John Henry “J.H.” Taylor (19 March 1871 – 10 February 1963) was an English professional golfer and one of the pioneers of the modern game of golf. Taylor is considered to be one of the best golfers of all time. He was a significant golf course architect. Taylor helped to found the British PGA, the world’s first, and became respected for his administrative work. He also wrote two notable golf books.
Taylor was born in Northam, Devon. He was a member of the fabled Great Triumvirate of the sport in his day, along with Harry Vardon and James Braid, and he won The Open Championship five times. Born into a working-class family, and orphaned as a boy, he began work as a caddie and labourer at the Royal North Devon Golf Club (also known as Westward Ho!) at the age of eleven. He was employed as a caddie and houseboy by the Hutchinson family and was tasked to carry the bag of Horace Hutchinson. He became a professional golfer at 19, and was employed by Burnham & Berrow Golf Club, the Winchester (later Royal Winchester) Golf Club – while there winning in successive years the first two of his Open Championships – then the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club, before eventually moving to the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club from 1899 until his retirement in 1946.
In 1901, Taylor was a co-founder and the first chairman of the British Professional Golfers’ Association. This was the first association for professional golfers in the world. Bernard Darwin wrote that Taylor “had turned a feckless company into a self-respecting and respected body of men”.