Old Tom Morris

Full Name
Thomas Mitchell Morris
Year of Birth
1821
Year of Death
1908, aged 87
Place Born
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
Place Died
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

World Golf Hall of Fame – Class of 1976: Old Tom Morris didn’t invent the game of golf, but he is recognized as the sport’s founding father. He played in the first 36 British Opens, winning four times, and sired a son, Tom Morris Jr., who won the world’s oldest golf championship four times on his own.

In 1835, at the age of fourteen, Old Tom was apprenticed to Allan Robertson, who most historians consider as the first golf professional, and he worked in his mentor’s St Andrews workshop making golf balls and clubs. It’s said they were never beaten in a challenge match when paired together – especially in high stakes matches such as one for £400 against the Dunns of Musselburgh in 1849.

Unfortunately, they had a major disagreement when the gutta percha ball first made its appearance. Robertson insisted on playing the old, more expensive, featherie ball (which his firm supplied) but his protégé realized that the future lay with the new ball and so they parted company, with Old Tom heading off to become Keeper of the Greens at Prestwick in 1851.

As a player, Old Tom won four of the first eight Opens, which were all held at Prestwick. His son Young Tom, who he would outlive by 33 years, then won the next four titles in consecutive years, but he passed away broken-hearted at the age of 24 on Christmas Day in 1875, only months after his wife and baby had died during childbirth.

Old Tom Morris had returned to St Andrews a decade earlier, in 1865, to look after the upkeep of The Old Course, which had apparently fallen into a state of disrepair. Applying techniques he’d developed at Prestwick, he built two new greens on the 1st and 18th and re-turfed the fairways on both holes. He would remain in post until 1903, a total of thirty-nine years.

From around the death of Young Tom until his retirement, Old Tom was involved in the design or remodelling of more than sixty courses around the British Isles. He travelled far and wide on commissions, from Dornoch in the north...

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Old Tom Morris

Alyth

6th Perth & Kinross - Best in Area 89th Scotland Ranking

Alyth Golf Club, in the Vale of Strathmore, is a little off the main Scottish golfing tracks, but is well worth the deviation away from other more well known courses.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Arbroath

9th Angus & Dundee - Best in Area

Home to Arbroath Artisan Golf Club, Old Tom Morris designed Arbroath Golf Links in 1877. This little known course lies a mere five miles up the North Sea coast from Carnoustie.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Askernish

13th North Scotland - Best in Area 98th Scotland Ranking

The Askernish golf course was created by Old Tom Morris back in 1891 but over the years, it fell into disrepair. In 2008 the Askernish Golf Club came back to life.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Callander

Gem Scotland - Best in Area

Callander Golf Club is set in the heart of the Trossachs and Old Tom Morris originally laid out this short but historic course.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Castletown

1st Isle of Man Ranking

Castletown Golf Links is located at the southeastern tip of the Isle of Man on a triangular links headland which is bordered on three sides by the Irish Sea.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Cleeve Hill

6th Gloucestershire - Best in Area

Like Woodhall Spa, Cleeve Hill is a rarity among golf courses in that it is easier to play to one’s handicap by stepping back to the medal tees which measure 6,448 yards with a par of 72.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Cleveland

15th Yorkshire - Best in Area

Dating back to 1887, Cleveland Golf Club is one of the oldest clubs in Yorkshire and its 18-hole course just happens to be the only true links layout in the county.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Crail (Balcomie)

13th Fife - Best in Area 74th Scotland Ranking

The Balcomie Links is the relatively modern home of the Crail Golfing Society, the ninth oldest golf club in the world, which was formed in 1786.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade

Crieff (Ferntower)

10th Perth & Kinross - Best in Area

Located at the “gateway to the Highlands”, Crieff Golf Club is surrounded by dramatic scenery with views over the Strathearn Valley.

Read More >>

Average Reviewers Score:
TaylorMade