Henry Cotton

Henry Cotton (3 Open's, 4 Ryder Cup's, 2 Ryder Cup Captain's)

1907 - 1987

Sir Thomas Henry CottonMBE (26 January 1907 – 22 December 1987), was an English professional golfer known for winning three Open Championships.

Cotton started his career as a professional golfer at the age of 17 when he joined his younger brother Leslie as assistant teaching professional at Fulwell Golf Club under Fulwell's professional, George Oke, who had been at Honor Oak until 1921.[2][3][4]

Cotton was known for working extremely hard at his game, often practising until his hands bled. Cotton placed great emphasis upon accuracy and differed from modern golf teachers in the great emphasis he placed upon the role of the hands in the golf swing. Although emphasis was given to a correct grip, he also emphasised the need to build up the strength of the hands and forearms. The competition golfer, equipped with such assets could counter an off centre strike off the face of the club and still achieve a powerful, yet accurate shot. He also stated the need to "educate the hands" in that the competitive golfer had to achieve an awareness of the position of the hands during the golf swing itself, something modern teachers have not stressed greatly, preferring a more passive role for the hands.[citation needed]

He achieved fame during the 1930s and 1940s, with three victories in The Open Championship (1934, 1937, and 1948). His record round of 65, made during the 1934 Open Championship, led to the Dunlop golf company issuing the famous 'Dunlop 65' ball. Cotton placed 17 times in the top-10 at the Open. Cotton also succeeded in winning many titles on the European circuit during the 1930s. During this period he was a professional at the Ashridge Golf Club.[citation needed]

During World War II he served with the Royal Air Force, and raised money for the Red Cross by playing exhibition matches and shows. This earned him an MBE. At this time he was stationed at RAF Halton and was closely involved with what is now the Chiltern Forest Golf club. He added three holes to the course (taking it from 6 to 9) and made other improvements.[citation needed]

Cotton was a member of four British Ryder Cup teams, and served as captain of the team in 1947 and 1953. He competed only occasionally in the United States, without notable success.