Johnny Laidlay

Johnny Laidlay (2 Amateur's )

1860 - 1940

John Ernest Laidlay (5 November 1860 – 15 July 1940) was a Scottish amateur golfer. He invented the most popular golf grip used today, although the grip is credited to Harry Vardon, who took it up after Laidlay.

Laidlay was born in Seacliff, two miles east of North Berwick, East Lothian. He became quite prominent at golf while a schoolboy from 1872–1878 at the Loretto School in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh. Following completion of his education at Loretto, he moved to North Berwick and played out of the famous North Berwick Golf Club.

Laidlay won the British Amateur Championship twice, in 1889 and 1891, and was runner-up three more times, in 1888, 1890, and 1893, during a six-year stretch from 1888 to 1893. He was also runner-up in the 1893 Open Championship. He won over 130 amateur medals during his playing career, represented Scotland every year from 1902 to 1911, and also played cricket for Scotland. After World War I, he moved to Sunningdale, near London, where his former caddie Jack White was the club professional at the Sunningdale Golf Club. He has been called the 'last of the gentlemen golfers'.[1]

Laidlay was using the grip which was credited to Harry Vardon for some years before either Vardon or J.H. Taylor adopted it. The grip is taken by overlapping the little finger of the bottom hand between the forefinger and middle fingers of the top hand, with thumbs pointing down and the remaining fingers of both hands wrapping around the club, with the club held lightly. The lead thumb should fit into the palm, along the lifeline of the trailing hand. Since 1900, most professionals, top amateurs, and average players around the world have adopted this grip, known as the Vardon or overlapping grip. Probably 90% of the world's golfers use it, although there are exceptions, including Jack NicklausTiger Woods, and Gene Sarazen.

Laidlay also played one match for the Scotland national cricket team in 1878.[2]

Laidlay died on 15 July 1940 at Sunningdale, England. He is best remembered as a 2-time winner of the British Amateur Championship and the first golfer to employ the overlapping grip.