Max Faulkner

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Max Faulkner
Personal information
Full nameHerbert Gustavus Max Faulkner
Born(1916-07-29)29 July 1916
Bexhill-on-Sea, England
Died26 February 2005(2005-02-26) (aged 88)
Nationality England
Professional wins19
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters TournamentDNP
PGA ChampionshipDNP
U.S. OpenDNP
The Open ChampionshipWon: 1951
Achievements and awards
Officer of the Order
of the British Empire

Herbert Gustavus Max Faulkner, OBE (29 July 1916 – 26 February 2005) was an English professional golfer who won the Open Championship in 1951.[1]

Early life[edit]

Faulkner was born on 29 July 1916 in Bexhill-on-Sea, the son of Gus (1893–1976), a professional golfer who had been assistant to James Braid before World War I.[1][2] After the war his father took a position at Pennard Golf Club on the Gower Peninsula in south Wales where he stayed until 1925. His father was briefly at a golf facility in Regent's Park but in 1927 became the professional at Bramley Golf Club, just south of Guildford, where he remained until 1945.[1] Faulkner was outstanding at a number of sports but golf was his main interest.[2] After leaving school he became an assistant to his father at Bramley.[1]

Faulkner was the eldest of three boys. His younger brother, Frank (1919–1941), who was also an assistant to his father, was killed in a road traffic accident near Cambridge, while serving as a corporal in the Army, aged 21.[3]

Pre-war golf career[edit]

Faulkner showed considerable talent when very young. He entered the first Daily Mirror Assistants' Tournament in September 1933, just two months after his 17th birthday. The event had prize money of £750, more than the Open Championship, and attracted 206 entries. There was a 36-hole qualifying contest on the first day, after which the leading 64 played match-play. Faulkner finished the stroke-play in a tie for 16th place.[4] The following day, despite suffering from a muscle problem in his back, he won his two matches, before losing the following day at the last-16 stage.[5]

Faulkner played with his father in the 1934 Sunningdale Foursomes, where they reached the semi-final before losing.[6] The second Daily Mirror Assistants' Tournament was played in late May 1934. Faulkner again qualified for the match-play stage but lost his first match.[7] Still aged 17, he entered the 1934 Open Championship at Royal St George's. He had two rounds of 76 to qualify for the main event.[8] In the championship he had two rounds of 78 and missed the cut.[9] In September he qualified for the final stage of the News of the World Match Play, winning his first match and losing at the last-32 stage.[10]

1935 was a less successful season for Faulkner. The Daily Mirror Assistants' Tournament became a stroke play event with sectional qualifying. Faulkner qualified well, finishing 4th in the strong Southern Section but missed the cut in the main tournament.[11] 1936 started poorly with Faulkner failing to qualify for the final stages of the Daily Mail Tournament. In April he moved from Bramley and took a position at Sonning Golf Club, east of Reading, Berkshire where Arthur Young was the professional. Faulkner was to be playing assistant and able to compete in all the leading tournaments.[12]

Faulkner entered the 1936 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. He just qualified with a score of 155 for the two qualifying rounds. Four steady rounds left him tied for 21st place in the championship.[13] At the end of July he had his best finish in an important tournament, the Daily Mirror Assistants' Tournament, despite starting with a 77. A final round course-record 66 lifted him into a tie for 3rd place.[14] In September he qualified for the final stage of the News of the World Match Play where he won two matches before losing to Percy Alliss at the last-16 stage.[15]

Faulkner was joint leader at the halfway stage of the 1937 Daily Mail Tournament but fell back with two rounds 78 on the final day.[16] The following week, in partnership with Stanley Anderson, he won the Addington Foursomes.[17] Faulkner was one of the leading qualifiers for the 1937 Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links, tying for 6th place. In the championship itself he had a second 83 and missed the cut. He again performed well in the Daily Mirror Assistants' Tournament, despite a poor first day. Final day rounds of 70 and 72 lifted him into 4th place.[18] The following week he finished 3rd in the Irish Open.[19]

In early 1938 Faulkner became the professional at Leamington Spa Golf Club. He had a less successful season but did finish tied for 4th in the Irish Open.[20] Faulkner left his position at Leamington in early 1939 and played the rest of the season as an unattached professional. He qualified for the 1939 Open Championship and was joint-leader after the first round with 70, eventually finishing tied for 23rd place. He again performed well in the Irish Open finishing tied for 7th place.[21]

War service[edit]

Faulkner had qualified for the final stage of the 1939 News of the World Match Play. The event was delayed until late April 1940 but Faulkner lost his first round match. Faulkner played relatively little golf during the war, although he played a number of exhibition matches in the winter of 1942/43.

During World War II Faulkner served in the RAF as a Physical Training (PT) instructor.[2] He took up boxing, becoming services champion.[22]

Post-war golf career[edit]

Faulkner's tournament career restarted immediately after the war. In September 1945 he was runner-up in the Daily Mail Tournament, a stroke behind Charlie Ward.[23]

During his career he won 16 regular tournaments in Europe, including three Spanish Opens, with his last being the 1968 Portuguese Open at the age of 52. He also won the PGA Seniors Championship on two occasions. His greatest achievement was his victory in the 1951 Open Championship at Royal Portrush. With a round still to be played he had a 6-stroke lead and is reported to have signed autographs with the postscript "1951 Open Champion".[24] Helped by what he called a "mystery guiding light",[25] he went on to finish with a score of 3 under par, two ahead of Antonio Cerdá, and said later "It was all I ever wanted. The Open meant everything to me."[26][27]

Faulkner played in five Ryder Cup matches, including the historic 1957 contest at Lindrick where the Great Britain team won for the first time since 1933.[26]

Faulkner was believed to have over 300 putters, always searching for the perfect one. He very rarely used a conventional set of clubs, sometimes having several of the same club with a variety of shaft lengths and flexes. He was known for his shotmaking ability, being able to make the ball curve in the air even on short lofted shots.[25]


In 2001, on the 50th anniversary of the Open triumph, Faulkner was honoured with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to golf.[24]


Faulkner lived in his later years at Pulborough, Sussex and died on 26 February 2005, aged 88, of pneumonia at St Richard's Hospital, Chichester.[1][2]

Professional wins (19)[edit]

Important wins (14)[edit]

Date Tournament Venue Winning score Margin of
10 May 1946 Dunlop-Southport Tournament Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club 79-74-72-71=296 1 stroke Australia Norman Von Nida
6 May 1949 Dunlop Tournament Wentworth Club 74-67-72-74=287 2 strokes England Sam King
24 Jun 1949 Penfold Tournament
(with England John Burton)
South Herts Golf Club 1 up (foursomes) England Dick Burton & Belgium Flory Van Donck
2 Sep 1949 Lotus Tournament Little Aston Golf Club 69-68-70-70=277 1 stroke England Charlie Ward
6 Jul 1951 The Open Championship Royal Portrush Golf Club 71-70-70-74=285 2 strokes Argentina Antonio Cerdá
11 Oct 1951 Dunlop Masters Wentworth Club 71-70-72-68=281 4 strokes England Reg Horne
2 May 1952 Dunlop Tournament Sunningdale Golf Club 68-73-67-65-72=345 7 strokes Scotland Tom Haliburton
19 Oct 1952 Spanish Open Madrid 275 2 strokes Scotland Tom Haliburton
19 Sep 1953 News of the World Match Play Ganton Golf Club 1 up Wales Dai Rees
18 Oct 1953 Spanish Open Madrid 271 6 strokes Spain Carlos Sellés
27 Oct 1957 Spanish Open Club de Campo Villa de Madrid 73-70-?-?=283 6 strokes England Henry Cotton
12 Jul 1959 Irish Hospitals Tournament Woodbrook Golf Club 67-65-74-68=274 4 strokes England Peter Alliss, Wales Dave Thomas
26 Aug 1962 Woodlawn Tournament (Germany) Woodlawn Golf Course 68-68-68-69=273 Playoff New Zealand Bob Charles
24 Nov 1968 Portuguese Open Estoril Golf Club 66-69-69-69=273 2 strokes Spain Ángel Gallardo

Other wins (3)[edit]

Senior wins (2)[edit]

Major championships[edit]

Wins (1)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1951 The Open Championship 6 shot lead −3 (71-70-70-74=285) 2 strokes Argentina Antonio Cerdá

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
The Open Championship CUT T21 CUT T23
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
The Open Championship NT NT NT NT NT NT CUT T32 T15 T6
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
The Open Championship T5 1 T17 12 T20 T35 T9 T16 CUT
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
The Open Championship CUT T20 T38 T10 CUT CUT CUT T30
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975
The Open Championship CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT

Note: Faulkner only played in The Open Championship.

  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut (3rd round cut in 1974 Open Championship)
"T" indicates a tie for a place

Team appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Fisher, Richard. "Faulkner, (Herbert Gustavus) Max (1916–2005), golfer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/96610.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d "Max Faulkner". Daily Telegraph. 2 March 2005. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Corpl. F. Faulkner". Surrey Advertiser. 27 September 1941. Retrieved 4 December 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ "Assistants' Tournament at Moor Park". The Times. 26 September 1933. p. 6.
  5. ^ "Assistant Professions' Championship". The Glasgow Herald. 27 September 1933. p. 19.
  6. ^ "The Sunningdale Foursomes". The Times. 2 April 1934. p. 3.
  7. ^ "Assistants at Wentworth". The Times. 31 May 1934. p. 7.
  8. ^ "The Qualifiers". The Glasgow Herald. 27 June 1934. p. 15.
  9. ^ "Cotton's lead at Sandwich". The Times. 29 June 1934. p. 6.
  10. ^ ""News of the World" Tournament". The Times. 20 September 1934. p. 5.
  11. ^ "Fine Performance by S.L. King". The Times. 12 July 1935. p. 5.
  12. ^ "M. Faulkner's Appointment". The Times. 24 April 1936. p. 6.
  13. ^ "Padgham Open Champion". The Times. 29 June 1936. p. 6.
  14. ^ "Winner Leads in Every Round". The Glasgow Herald. 31 July 1936. p. 20.
  15. ^ ""News of the World" Tournament". The Times. 17 September 1936. p. 5.
  16. ^ "Brilliant Final Rounds". The Glasgow Herald. 10 April 1937. p. 3.
  17. ^ "The Addington Foursomes". The Times. 15 April 1937. p. 6.
  18. ^ "Tie in Assistants's Tournament". The Glasgow Herald. 24 July 1937. p. 2.
  19. ^ "Gadd's winning round". The Glasgow Herald. 30 July 1937. p. 6.
  20. ^ "Locke comes from behind to win Irish "Open"". The Glasgow Herald. 22 July 1938. p. 4.
  21. ^ "Arthur Lees wins his first big tournament". The Glasgow Herald. 21 July 1939. p. 19.
  22. ^ Rees, Michael (February 2009). "Legends of the game ... Max Faulkner" (PDF). Tee Times. p. 50. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  23. ^ "Ward's one stroke victory at St Andrews". The Glasgow Herald. 22 September 1945. p. 4.
  24. ^ a b "Faulkner's reward for Open triumph". BBC Sport. 31 December 2001. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  25. ^ a b Alliss, Peter (1983). The Who's Who of Golf. Orbis Publishing. p. 240. ISBN 0-85613-520-8.
  26. ^ a b Farrell, Andy (2 March 2005). "Max Faulkner; Flamboyant golfer who won the Open in 1951". The Independent. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  27. ^ "Max Faulkner, former Open winner, dies aged 88". Golf Today. 2005. Retrieved 24 January 2010.