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James Braid Golf Courses

from the Experts in Golf Holidays

⏱ 6 min read

Brora Golf Club, Scotland

Pioneer of the Modern Game

Five-time Open Champion James Braid was one of Scotland’s greatest-ever golfers, he retired from competitive golf in 1912 and became a renowned golf course architect responsible for designing over 250 golf courses throughout the British Isles.

Often regarded as the "inventor" of the dogleg, although holes of similar design had been known for centuries, Braid's courses range from the prestigious and well known championship layouts, to remote village courses but every one of them will give the golfer a thorough test of his golfing ability.

James Braid Facts

Name James Braid
Born 6 Feb, 1870
Died 27 Nov, 1950
Nationality Scottish
Majors 5 Open Championships

Best James Braid Golf Courses

Braid may have had a hand in the design of over 250 golf courses throughout the British Isles but his most prominent courses are the Championship layouts. He has designed or remodelled The Open courses of Royal Cinque Ports, Royal Troon and Carnoustie as well the Scottish Open and Walker Cup course of Royal Aberdeen and Ryder Cup host Ganton.

James Braid Golf Courses

As well as designing Championship layouts for the Pro Golfers to do combat on, Braid also designed many lesser known courses or certainly ones with less air time on TV.

The majority of his courses are within his homeland of Scotland but as well as following the James Braid Trail north of the border you will find Braid designs all over the British Isles.

England has many Braid designs with the likes of Sherwood Forest & The Mere, there is Pwllheli & Holyhead in Wales and Howth in Ireland.

Sherwood Forest Golf Club, England
Sherwood Forest Golf Club, England
The Mere Golf Resort, England
The Mere Golf Resort, England
Holyhead Golf Club, Wales
Holyhead Golf Club, Wales
Pwllheli Golf Club, Wales
Pwllheli Golf Club, Wales
Howth Golf Club, Ireland
Howth Golf Club, Ireland
Ganton Golf Club, England
Ganton Golf Club, England
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Scotland
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Scotland
Porthmadog Golf Club, Wales
Porthmadog Golf Club, Wales
Gleneagles - King's Course, Perthshire, Scotland
Gleneagles - King's Course, Perthshire, Scotland
Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotland
Carnoustie Golf Links, Scotland

Gleneagles - Two Great James Braid Golf Course Designs

The King's course places emphasis on the golfer's ability to shape shots and be creative. Lee Trevino once said of the course "If Heaven is as good as this, I sure hope they have some tee-times left."

The King's Course Statistics
Par: 71 | Year Opened: 1919

The Queen's course is set in beautiful woodland with indigenous lochans and streams as water hazards. The course is shorter than the other layouts but makes up for the lack of length with exquisite beauty.

The Queen's Course Course Statistics
Par: 68 | Year Opened: 1917

About James Braid

As one of golf’s greatest names, James Braid has left an indelible mark on the game both in his own playing career and also in the art of golf course design and architecture.

Born in the Fife coastal town of Earlsferry on February 6th 1870, Braid took up the game at an early age despite his parents having no interest for the game. He learned to play the game using golf clubs he had reconditioned at Elie links and later trained as a carpenter and joiner, before working as a clubmaker from 1893. Following some success as an amateur, he turned professional in 1896.

An excellent tee-to-green player, Braid’s game was blighted by putting problems due in no small way to the wooden-headed putter he favoured; but a switch to a metal-headed putter in 1900 took his game to a new level and he went on to become a five-time Open Championship winner, lifting the famed Claret Jug in 1901, 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1910. Braid was also runner up in 1897 and 1909.

Braid formed part of the ‘Great Triumvirate’ which dominated the game in the early years of the 20th Century; the others being Harry Vardon and John Henry Taylor and between 1894 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the three men won The Open no less than 16 times between them. Braid’s back-to-back victories in 1905 and 1906 remained as the last back-to-back victories in the tournament until Padraig Harrington repeated the feat in 2008 at Royal Birkdale.

Braid retired from tournament play in 1912 and took up a position as club professional at Walton Heath where he remained until his death in 1950. Braid also dabbled in golf course design after his retirement from the competitive game and he is reckoned to have influenced the design of at least 200 golf courses around the U.K.

Braid is also often credited as being the inventor of the ‘dogleg’ hole. His farming background ensured that courses were well laid out, with good drainage and easy maintenance.

Braid was a founder member of the PGA and later became its president; he was central in building the foundations of the professional game as it is today and he was inducted into golf’s Hall of Fame in 1976.

Today, whether in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales, the work of James Braid can be enjoyed by golfers across the UK, with many golf courses bearing the hallmarks of Braid’s hand at work. From the famous links courses and tournament venues of Carnoustie and Gleneagles to the numerous lesser known courses found off the beaten track such as Pennard and Boat of Garten, Braid’s influence on the art of golf course design stretches far and wide, and even today golf course designers continue to apply the design principles first put in place by the famous Scot.

So famous is Braid that the man even has his own society – the James Braid Golfing Society – and there are even Braid golf tours available which allow players to play a selection of Braid-influenced golf courses across the UK in areas such as Cornwall, Inverness, Swansea and Donegal among a host of others, with each Braid golf tour featuring a mix of coastal links and inland park courses, as well as those famous and not so famous courses each bearing the Braid touch.

Recommended James Braid Golf Courses in Scotland

Take in the mountain views of the James Braid Highland Golf Trail including Boat of Garten near Aviemore through Fortrose and Rosemarkie near Inverness up to Brora Golf Club in Sutherland. Base yourself around the capital playing Dalmahoy, Bruntsfield or Ratho Park or play the links courses of East Lothian, there are Braid courses throught the whole of Scotland.

Recommended James Braid Golf Courses in England

There are James Braid courses in England that you can easily build into a little tour of the North or South. Base yourself at The Mere Golf Resort while also playing Caldy and Sherwood Forest in the North or take in the likes of Littlestone, Walmer & Kingsdown and Kingswood in the South.

Recommended James Braid Golf Courses in Wales & Ireland

A visit to North Wales can take in Braid layouts such as Aberdovey, Maesdu, Holyhead, Pwllheli and Porthmadog. While in the South there are the superb tracks of Pennard, Langland Bay and Tenby. You could also pop over to Ireland and base yourself around Dublin to sample the likes of Howth Golf Club and Tullamore Golf Club.

Other James Braid Golf Course Designs

Scotland Golf Courses
Belleisle Golf Club
Blairgowrie Golf Club
Boat of Garten Golf Club
Downfield Golf Club
Forfar Golf Club
Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club
Fraserburgh Golf Club
Golspie Golf Club
Lundin Golf Club
Murcar Golf Links
Panmure Golf Club
Powfoot Golf Club
Ratho Park Golf Club
Scotscraig Golf Club
Stranrear Golf Club

England Golf Courses
Caldy Golf Club
Goswick Links Golf Club
Hawkstone Park
Kingswood Golf & Country Club
Northumberland Golf Club
Sherwood Forest Golf Club
The Mere Golf & Country Club
Thorpeness Golf Hotel
Torquay Golf Club
Walmer & Kingsdown Golf Club

Wales Golf Courses
Glamorganshire Golf Club
Holyhead Golf Club
Llandrindod Wells Golf Club
Maesdu Golf Club
Monmouthshire Golf Club
Pwllheli Golf Club

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