fbpx
archie baird

Remembering Archie Baird

No trip to Gullane is complete without a visit to the Heritage of Golf Museum. Its founder, Archie Baird, who has died aged 95, leaves a legacy as one of the sport's foremost historians
 

Gaping wide-eyed in wonder at the golfing treasures that filled every nook and cranny of the Heritage of Golf Museum was the only way to top off a day at Gullane Golf Club.

Whether it was cleeks and featheries, paintings, or rare books, the fruits of Archie Baird’s lifetime of collecting the sport’s memorabilia were on show for inquisitive minds and those keen to see the history of the game from its origins.

So it was no surprise that warm tributes filled the air when it was announced Baird, the well-known golf historian, museum curator and former Gullane captain, had died at the weekend aged 95.

His passion for collecting the game’s riches began in the early 1950s when visiting an auction in Edinburgh.

He spied a canvas bag full of old clubs and found the words W Park, Musselburgh, inscribed.

Not only did the first Open champion make them but Park Snr was also the great grandfather of Baird’s new wife, Sheila.

“I realised it would be a fascinating hobby to collect old golf clubs, and a rewarding one, because every junk shop in Edinburgh had them and nobody wanted them,” he said.

From there, a love was born and his collection was opened up to all when he established the museum, found next to the pro shop at Gullane, in 1980.

It became a destination for golfers from all of the world – with both the sport’s luminaries and weekend hackers among those to go on pilgrimage.

Last year, Baird, who lived in Aberlady, was given the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to the history of golf.

“We were saddened at the weekend to learn of the passing of Archie Baird, aged 95, the founder of our Heritage of Golf Museum,” said Gullane in a tweet.

“A warm and charming character, his knowledge and love for golf made him a great source of information for all who met him. We will all miss him dearly.”

Geoff Shackleford, Golf Channel contributor and senior writer at Golfweek, wrote on his blog: “We’ll never know the number of golfers he entertained, enlightened and informed, and it really doesn’t matter.

“Anyone who came into Archie Baird’s golf museum at Gullane got a crash course in golf.

“The great man has moved on to the Big 18 in the Sky, but his legacy lives on in his museum and the joy he gave golfers who made the pilgrimage to East Lothian.”

Writer Lorne Rubenstein added: “Many people on planet golf, including Ben Crenshaw, considered Archie one of the great golf historians. Archie loved foursomes (alternate shot) team golf and decried the emphasis on score and score alone as the emphasis of what he believed represented the heart of the game.”

Other tributes flowed in across the world of golf…

Baird, who had also been the historian at Muirfield, was a veterinarian for many years and said of his introduction to golf: “I knew when I qualified I couldn’t afford to get injured playing rugby and have a locum work for me so I thought golf was a good alternative.

“There were lots of marvellous municipal courses such as Braid Hills or Portobello. Two shillings and you were on.”

What a life that decision would bring.

Picture: @GullaneProShop. For more on the Heritage of Golf Museum, visit their website.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

Latest Posts

NCG magazine cover

Features

How to read the latest edition of National Club Golfer magazine

By

Read full article about How to read the latest edition of National Club Golfer magazine
England Golf Awards

Club

Heroes of the club game celebrated at historic England Golf Awards

By

Read full article about Heroes of the club game celebrated at historic England Golf Awards
How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?

Club

How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?

By

Read full article about How much do member subs contribute to the golf club budget?
Why your clubs have joining fees - and could they be improved?

Club

Why your clubs have joining fees – and could they be improved?

By

Read full article about Why your clubs have joining fees – and could they be improved?
penalty area in golf

Club

I think I’m in a penalty area but it’s not marked – can I get free relief?

By

Read full article about I think I’m in a penalty area but it’s not marked – can I get free relief?
committee for golf club salaries

Club

Want high standards on your golf course? Pay for them!

By

Read full article about Want high standards on your golf course? Pay for them!
visitor golf green fees

Club

How much did your club pull in from visitor green fees?

By

Read full article about How much did your club pull in from visitor green fees?
ground under repair

Club

Are tractor ruts considered ground under repair?

By

Read full article about Are tractor ruts considered ground under repair?
Preferred lies

Club

Can I switch my ball when taking preferred lies relief?

By

Read full article about Can I switch my ball when taking preferred lies relief?