William (Willie) Park (Senior)

1834 - 1903

Golfing champion. Born in Wallyford, the son of a farm-worker and brother of noted golfers Mungo Park (1835 - 1904) and David Park, and father of Willie Park Junior (1864 - 1925), Park was introduced to golf at a young age and began to earn a wage as a caddie at Musselburgh. With 'Old' Tom Morris (1821 -1908), Park dominated the Open Championship in its early years, winning the very first Open, held in Prestwick in 1860, and going on to repeat this feat in 1863, 1866 and 1875. He was the runner-up on four further occasions. For twenty years, Park laid an open challenge to any other golfer for a wager of the enormous sum of £100. Old Tom Morris was one of the few who took him up on this and the stake moved between them on several occasions.

Park had established himself as a top player and the best-known of golf's leading family of the 19th century. He served as the professional at several clubs and established a company making clubs and balls in 1870, which was based for a time in North Berwick and later developed by his son. Park also laid out several golf courses, some alone and some either in partnership with his brother Mungo or with his son, although he never gained the reputation which was enjoyed by his son as a course designer.

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