James Braid – The Great Courses
James Braid (6 February 1870 – 27 November 1950) was a Scottish professional golfer and a member of the Great Triumvirate of the sport alongside Harry Vardonand John Henry Taylor. He won The Open Championship five times. He also was a renowned golf course architect. Braid is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Braid was born in Earlsferry, Fife, Scotland, the son of James and Mary (née Harris). He played golf from an early age, working as a clubmaker before turning professional in 1896. Initially his game was hindered by problems with his putting, but he overcame this after switching to an aluminium putter in 1900. He won The Open Championship in 1901, 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1910. In addition, Braid won four British PGA Matchplay Championships (1903, 1905, 1907 and 1911), as well as the 1910 French Open title. He was also runner-up in The Open Championship in 1897, 1902, 1904, and 1909. His 1906 victory in The Open Championship was the last successful defence of the title by a European until Pádraig Harrington replicated the feat in 2008.
Henley is a traditional members club. The course is situated in tranquil countryside with expansive views of the Chiltern Hills, just a few miles from the M4 and the M40. It is widely acknowledged as one of the best clubs in the area. The golf course is in Oxfordshire, although it is very near to both the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire borders, all three counties can be seen from the course.
Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, some five minutes from Henley-on-Thames, the course benefits from the natural drainage of a course built on chalk.
Henley Golf Club was first thought of in 1905 by a small group interested in enhancing the town’s status as it grew as the Great Western Railway expanded.
In May 1905 70 acres were purchased and 9 holes opened in 1907 with a further nine opening the following year. Mr D Stephenson, the then Professional at Princes Golf Club and formerly of Huntercombe (opened 1901) prepared plans, but James Braid is correctly credited with its design, as yardages of the course that opened bore no resemblance to the original plans. Braid was paid £15 6s 6d (£15.321/2) and Stephenson £5 for their efforts.
The match to celebrate the opening of the course took place on the 16th May 1908 between James Braid and Rowland Jones (he replaced Harry Vardon who cried off as he had flu) refereed by Harold Hilton, twice Amateur Champion and twice Open Champion as an amateur. Braid scored a 77 in the morning round and 74 in the afternoon, beating Jones, both rounds taking two hours to play!
Over the years the course has changed, the 11th for example used to cross the road and was 320 yards in length – this was the case till 1964 when, due to increased traffic on Chalk Hill, the hole was changed to its current position.
Some holes have been lengthened as technology improved. During the period from 1998 till the present day, new Health and Safety requirements have been taken into account realigning holes 3, 9, 10 and 18 to keep stray balls away from roads. All the work carried out on the course e.g. reshaping of bunkers, is now done in the style of James Braid by our own green keepers. A full watering system was installed in 2004.
Fully refurbished in 2004, the clubhouse is a veritable haven of relaxation, with a first class reputation for a friendly, warm welcome. Relax in comfortable surroundings, retrospectively counting the shots you could have saved, with family, friends or colleagues.
Soft drinks, fine wines, great beer and classic spirits are available to accompany the fine food on offer, from delicious homemade bar snacks to more extensive, but still homemade, fayre in the restaurant.
The clubhouse is ideal for societies or corporate away-days, yet intimate enough to accommodate a member’s family celebration.
We are also proud to be the home of The Association of James Braid Courses.
Formed some five years ago by one of our Past Captains and Past President, the Association now has 269 member clubs of the some 411 courses James Braid either designed originally or altered (of the 411, 39 are defunct and 6 were plans only).
The courses are to be found in Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland with one in New York. Henley Golf Club members and members of all the clubs in the Association can enjoy preferential green fees at these courses, by booking in advance.
The list is updated each year with new member clubs.
Crowborough Beacon Golf Club members and members of all the clubs in the Association can enjoy preferential green fees at these courses, by booking in advance.
- Please click here to view the list of member Golf Clubs as well as the booking procedures
- And to view a map of the courses currently included in the Association click here
A reference to Crowborough Beacon is made within “James Braid and his Four Hundred Courses” (see above image) and for those interested in this book, copies are available from either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Situated just inside the M25 (accessible from either Junction 24 or 25), Enfield is a picturesque, parkland course within easy reach of all parts of North London, Hertfordshire and Essex. Its features include tree lined fairways and superb greens; Salmons Brook, which winds its way through the heart of the course and the Moat, which is an ancient English Heritage site at the back of the 17th green.
Designed by former Open Champion, James Braid, the course measures 6174 yards, par 72 for men and 5407, par 71 for ladies. It is a good test for all levels of Golfer. The warm welcome that you will receive, along with the superb food from our resident Head Chef, Andrea Thornton, and the excellent Clubhouse and Bar facilities will ensure that your stay here, whether for a day or many years, will always be enjoyable.
Budock Vean Golf Course was originally planned to be an 18 hole course, and we still have Braid’s initial designs for this. But due to the sale of some of the land in the 1920s, the BV course ended up as a 9 hole/18 tee course, but is often cited as the best 9 hole course in Cornwall.
As an Association of James Braid course, we offer £10 discount for Braid members off our standard round cost of £25.