Ben Sayers

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Ben Sayers
Bensayers.jpeg
Ben Sayers playing at North Berwick
Personal information
Full name Bernard Sayers
Nickname Ben
Born (1856-06-23)23 June 1856
Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 9 March 1924(1924-03-09) (aged 67)
North Berwick, Scotland
Height 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
Nationality  Scotland
Spouse Catherine Thomson
Career
Status Professional
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament DNP
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship T2: 1888
PGA Championship DNP

Bernard "Ben" Sayers (23 June 1856 – 9 March 1924) was one of the most successful early professional golfers. He became a distinguished golf teacher, golf course designer and manufacturer of golf clubs and equipment. Sayers had a reputation for making good quality gutta-percha golf balls.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Sayers was born in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland. After moving to Haddington with his family at the age of 12, Sayers began to play golf after being given a club by his uncle. He was short at 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) but strong, and on the verge of becoming a professional acrobat when he began to take golf seriously. He moved to North Berwick and after enjoying success in competitions at Dunbar, Hoylake and other courses he took up ballmaking, and also began to enter The Open Championship. He tied for second in the 1888 Open Championship and was third in 1889. Although he won 24 top-level tournaments he never lifted the "Old Claret Jug".[1]

In January 1911, he took up the post of head professional at The Golf Club of Monte Carlo. While there, he was known for taking wagers on the course, presumably betting on himself against all takers of his challenges.[2]

Instructor, club maker, and golf course architect[edit]

Statue of Ben Sayers outside the former factory in North Berwick

Sayers was a golf instructor to royalty, nobility and fellow professionals. In his day he taught Her Majesty Queen Alexandra, George, Prince of Wales (later King George V), Princess Victoria, the Duchess of Connaught and Princess Patricia of Connaught. He also instructed the great lady champion Dorothy Campbell (a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame) and Frenchman Arnaud Massy, who became the first overseas player to win the Open Championship.

He was also an innovative club maker, and patented several new club designs (see for example GB 21,122 and GB 24,473).

His course designing credits include the East course at North Berwick, Moffat, Rothesay, Craigielaw Links, Adare Manor, West Monmouthshire, the Spey Bay Golf Club in Banffshire, and the Ballathie Hotel course in Perthshire.

Ben Sayers & Son[edit]

The Ben Sayers & Son factory in North Berwick was responsible for creating several revolutionary pieces of golf equipment, from gutta-percha balls[1] and the "Benny" putter (the first to have a square-edged handgrip) to, in later years, the first set of carbon-shafted clubs and a specially commissioned putter for Jack Nicklaus. Ben Sayers Jnr. also designed the first "oversized" driver (the "Dreadnaught").

Ben Sayers is believed to be the oldest golf equipment company still surviving. Now owned by Tandem Group, after operating from North Berwick for 126 years, production was moved to China in 2003.

Death and legacy[edit]

Sayers died on 9 March 1924 at North Berwick, Scotland. He was one of the best players to play in the Open Championship and never win.

Results in The Open Championship[edit]

Sayers (seated far right) on 11 October 1894 at the New Luffness Competition. There are a number of famous golfers in the photo, chief among them is the legendary Old Tom Morris seated far left.
Tournament 1878 1879
The Open Championship 12 18
Tournament 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889
The Open Championship 19 ? T18 7 6 15 T16 T5 T2 3
Tournament 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899
The Open Championship 19 T10 T5 12 T5 T9 T7 T12 T19 11
Tournament 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
The Open Championship 9 CUT 19 T21 T10 35 CUT T46 T30 T17
Tournament 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914
The Open Championship DNP CUT DNP DNP T50

Note: Sayers played only in The Open Championship.
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
? = Competed, finish unknown
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Yellow background for top-10

Team appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Famous North Berwick Golfers". Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "1911 Golf Events". TheGolfBallFactory.com. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 

External links[edit]