Laidlay, c. 1895
|Full name||John Ernest Laidlay|
|Born||5 November 1860|
Seacliff, East Lothian, Scotland
|Died||15 July 1940 (aged 79)|
Sunningdale, Berkshire, England
|Best results in major championships|
|The Open Championship||2nd: 1893|
|British Amateur||Won: 1889, 1891|
John Ernest Laidlay (5 November 1860 – 15 July 1940) was a Scottish amateur golfer. He invented the most popular golf grip used today, although the grip is credited to Harry Vardon, who took it up after Laidlay.
Laidlay was born in Seacliff, two miles east of North Berwick, East Lothian, the son of John Watson Laidlay FRSE. He became quite prominent at golf while a schoolboy from 1872–1878 at the Loretto School in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh. Following completion of his education at Loretto, he moved to North Berwick and played out of the famous North Berwick Golf Club.
British Amateur Championship
Laidlay won the British Amateur Championship twice, in 1889 and 1891, and was runner-up three more times, in 1888, 1890, and 1893, during a six-year stretch from 1888 to 1893. He was also runner-up in the 1893 Open Championship. He won over 130 amateur medals during his playing career, represented Scotland every year from 1902 to 1911, and also played cricket for Scotland. After World War I, he moved to Sunningdale, near London, where his former caddie Jack White was the club professional at the Sunningdale Golf Club. He has been called the 'last of the gentlemen golfers'.
Laidlay was using the grip which was credited to Harry Vardon for some years before either Vardon or J.H. Taylor adopted it. The grip is taken by overlapping the little finger of the bottom hand between the forefinger and middle fingers of the top hand, with thumbs pointing down and the remaining fingers of both hands wrapping around the club, with the club held lightly. The lead thumb should fit into the palm, along the lifeline of the trailing hand. Since 1900, most professionals, top amateurs, and average players around the world have adopted this grip, known as the Vardon or overlapping grip. Probably 90% of the world's golfers use it, although there are exceptions, including Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Gene Sarazen.
Death and legacy
Laidlay died on 15 July 1940 at Sunningdale, England. He is best remembered as a 2-time winner of the British Amateur Championship and the first golfer to employ the overlapping grip.
Amateur wins (2)
|1889||The Amateur Championship||2 & 1||Leslie Balfour-Melville|
|1891||The Amateur Championship||20 holes||Harold Hilton|
|The Open Championship||T13||T8 LA||4 LA||10||T4 LA|
|The Amateur Championship||R24||QF||2||1|
|The Open Championship||T11||T20||2 LA||17||T18||29||32|
|The Amateur Championship||2||1||SF||2||SF||R16||R16||R64||R16|
|The Open Championship||T26||T7||T37||T60|
|The Amateur Championship||R16||R32||R16||R64||SF||R64||R32||R256||R128||R16|
|The Open Championship||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT|
|The Amateur Championship||R32||R64||R64||R128||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT|
|The Open Championship|
|The Amateur Championship||R64|
Note: Laidlay only played in The Open Championship and The Amateur Championship.
LA = Low amateur
NT = No tournament
"T" indicates a tie for a place
R256, R128, R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play
- England–Scotland Amateur Match (representing Scotland): 1902 (winners), 1903, 1904 (winners), 1905 (winners), 1906 (winners), 1907 (winners), 1908 (winners), 1909 (winners), 1910, 1911 (winners)
- British Open: www.opengolf.com
- 1885 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, April 21, 1885, p. 7.
- 1886 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, September 23, 1886, p. 5.
- 1892 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 14, 1892, p. 4.
- 1894 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, April 28, 1894, p. 11.
- 1895 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 9, 1895, p. 3.
- 1896 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 21, 1896, p. 11.
- 1897 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, April 28, 1897, p. 10.
- 1899 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 25, 1899, p. 8.
- 1900 British Amateur: Golf, July, 1900, p. 21.
- 1901 British Amateur: Golf, June, 1901, p. 413.
- 1902 British Amateur: Golf, June, 1902, p. 397.
- 1903 British Amateur: Golf, July, 1903, p. 8.
- 1904 British Amateur: Golf, July, 1904, p. 9.
- 1905 British Amateur: Golf, June, 1905, p. 341.
- 1906 British Amateur: Golf, July, 1906, p. 30.
- 1907 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 28, 1907, p. 12.
- 1908 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 27, 1908, p. 14.
- 1909 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 27, 1909, p. 13.
- 1910 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, June 2, 1910, p. 8.
- 1911 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 31, 1911, p. 10.
- 1913 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 28, 1913, p. 15.
- 1914 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, May 20, 1914, p. 12.
- 1920 British Amateur: The Glasgow Herald, June 9, 1920, p. 11.