf in 1957 and was honoured by Royal Birkdale, which he designed, with it's club presidency and also President of Royal North Devon Golf Club, into whose clubhouse he would not have been invited as a young man. Golfers everywhere are indebted to him for his instrumental role in laying the foundations of the modern game. He was also the instigator of Artisan Golf in England and was a founder of the Northam Golf Club one of the first working men's clubs in England.

 

A poem about the Champion

 

A hymn written for special service