The Golfing Strath family of St Andrews
St Andrews: Fine Golf Books, 2022. 174p, Full leather, slipcase. 65 numbered and signed copies.
Design by award winning designer Chic Harper, winner of the U.S.G.A. and Murdoch best book of the year multiple occasions.
THE STRATH FAMILY NAME is indelibly written into the history of golf. It can be seen on the Champion's Belt, the original Open Championship trophy, and recurs in the record books and annals of the great game. However, the overall achievements and contributions of a single generation of this golfing family remain largely unsung.
This final book by the late Dr David Malcolm, co-written by Noel Terry, constitutes an attempt to establish the rightful place of the Straths in the firmament of golf
in the 19th century and highlight their contribution
to the evolution of the modern game. It is also the story
of the emergence of a family in a remote Scottish royal burgh in Victorian Britain.
The mid-19th century provided opportunities aplenty in the expanding cities, the sprawling products of the Industrial Revolution, but in the isolated Scottish township of StAndrews, largely by-passed by commerce, the chance for betterment of the individual was limited. Those with
an eye to self-improvement were left with the option
of taking their craft skills to the cities or emigrating to
the New World or the Colonies. Golf proved to be the salvation of the town and, for other than the academic families of its ancient University, it provided a living
– none more so than for the Strath family.
Alexander Strath and his seven sons were representative of time and place. Although all of the Strath brothers were talented in the game, their relative successes were regulated by character. Alexander, John
and James were happy to play whilst plying their trade
as plumbers; George was content as a journeyman golf professional and club servant with apparently little appetite for the contest. Only Andrew and Davie seemed prepared to enter the golfing fray, whilst Willie withdrew from competition to the life of a caddy.
This book paints this picture with the intention
of providing an insight into the development of modern golf whilst describing the life and times of the Strath family in it. It is intended as a social as well as a golfing story.
Dr David Malcolm, golf historian and author of the definitive book on Old Tom Morris 'Tom Morris of StAndrews,The Colossus of Golf, 1821-1908' died in June 2011. On completing his writing of this book on the Straths in April that year, he handed over the manuscript and images to book designer Chic Harper to produce. David specified how he wanted the book to look, and both he and his wife, Ruth, approved the first design visuals.
The result is a wonderfully informative and amply illustrated production, exactly the same dimensions as'Colossus', so the two books might sit together comfortably on any bookshelf, in tribute to its very popular author.
There was only one generation of golfing Straths. It was a generation that inherited the spirit of Scottish song and dance; a generation that grew up under the stern Presbyterian traditions
of St Andrews, 'the auld grey toon', facing the wrath of the Kirk Session for their fornications and doubtless other moral transgressions. They were a generation that flourished in the respite of the links when they took up their clubs and balls and cast aside the censure of the Kirk to wager on their play. And it was on the links that they escaped from the grey of their working day and sparkled like stars in the golfing firmament of StAndrews, Musselburgh and Prestwick.
Strath brothers also travelled and helped build the game in England and the USA. Indeed, it was this generation of the Straths, the Morrises and the Parks and others like them that made the modern game of golf and made it the Great Game.
Noel Terry's research in Australia into finding Davie Strath's will and unmarked grave enthused David Malcolm and inspired him to work with Noel to tell the story of the entire Strath family. The reader will enjoy the vigour and clarity of David's prose and his skill as a storyteller, which recalls the vitality of his own personal discourse.
THE 1865 EDITION
• Limited to 65 copies • Each copy is numbered
• Bound in green Wintan Safia Green, 85% genuine
leather fibres, with ribbon and head & tail bands
• Cover title, authors and spine lettering in gold foil
• Sits within a green Brillianta cloth bound slip case,
with a printed image of four Strath brothers applied
within a debossed border on the front
• 174 pages, 230mm x 288mm, printed on 150gsm
premium silk art paper • Over 100 images. Item #10536