Willie Campbell

Full Name
William Campbell
Year of Birth
Year of Death
1900 (aged 38)
Place Born
Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland
Place Died
Dorchester, Massachusetts, USA

Willie was runner-up in the Open of 1886. The following year he was assistant to Prestwick's Charles Hunter, finishing third in the Open there with a disastrous 9 after finding a bunker on the 16th. Harold Hilton recounts entering Hunter’s shop after the tournament and seeing two upturned buckets. On one sat Campbell, on the other his caddy, both weeping bitterly. antiquegolfscotland.com

Willie Campbell was born in Musselburgh and caddied for the three-time Open champion Bob Ferguson when he played on the local links. He played in five of the first six Open championships at Prestwick before finishing second in 1886, which was the closest he ever came to winning the event.

He had another near-miss the following year, actually, when the tournament was again played at Prestwick, where he had become the professional. Playing in torrential rain and a howling wind, Willie found a deep bunker (later named “Campbell’s Grave”) on the 16th and took several shots to extricate himself from the hazard, falling away into third place.

“Match play rather than stroke play was Campbell's forte, winning many money matches. In 1886, he defeated Willie Park twice over Musselburgh and North Berwick, beat the champion David Brown and had victories over Bob Martin and Willie Fernie,” commented Melvyn Morrow on golfclubatlas.com.

He moved on to Ranfurly Castle in Renfrewshire, where he designed the club’s 9-hole course and laid out several others (including The Machrie) before heading to America to become the first professional at Brookline Country Club in Boston.

“Campbell suffered from a rheumatic condition and immigrated to America in 1894 – setting up shop in Boston,” said Tom MacWood on golfclubatlas.com. “1894 was a critical year for golf in Boston and the United States. There were four major projects that year: the expansion of Brookline, the laying out of the first nines at Essex County, Quincy (Wollaston) and Mypoia Hunt. Campbell was responsible for all four. Considering the importance of these courses, particularly Brookline and ...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Willie Campbell


2nd Renfrewshire - Best in Area 81st Scotland Ranking

The Kilmacolm Golf Club has been called “the finest village golf club in the country” by a former club captain and “a very pleasant golfing place” by none other than Walter Hagen...


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Myopia Hunt

4th Massachusetts - Best in Area 51st USA Ranking 58th North America Ranking

Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton Massachusetts started out in life way back in 1882. So many of the original "horsey" members were bespectacled that they decided to call the club Myopia.


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Old Course Ranfurly

8th Renfrewshire - Best in Area

Known locally as Old Ranfurly, the Old Course Ranfurly Golf Club is a challenging, undulating, moorland course with magnificent views across the Clyde to Ben Lomond.


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Ranfurly Castle

3rd Renfrewshire - Best in Area 92nd Scotland Ranking

There is a hint of Gleneagles at Ranfurly Castle Golf Club, a mixture of heathland and moorland holes. A hidden gem if ever there was one.


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2nd Cumbria - Best in Area

Seascale Golf Club fits neatly into a small area, overlooked by the Sellafield Power Station, but providing views of the Isle of Man and the Lakeland Hills...


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2nd Rhode Island - Best in Area

Wannamoisett Country Club is home to a classical Donald Ross jewel set in the middle of New England. Considered to be one of Ross’s favourite designs, the par 69 layout is routed across a meagre 104 acres.


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Willie Campbell Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Jim McCann Courses Played 5
2 Paul Rudovsky Courses Played 4
3 Bob McCoy Courses Played 4
4 Gordon Thomson Courses Played 4
5 Fergal O'Leary Courses Played 4
6 Pam Allen Courses Played 4
7 Jon Gillman Courses Played 4
8 Martin Jordan Courses Played 4
9 Joseph Andriole Courses Played 4
10 Marc Bender Courses Played 3