The 1921 Open Golf Championship was held at St Andrews on 23 – 25 June 1921. The 1921 census was held on 19 June 1921 and our records show many golfers and journalists were already in the town. These records give us a unique insight into the golfing world a hundred years ago.
The census records golf professionals from around the globe including Spain, France and Australia. The winner was Jock (John) Hutchison who was born and bred in St Andrews but emigrated to USA before the WW1 and became the first American citizen to win the open.
Born John Waters Hutchison in St Andrews 1884, he is recorded in the 1901 census as a golf caddie but we see him in the 1921 census at the Links Hotel and his employer is Glenview Golf Club, Chicago, Illinois. Just a few days after census night he would go on to win the Open in a play-off with English amateur Roger Wethered. Hutchison had rounds of 74 and 76 for a total of 150 while his English opponent Roger Wethered scored 77, 82 for 159. He completed his journey from golf caddie to World Open Champion in 20 years.
On the day of the census in 1921 the 43 room Royal Hotel in St Andrews) was close to capacity. Hotel guests included James Douglas Edgar, a British born golfer who had emigrated to the USA after the war and played professionally for the USA team. His employer was recorded as Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta USA. John Currie, the publisher of Golf Monthly, which takes pride in being the oldest golf magazine in the world, was also a guest at the hotel. The Open was also an unmissable sales and promotion opportunity for some companies. William G Morgan and Walter Simnet are listed as ‘commercial travellers – Golf Balls’ employed by Dunlop Rubber Toy Company, Birmingham.
The 17 bedroom Alexandra Hotel had 31 people staying there on census day including -Frank Sharman Journalist and Arthur Hallis Press Photographer from Manchester both employed by Associated Newspapers Ltd also from the same area is a photographic assistant Elsie Dyson employed by F Foxall and Co.
The Common Lodging House in Baker Lane sees seven men living there their occupations are recorded as Tramp (Caddy) and their ages range from 33 to 78. Perhaps they managed to find some work during The Open?
The Open’s website has more information on this interesting year for the competition.