Scottish Golf Courses

Old Tom's first shop found

Exciting find adds another piece to the jigsaw of man described as the ‘Grandfather of golf’

A LOCAL St Andrews golf writer has made a fascinating discovery while carrying out research for a book on Old Tom Morris.

Author Roger McStravick was able to identify the location of Tom Morris‘ first shop thanks to details given in a precognition statement by Morris himself in 1878.

It reveals how Morris had built his own shop beside the Old Course at what is today, 15 The Links.

McStravick made the discovery in manuscripts from the Golf Collection in the University of St Andrews Special Collections Department, which possesses records that go back centuries, and he is delighted with the find.

Dr Anthony Parker, the curator of the Golf Collection at the University of St Andrews, says the writer’s research is a shining example of what can be achieved from the university’s collection.

He said: “We are all very excited by this find. This news of Tom Morris’ first shop is very likely to be the first of many findings.”

Peter Crabtree, co-author of a book on Tom Morris, heralded the finding: “I am always delighted when new research reveals more about Tom Morris. He was a rare character who, in addition to being a four times Open champion, helped create the Old Course in St Andrews as we know it today.

“The front-nine is virtually his own work under the auspices of the R&A Greens Committee. We owe so much to Tom Morris and I am delighted the location for his very first shop, at what was a crucial moment in his life, has been discovered.”

Sheila Walker, a great granddaughter to Tom Morris, also welcomed the news: “There has been a lot of study around my great grandfather and it’s always very exciting when new finds are discovered.

“Roger’s work highlights just how essential the university’s golf collection is to golf historians. I understand the University has ambitions to create a dedicated centre for golf-related materials in St Andrews and this recent finding is proof how vital and appropriate it is to have the centre of all golf knowledge in St Andrews.”

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