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FULLNAME: John H. Taylor
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JH Taylor grew up in a family of modest means. His father died when he was an infant and he was therefore obliged to start earning a living aged just 11. He worked as a caddy and general labourer at the nearby Westward Ho GC. Soon afterwards he was seconded to the greenkeeper's staff, a move which laid the foundation for his skill as a course designer later in life. At 19, he turned professional and worked at several clubs eventually settling at Royal Mid Surrey. Besides tuition and competition, he made money from making clubs.
He won his first Open in 1894 and would go on to win another three. Taylor was a stocky and strong man with the personality to match. His particular advantage over the opposition in golf was that he was able to maintain a consistent record in adverse weather conditions. Besides the Open he also won the French and German Opens.
Taylor played golf all his life; indeed he contested the 1924 Open aged 55. However his main achievement at this time was the formation of the PGA. He spoke publicly and helped to raise the profile of professional golfers.
In recognition of his achievements and contribution to golf, the R&A made him an honoury member in 1949. He retired from golf in 1957 and was honoured by Royal Birkdale, which he designed, with it's club presidency.
The World Golf Hall of Fame described accuracy as the hallmark of Taylor's game: "Taylor's accuracy was legendary. At Sandwich, where he won his first Open by five strokes in 1894, he would have the directional posts removed from the blind holes out of fear that his drives would hit them and carom into bunkers."
While Taylor spent many of his years following his playing career designing and remodeling golf courses around Britain, his biggest contribution came as a driving force behind the formation of the Professional Golfers Association in Britain. Taylor's public speaking helped raised the profile of the organization and of pro golfers in general.
Taylor authored a book on his career in golf entitled "Golf, My Life's Work."
Awards and Honors
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