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Divine Fury of James Braid: Professional Golf Standard Bearer

By George Payne

Complete set of three volumes - 1450 pages, 282 x 215mm, colour pages
Hardback with section sewn pages


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The author, who is married to a great-granddaughter of James Braid has been fortunate to have access to Braid's Ledger Book and over a period of more than twenty years has researched the events chronicled therein. Where Braid plied his trade as a professional golfer for a substantial part of his career has therefore, with some certainty, been recorded in the book and the contemporary information added elaborates on the events.

There are, spread throughout the book, over 1250 illustrations which comprise of photographs, course plans, Braid anecdotes, facts about Braid, golf related adverts, golf related equipment, pre 1914 golf balls and golfing characters.

Volume One

Divine Fury was the description that Horace Hutchinson (Golf Amateur Champion 1886 & 1887 and prolific writer on golf) attributed to the golf swing of James Braid.

Whist turning the pages of the book’s three volumes which provide an insight into the life of James Braid, professional golfer, you will soon appreciate the enormous contribution Braid made with regard to golfing matters as the sport developed into a worldwide recreational and employment opportunity.

In this First Volume you will discover how Braid devoted his adult life to golf and the unique contribution he made to practically every aspect of the sport.

Braid the son of a Scottish farm labourer, by making the most of his talents, became befriended and lauded by all who made his acquaintance whether fellow golfer, competitor, artisan, aristocrat, leading politician or royalty.

Whilst reflecting on Braid’s life it would be difficult to imagine how a golfer, coming from an artisan background during the period of his life, could have exceeded Braid’s varied golfing and other achievements.

Today’s professional golfers owe much to Braid and his like.

Volume Two

This Second Volume of Divine Fury details, in addition to those contained in Volume One, Braid’s Amateur and Professional appearances in open tournaments, invitation events, exhibitions and matches played throughout his career.

The entrants in the majority of tournaments were other golf professionals and leading male amateur players. Other matches in which the foregoing also participated sometimes included male and female amateur golfers, politicians, landed gentry, leading businessmen and some of Braid’s friends. When appropriate, allowances were made for the various golf handicaps of those taking part.

Referenced within this volume are 433 venues played by Braid, some of which had more than one course. Many of these venues Braid played multiple times. At 115 of these venues Braid achieved a record score for the course.

Braid’s match rivalries with the other members of the ‘Triumvirate’ and Herd are herein the subject of separate analyses as are the Braid + Herd versus Vardon + Taylor clashes arranged to be Scotland versus England encounters.

The professional matches played were a mixture of strokeplay, matchplay, foursomes and four ball betterball with only one pair’s aggregate score match.

In the individual professional matches when opposing either Vardon, Taylor or Herd, Braid came out with a better success record than the other three, whilst in the Braid + Herd versus Vardon + Taylor matches the honours were even.

Volume Three

Braid’s first design work was undertaken in 1896 and his final assignment in 1950.

In addition to the works referenced in this Third Volume of Divine Fury it is inevitable that other Braid design work is unrecorded or yet to be uncovered.

Included in this volume are references to over 540 known involvements of Braid carrying out design work or work of an unidentified nature entered in his ledger book.

There are over 130 locations where Braid designed 18 hole layouts and around a further 80 venues where he designed a nine hole layout or extended a nine hole course to 18 holes. When Braid was called upon to extend a nine hole course to 18 holes he often altered the original nine holes or redesigned them to suit his proposed 18 hole layout.

The balance of Braid’s commissions comprised a mixture of course appraisals, extensions, alterations, re-modelling and the offering of general advice. Sadly a number of Braid’s designs, for one reason or another, did not proceed to construction and after commencement some were abandoned. Over time a lot of Braid’s design works have disappeared or been much altered.

The author has been unable to find justification for a further ten examples of design work attributed, at one time or another, to Braid.

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