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William (Willie) Park (Junior)

1864 - 1925

Golfing champion, businessman and noted golf course designer. Born in Musselburgh, the son of Willie Park Senior (1834 - 1903) and nephew of Mungo Park (1835 - 1904), Park was coached in the game from a young age and, with the assistance of his uncle, became the professional at Ryton (Northumberland, England) in 1880.

In 1884, he returned to Musselburgh to join his father in the family club and ball-making firm. He saw the business through the transition from 'feathery' to 'gutty' golf balls and invented the bulger driver (1885), followed by other novel clubs in succeeding years. He won the Open Championship twice; at Prestwick in 1887 and Musselburgh in 1889. Park was runner up in 1898, again at held at Prestwick. In 1896, he published the first instructional book written by a playing golf professional, The Game of Golf and followed this by The Art of Putting in 1920.

In 1897, Park bought premises in North Berwick, which he converted as a residence, workshop and shop. However, it was not long before he opened branches in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and London to sell his patented clubs, which he marketed through skillful advertising. Park went on to become one of the first and most prolific of golf course designers. He pioneered parkland courses at a time when links courses predominated and built around 170 courses in Europe, the USA and Canada including Sunningdale (Berkshire, England) which he laid out in 1901.

He visited the USA twice (1895-98 and 1916-19) promoting the sport and laying out new courses.

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