Hugh Philp

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Hugh Philp
Hugh philp portrait.jpg
Died1856(1856-00-00) (aged 69–70)
Nationality Scotland
OccupationGolf club maker

Hugh Philp (1786–1856) was a Scottish golf club maker, who is considered to be the greatest club maker of all time.[1]

Born in Cameron Bridge in Fife he moved to nearby St Andrews to establish a carpentry, joinery and housepainting business.[2] In 1812 he started to repair and then make golf clubs as a sideline.[2] This sideline became a great success and he subsequently opened a shop and workshop adjacent to the St Andrews Links.[3]

In the 1860s, he was hired by Forgan of St. Andrews to make clubs for the company. Philp used thorn, apple and pear woods as materials for its clubs, which were highly appreciated as craft items and gained him widespread recognition.[1]

His clubs were in great demand by the leading players of the day[4] and in 1819 Philp was appointed as club-maker to the Society of Golfers at St. Andrews (later to become The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews).[3]

Today his clubs are highly desirable as collectors' items with auction prices reaching many thousands of pounds.[3][5]


It was Hugh Philp who first departed from the primitive models of the stone age and began to make golf clubs that looked as though they were intended for some gentler work (...) Philp had an eye for graceful lines and curves, and his slim, elegant models remain today things of beauty (...) Philp was the only man who ever knew how to make a perfectly balanced wooden putter.

— Harper's Weekly, 2 Oct. 1897 [1]

This genius made such beautiful and perfect wooden putters that he has come to be regarded as the Amati or Stradivarius of Golf, and a genuine "Philp" today is worth untold gold. The long narrow faces of these clubs and their perfect balance are well known to connoisseurs

— Golf Illustrated magazine, 5 Oct. 1900 [1]


  1. ^ a b c d Hugh Philp biography on Club Makers Art (archived, 4 Mar 2016)
  2. ^ a b "Hugh Philp". Antique golf clubs from Scotland.
  3. ^ a b c Ellis, Jeffrey B. "Hugh Philp". The Club Makers Art.
  4. ^ "Driving putter made by Hugh Philp". Highlights from the collection. British Golf Museum.
  5. ^ "A scared-head long-nosed putter by Hugh Philp". Past Sale No 9883, Lot No 261. Christie's. 8 July 2004.