The Devil grasps a hold of golf ball maker Allan Robertson ?

A lithograph of Alan Robertson, golf professional. Considered the Grandfather of Modern Golf.

Alan Robertson 1857

Most feather golf ball makers realizing that their livelihood was in danger, sold off large quantities of their feathery golf ball inventory to their major clients, and immediately turned their attention to developing and producing the new golf clubs that would be required by the players using the new gutta percha golf balls. However, there were those that were less pragmatic, such as Alan Robertson, who derided the new "high tech" golf ball and was vehement in his support of the classic feather stuffed ball. Robertson at one point in time, purchased as many gutta percha golf balls as he could, and set them ablaze in a bid to stop the balls from reaching his customers. 

Now, paradox at its best. You see with the guttie, "the best players began to use irons to hit approach shots to the greens, striking down on the ball to send it up into the air with greater distance control than was possible using the old technique. Allan Robertson is credited with being the first to adopt this style, which helped him become the first golfer known to have broken 80 for 18 holes on the Old Course in St. Andrews." (Just Hit It, Frank Thomas) 

To further the paradox Robertson died a few months later in 1859, the year before the first Open Championship was held thus making Robertson the first "Greatest player to never win a major".


A museum display showing Alan Robertsonat work making feather golf ball.

Alan Robertson working in his golf ball factory
Display at British Golf Museum



Alan Robertson's grave marker in the St. Andrews Cemetery.

A light hearted look at the history of the golf ball

To learn more about Alan Robertson or the "the feather golf ball", continue your search here.....


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