The McEwan Family
(Source: © 2013-2021, Douglas MacKenzie)
A family tree for the McEwan family of clubmakers from 1771-1971. The names in black are clickable for further information which is why only the grey names have birth date information beside them.
The McEwans were a power in clubmaking in Scotland and beyond for two centuries but were not particularly innovative in naming their children. Four Peters, two Douglases, Jameses and Williams are not so easy to keep track off, hence the interactive family tree here.
James McEwan started making clubs at Bruntsfield Links in the late 18th century and his grandson moved the firm to Musselburgh in 1847. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers had reformed and moved to the town in 1836 and disagreements between the Edinburgh Burgess and Bruntsfield Golfing Societies led to the latter playing some of their competitions at Musselburgh from 1845 and, ultimately, both clubs moving to there for a number of years.
The quality of their clubs is without question with some writers, including Bernard Darwin, finding their putters superior to those of Philp which were more frail, perhaps influenced by his customer Allan Robertson who, the Rev J G McPherson tells us ‘played with very light clubs’. Over time they secured the right to sell clubs at Royal Epping and at Formby, providing a family member as professional yet I do not recall ever seeing an advertisement from McEwan for clubs. Yes, advertisements for McEwan clubs, many retailers such as Wisden & Co, Scott Hunt & Co in Southampton, Frank Bird in Sheffield or, further afield, P C Allan in Toronto were pleased to announce the availability of the firm’s products through them but the McEwans themselves did not seem to feel the need to advertise. Alex Doleman, a renowned amateur golfer who did much to encourage the laying out of courses on the Lancashire coast was a childhood friend of Peter McEwan (and perhaps not totally impartial with his brother being a manager in the firm) wrote a glowing eulogy in Golf in September 1895 also noted that ‘as a clubmaker he was not “up-to-date”. He never pushed his business; seldom advertised; and even now McEwan’s clubs are not known in the scores of places where Golf has of late been introduced’.
19th century McEwan clubs in the catalogue
20th century McEwan clubs in the catalogue