Jackson’s Register lists John (Jack) Robert Hunter as professional at West Kilbride from at least 1903 to 1914. I think this conflates father and son John and Robert. John is listed on the 1891 census as Golf Greenkeeper, living at Arthur Street in West Kilbride and already 44 years old. His son, Robert, is living there also with his parents as siblings and is employed as an apprentice plumber.
Jumping forward to the 1911 census, Robert is living in the Golf House with a younger brother and sister and is described as a golf greenkeeper. It seems reasonable to assume he has taken over from his father. Greenkeeper and professional were generally synonymous at that time and greenkeeper was certainly the more frequently used term in Ayrshire. Residence in the “Golf House” confirms his status as what we now term a professional.
Born in 1885, the history page of the club website described him as ‘an outstanding green keeper’. I have not found mention of him in professional competitions but any career was cut short by the war. He served as a Lance-Corporal in the 1st Batallion, Cameron Highlanders and died at the Somme on 20 January 1917. He is buried in the Dernancourt Communal Cemetery extension and commemorated on the West Kilbride War Memorial.
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