Simpson's of Carnoustie

  • Robert Simpson's Original 'Golf Club & Ball Maker' Shop on Links Parade, Carnoustie

Robert Simpson, also known as Bob Simpson, was the Great Grandfather of Jonny Williamson and is well known as one of the greatest golf club makers of all time.

He was appointed professional at the Dalhousie Golf Club in 1883. Robert was one of six brothers - Jack won the Open championship at Prestwick in 1884. Both Robert and Archie also had several good performances in the Open, the highlight being Archie's runners-up spots in 1885 at St Andrews and in 1890 at Prestwick. Robert finished 3rd in 1885.

Not only were the Simpsons fine club makers and players they were exceptional teachers, with Archie being credited with the "Carnoustie Swing", his most notable pupil being Stewart Maiden who after emigrating to America counted champion Bobby Jones who in 1930 won the grand slam of golf among his pupils.

Robert Simpson apprenticed with George Forrester, Elie/Earlsferry and Robert Forgan, St. Andrews. In 1883 at the age of twenty, he was hired as the head golf professional, greens keeper, club and ball maker, and instructor for the Dalhousie Golf Club in Carnoustie, Scotland. He remained there until his death in 1923. Robert was not only a golf professional but a course designer of some quality, counting a re-design with his friend Old Tom Morris of the Carnoustie links around 1890, Robert was well trained by his friend Old Tom and is credited with several designs including Royal Aberdeen, Crieff, Oban, Linlithgow, Alyth, Blair Atholl and Edzell. 

Robert had many apprentices who learned not only golf but the art of club making from him, a lot of them later travelled to America and other parts of the world taking the Simpson skill with them. Robert was a craftsman and an innovator in his club making & design, each club being inspected by Robert himself before it could be sold or shipped around the world to one of his many customers. 

While professional golfers in that long ago era were looked upon as second class citizens, Robert was able to gain the respect of his community and attain a lofty social stature. He not only excelled in the golf business but also enjoyed the arts, associated with royalty and political leaders, and was active in the community. Some of his friends were old Tom Morris, Winston Churchill, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

© Jack Mishler/JLM Golf, 16903 E. De Anza Drive, Fountain Hills, AZ, 85268

To buy your copy of "Robert Simpson, Carnoustie" by Jack Mishler click here.