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Antique Golf Clubs from Scotland
Rowland Oswald
Dundee/Fishers Island
Rowland Oswald (often written Roland and, in Carnoustie, seemingly always abbreviated to Rol.) was born in Carnoustie on 29 April 1907 to David Oswald, a shoemaker, and his wife, Jessie, née Wood.

He served a clubmaking apprenticeship in Carnoustie with Robert Simpson then took up a post as an instructor at David Low’sshop and golf school in Dundee in 1927.

Later that year, described on the ship’s manifest as a golf club maker, he sailed from Glasgow on 17 August aboard the Cameronia for New York and began his golfing career in the US as assistant professional at the Trenton Country Club in New Jersey. His first winter was spent as assistant at the Ormond Beach club in Florida, the course frequented by John D Rockefeller Sr. In 1928 he was appointed professional at the new Donald Ross designed course at the Linnville Golf Club in North Carolina which opened with an exhibition foursome in August. In the winter he was again assistant to William Potts at Ormond Beach. After another season at Linnville he went back to Carnoustie for the winter.

On his return he became an instructor at the Fishers Island Club in New York and came to the attention of A P Beach, proprietor of The Lodge at Basin Harbor, Vermont, who enticed him to come as professional to the Vergennes Country Club at Basin Harbor. He began in June 1930 and served the club until the end of the 1934 season, playing in US Open qualifying in 1932, the 1933 Glen Falls Open and, at the end of the 1934 season the Miami Open. He stayed the winter in Miami and although one Miami newspaper associated him with Chicago another described him as ‘a New Yorker’ and, as those he was playing with and against were professionals or members at Fishers Island, perhaps he was back there at that point. He was certainly there as an assistant again in September 1937. In New York he enlisted in May 1941 and was assigned to the 902nd Ordnance Heavy Automotive Maintenance Company and was promoted to become its First Sergeant in 1943. He reminisced at Camp Livingston in Louisiana of playing golf against Prince Kumiko Funoye at Vergennes when the son of the former Japanese prime minister was captain of the Princeton golf team.

After the war he married Alice Toppin and returned to Fishers Island where he remained until retiring to Palm Beach, FL, in 1967. He died in Palm Beach on 2 December 1997.

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