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Antique Golf Clubs from Scotland
A G Robertson
St Andrews/Rock Island
A G Robertson Alexander Gilchrist Robertson, the son of Alex Robertson, a blacksmith, and his wife, Elsie Alexander, was born in St Andrews on 16 June 1886 and grew up living at 5 Union Street.

He served a clubmaking apprenticeship in Tom Morris’s shop and, during this time, established himself as a leading player in the St Andrews Club and in representing the town in matches against other towns and villages. He was the runner-up in the Tait Memorial Medal in 1903. The victor in the match play final, William Brown, would be one of the pallbearers at Alex’s funeral in Chicago just over a decade later.

In 1906 he emigrated. He sailed on the Campania from Liverpool, arriving in New York on 24 March. His destination was given as Beaconsfield Golf Club in Montreal, however, it is at the Victoria club in that city where he turns up as professional. He twice set new records for the course that year and finished tied for second in the 1906 Canadian Open. Many matches were played to popularise the game in the city, a four green match on the home courses of Robertson, Davie and Jimmy Black and Peter Hendrie in foursomes, four ball and two ball in October 1906. A match he played with Charles Murray against the Black brothers the following year was described as ‘the most exciting match yet played by the professionals of the various clubs’ by the Montreal Star.

Alex left Montreal in February 1908 to become professional at the Milwaukee Country Club. The relative newness of professional golf in Wisconsin can be seen by the fact that a professional event of five players, including Robertson and Bob Simpson was tacked on to the end of the state amateur championship in 1910.

Sometime after the Western Open in the autumn of that year he moved to the Rock Island Arsenal club in Illinois. The local papers in 1911 and 1912 regularly ran reports of Robertson lowering the course record, first to 71 and eventually to 67. He played in the Western Open in Chicago from Rock Island in 1911 and but for the brilliance of Macdonald Smith would have won. Smith had trailed behind him for three rounds then overturned a two stroke advantage in the final round to leave Robertson as runner-up.

He set up one of Tom Bendelow's (Spalding) indoor courses at Rock Island.

In 1914 he was to have become the professional at the new Winnetka CC but fell ill and died in Lakeside Hospital, Chicago, of 'typhoid-pneumonia' in April of that year. The influence of St Andrews players on early Chicago golf can be seen by the fact that his six pallbearers all came from St Andrews including George Braid, William Yeoman and Jim Herd.

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