Wilfrid E. Reid  (1884 - 1973)

Wilfrid Ewart Reid, PGA       

Golf Professional, International Competitor and Golf Course Designer


Wilfrid Reid accomplished a great deal to advance the game of golf in his lifetime.  Look at the reach of golf today largely as a result of the energy and dedication of his generation, the generation that sparked the Golden Age of Golf in America, the vast international growth of the sport and the resulting goodwill that golf engenders throughout much of the world.  This was his often stated dream.  

                                                                                                                        By Bill Zmistowski, Grandson

                                                        BIOGRAPHY OF A GOLF PIONEER 

                                                                  February 1, 2019

- DRAFT -     




BORN November 3, 1884 in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, England  

DIED  November 24, 1973 in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA   


Wilfrid E. Reid was one of the pioneer British professional golfers that brought the game over during what is now known in America as "Golf's Golden Age". [18]   He distinguished himself in golf as a leading international competitor, club professional at some of the finest clubs in golf including La Boulie in Paris, Seminole GC in South Florida, Indianwood in Detroit and Bansted Downs in London, exceptional golf instructor and yet was one of the accomplished golf course designers of his era.  Reid was in many ways a true renaissance man not to mention a prolific pioneer during the early eras of golf's spread from Scotland into the rest of the British Isles, around the world and throughout America. [11]   

Early Years

Wilfrid Reid was mentored by and a protege of one of golf's greatest icons, Harry Vardon. [7]   As such Reid was afforded the opportunity to associate with and compete against Britain's golfing immortals, Vardon,  J.H. Taylor,  James Braid and Ted Ray.  During this era of golf history Wilfrid quickly developed as an excellent British professional golfer.

Young Wilfrid served an apprenticeship with Willie Park, Jnr. learning golf course design.  As a teenager he was sent to Scotland for training at The Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society for a few years by his home course artisans club initially to learn golf ball and club making, then with Park, Jnr. learning golf course design. Now known as The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh, The Burgess is widely recognized as the oldest golfing society in the world dating back to 1735.  At the turn of the 19th century Edinburgh Burgess undoubtedly offered excellent, expert training at the highest levels for young aspiring apprentices like him to develop their knowledge of and skills in the business and professions of golf.  This was the era of rapid expansion of Scotland's ancient game of golf into England, Wales and Ireland.  Willie Park Jnr. was twice British Open Champion and a prolific golf course designer, Sunningdale Old Course among his most notable designs.  The Parks of Musselburgh were famous golfers, architects and club makers.  Willie Park, Snr. had won the first (British) Open Championship in 1860.  [29]

At age 14 Wilfrid watched Harry Vardon play an exhibition match and decided then he would like to become a professional golfer[  ]  By age 15 he was assistant golf professional at his home course, the (old) Notts Golf Club, in Bulwell, Nottingham, England.  In 1901 at age 17, after his apprenticeship he was referred by Vardon to the Seacroft Golf Club for his first head golf professional position. [7] [8]   Seacroft GC, located in Skegness on the East Coast of England, had strong ties to his hometown, Nottingham, in middle England. [6]  At this time teenage Wilfrid Reid was proudly known as "The Skegness Professional". [  ]

Harry Vardon then referred Reid to the Racing Club de France for the head golf professional position at La Boulie in Versailles where he remained for several years (circa 1902-1906) assisting this renown Parisian athletic club with the establishment of their golf program.  RCF de la Boulie was founded in 1901.  Wilfrid Reid was the original designer of the Valley course in 1903 together with the greenkeeper, M. Tellier, and possibly in collaboration with Willie Park, Jnr. who later remodeled the course.  Reid may have been their first head golf professional but RCF de la Boulie has indicated they do not have records of this period anymore as the Nazi's occupied the clubhouse and destroyed all of the club's records during WWII.

During this time in his life Reid was living in France and found time to compete in Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France as well as at home in England and Scotland.  He was also designing golf courses primarily in France and Belgium.

Golf Professional and Golf Course Designer

As a competitive professional golfer Reid completed 72 holes in 19 British and U.S. Open Championships (10 British and 9 U.S. Opens) beginning at age 18.  He held or tied for the lead 5 times only missing the cut twice in his competitive years.  He tied for 10th in the 1915 U.S. Open at Baltusrol.  He tied for 4th with Walter Hagen and John McDermott in the 1916 U.S. Open at Minikahda.  In 1917 and 1918 the US Open was suspended due to Workd War I and he was medalist in the substitute 1918 PGA Red Cross war benefit match play tournament at Inwood CC in New York.  

Reid played in approximately 57 Opens.  He won the 1905 French Professional Championship ( forerunner of the 1906 inaugural of the French Open at La Boulie ), the Italian Open, 1904 Swiss Open and the Windsor Open in Canada.  He won the 1911 Belgian and German Opens, won the 1924 Augusta Open defeating Gene Sarazen, won the 1926 Michigan PGA Championship and other professional championships and challenge matches including many in England prior to emigrating to the U.S.  

Wilfrid Reid was known in his day as a great player of challenge matches and exhibition matches for years in both Great Britain and America.  He rarely lost, beat his mentor, Vardon, and other members of golf's Great Triumvirant on a few occasions.  By 1913 Wilfrid had become a well known international competitor.

Introduction to the United States

In 1913 Wilfrid Reid, Harry Vardon, Ted Ray and Louis Tellier sailed to America together to compete in the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline.  The Boston Globe newspaper headlines referred to this as the 'British Invasion'. [  ]  In the first round Reid tied with Harry Vardon at 75. [33]

Of course young American amateur, Francis Ouimet, won this defining championship.  Reid shared the 36 hole lead with Vardon at 147.  In the third round Wilfrid was paired with Ouimet. [2]  [  ]  Then in the fourth round he faltered as a result of facial injuries sustained in an altercation with Ted Ray the night before in their hotel dining room at the Copley Plaza and finished tied for 16th at Brookline.  In 1915 he tied for 10th at Baltusrol, then in the 1916 U.S. Open he was tied for the lead with Chick Evans after 45 holes when his drive on the back nine struck a spectator.  He fell back, finishing in a tie for 4th.  After Brookline in 1913 Vardon, Reid and Ted Ray traveled the East Coast as planned playing exhibition matches against the likes of Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour, Freddie McCloud, Johnny McDermott and other American golf professionals before returning home to London.  This venture to America essentially to promote the game of golf was financed by a leading British golf equipment company owner.

At that time Reid was the head golf professional at Banstead Downs Golf Club in the London Borough of Sutton, County of Surrey, the home club of Sir Winston Churchill, where he remained for 9 seasons (1906-1914).  As a working club professional he was at the top of his profession in England and involved in all aspects of British professional golf including teaching, championship golf competition, war benefit fund-raising and active participation in the newly formed British PGA.  He continued designing and remodeling golf courses, especially in France during this phase of his career and authored the 4th chapter entitled "The Use of the Mashie" in Harry Vardon's book, Success At Golf. [12]  Wilfrid tied Harry Vardon for the 1911 Tooting Beck Cup hosted by Banstead Downs GC, but lost in the 18 hole playoff shooting 78 to Vardon's 76.  While the golf professional at Banstead Downs Wilfrid gave many lessons to members of the club not the least of which was Winston Churchill himself.

Career in America

With the onset of WWI in 1914 the British golf pros were more willing to consider moving to America.  Clarence H. Geist of Philadelphia had recruited Wilfrid to move his family to the United States from London.  Then in 1915 he agreed and became the golf professional at the new Seaview Country Club in Absecon, New Jersey. [9]  Seaview was the weekend club for Philadelphians.  Since appearing in the 1913 US Open Reid had turned down three offers from America but eventually accepted this appointment to Seaview.  Wilfrid's older brother, Arthur, his brother-in-laws Louis Tellier and George Blagg also made the voyage at various times and each initially served as first assistants at Ardsley-on-Hudson in New York when they came over.

Seaview was described as a beautiful new Scottish links-like course.  It was designed by Hugh Wilson and Donald Ross in 1914, located in the natural seaside landscape with dramatic seaside views and site of the 1942 PGA Championship.  It is now The Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Resort in New Jersey and hosts the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

Subsequently, Wilfrid became the club professional at Wilmington CC in Delaware at the behest of Irenee du Pont I, then president of the DuPont Company.  This was part of a well publicized three-way move by Reid, Gil Nicholls and Jolly Jim Fraser swapping jobs.  Wilfrid was the head pro at Willimingotn CC for about 7 years.  Fraser went to Seaview and Nicholls to Great Neck on Long Island.  

Once in America he immediately returned to golf course design.  During this time Reid was responsible for the original design of Lakeside G&CC in San Francisco, a classic Scottish links-inspired course which soon became The Olympic Club Lake Course at which time it was then planted with many trees. 

Reid's career in America as a club professional included positions at some of this countries's finest clubs and top resorts not the least of which was Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms, Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida,  Atlantic City Country Club, The Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado, The General Ogelthorp Hotel in Savannah and of course The Indianwood Club, now Indianwood Golf and Country Club, in Michigan.

Career in Michigan

Upon his acceptance of the position at the exclusive Country Club of Detroit in the early 1920's Wilfrid Reid transitioned to being one of Michigan's noted golf stars along with Walter Hagen et al and ultimately an inductee into both of Michigan's Golf Halls of Fame.  

As a naturalized citizen Wilfrid played on the American team in the precursor to the Ryder Cup.  

Wilfrid Reid, Walter Hagen and team traveled to Scotland in 1921 to represent America in the first international team matches between Great Britain and America held at Gleneagles Kings Course just prior to the Open Championship at St. Andrews.  This was the precursor to the official Ryder Cup Matches inaugurated in 1927 at Worchester CC upon Samuel Ryder's donation of the cup.

However, Reid's greatest accomplishments were perhaps his golf course design work.  The Old Course at The Indianwood Club was among his finest works.  His designs included the original Lakeside Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, RCF de La Boulie Valley Course in Versailles, remodeling the original nine hole links at Seacroft GC in England and many other excellent golf courses on two continents.  At Indianwood Wilfrid Reid brought the authentic Scottish tradition of classic links-inspired golf course design to Michigan. This was Michigan golf's great era of new golf course construction and growth of the game.

The Indianwood Club

Wilfrid was co-founder and creator of The Indianwood Club with the land owner and banker Frank Blair, a sweet equity investor, the head golf professional and the designer of the golf course now know as the Old Course ( 1925 ), a classic links-like golf course located in a rare, open sandy area in the woods north of Detroit, Michigan.  Essentially in the prime of his career this was Wilfrid Reid's big move in life, his dream and a lifetime opportunity.  He had a large house built across the street from the entrance to the club. [21]   Indianwood was a highly respected, demanding championship venue from the outset. 

Indianwood's Old Course has served as the site of four major national championships.  The 1930 Western Open won by Gene Sarazen was played at Indianwood.  The Western Open, played at Oakland Hills in 1922, was in those days second only to the U.S. Open in prestige in America and considered the third major championship in the entire golf world following the British and U.S. Opens.  The Indianwood Club notes the following....

"The spotlight of the golf world turned to the little village of Lake Orion in 1930 when the Western Golf Association brought the third largest tournament in the world to Indianwood".

Indianwood Old Course was immediately recognized as a great test of golf suitable for competition at the highest level.  Soon after the course opened Indianwood was the venue for the 1928 Michigan Open won by amateur Goerge Von Elm ( or the 1928 Michigan PGA Championship won by Em Kocsis ). [31]    Michigan PGA Championships and Michigan Opens won by the likes of Walter Hagen, Horton Smith, Chick Harbert and others have been played there over the years.

Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour and Horton Smith played at Indianwood on a regular basis.  Ed Furgol, the 1954 U. S. Open Champion, developed and refined his game there.  Perhaps Indianwood's most noteworthy feature is it's St. Andrews Old Course-like 18th green, which at approximately 21,000 square feet, was one of the largest putting surfaces in the United States. [16]

Since it's rebirth, after a long recovery from the lingering effects of the 1929 Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression of the 1930's, Indianwood has hosted the 1989 U.S. Womens Open Championship, the 1994 U.S. Womens Open Championship and the 2012 U.S. Senior Open Championship under the exceptional leadership and nurturing of the club's owner, B. Standart Aldridge.  Stan took it as a personal challenge and restored Indianwood to it's rightful place in the world of golf.  The restorations of the Old Course have revived Reid's original classic Scottish links-inspired heathland design with it's excellent greens complexes.

        Planet Golf description of Indianwood-Old on 7/18/18:

Indianwood is an historic treasure dating back to the 1920’s and the “Old” course is annually ranked in the top 100 classic golf courses in America. Indianwood has a proud history in which four major championships have been played on the “Old” course 1930 Western Open Gene Sarazen, 1989 Women’s US Open Betsy King, 1994 Women’s US Open Patty Sheehan and 2012 US Senior Open Roger Chapman. Today Indianwood provides its members with 36 championship holes of golf, world class clubhouse and a warm, friendly social environment.

Indianwood was ranked one of the top 10 clubs in America in the 1930's.  Indianwood-Old was ranked 95th in Golfweek's 2018 Best 100 Classic Courses in the America and ranked 99th in the 2003 Golf Magazine Top 100 Courses in America.

At Indianwood Reid partnered with family friend, prominent turf farm owner and golf course construction contractor, William Connellan, to design and build the Old Course.  Mr. Reid was the designer and Mr. Connellan was the builder.  Reid sculpted all 18 holes in plasticine (clay) on a board(s), used little sticks and yarrow for trees, pieces of glass for the lakes and real sand mixed with glue for the traps.  Then the clay models here taken to Detroit to be scaled and transposed into accurate drawings by draftsmen for use by the WM. CONNELLAN COMPANY's construction crew. [14] [32]  In those days teams of horses were used by the construction crew to do the grading and sculpting (shaping) of the ground.  Reid's advertisement in the Program when the 1930 Western Open was held at Indianwood read  "W. E. REID - ARCHITECT AND DESIGNER OF INDIANWOOD COURSE AND MANY OTHER FINE GOLF COURSES IN AMERICA AND ABROAD." [  ] Together, the Reid and Connellan design-build partnership went on to create many new courses predominately in Michigan during the 1920's, booming years for golf course construction in Michigan.  Connellan had once worked as a golf course superintendent in New York and as a construction superintendent for Donald Ross.  

Golf Course Design

Eventually, Reid estimated his total golf course design work numbered approximately 58 new and 43 remodeled or altered courses in France, Belgium, England, Canada and across the United States.  This is testament to the fact that while he did not have a formal education in the arts and sciences, engineering or agronomy, he did have the essential personal skills, vision, inspiration, creativity and the best possible training, tutoring and roll models necessary to design a golf course on raw land, to envision and create strategic land forms and to communicate this to the workers in the field.  His life in England, training in Scotland, occurred during a period of rapid expansion of the game of golf into England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland at the turn of the 19th century.  During Wilfrid's early life he was surrounded by roll models like James Braid, who alone designed 300-400 golf courses only in the British Isles,  J.H. Taylor, Seymour Dunn, Willie Park Jnr. and was even indirectly influenced by the legendary Old Tom Morris at Barnton.  In addition, Wilfrid E. Reid had the benefit of repeated exposure to and developed an understanding of the best golf courses in the world as a competitor in 11 British Open Championships at classic Scottish and English links and heathland courses.  Then played in the U. S. Open for another 19 years on America's finest tests. 

There is every indication that Reid may have occasionally collaborated with the Dunns, Park Jnr. or  J.H. Taylor, even Vardon, Braid, Ray, etc. on golf course design or remodeling in Great Britain and Europe.       

In 1905-06 Reid designed the Royal Belgique Club de Golf old course at Ravenstein in Brussels for King Leopold II while he was the head golf professional at La Boulie (The Racing Club of France) in Versailles where he gave lessons to King Leopold II. [22] [23] [24]   Reid had designed La Boulie's Valley Course ca.1903-04 where he was assisted by M. Tellier, the golf course greenkeeper at La Boulie, and his son Louis Tellier who went on to become the French Open Champion ( as well as Reid's brother-in-law ).  These design opportunities were, no doubt, the result of Wilfrid's background and training in Edinburgh, Scotland as apprentice to Willie Park, Jnr. and work on his first golf course design project in 1901-02 remodeling Seacroft GC's original Tom Dunn-designed 9 hole links in Skegness.  Seacroft is the only true seaside links course on the southeast coast of England. [27] [28]  

A census record in Scotland documents the fact that in March of 1901 as a 16 year old from Bulwell, Reid was a boarder in a private residence in the Parish of Cramond, District of Edinburgh, evidence of Wilfrid's apprenticeship in Cramond with Willie Park, Jnr. that year learning the fine points of golf course design at Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society's new course at Barnton in Cramond, Midlothian which Park, Jnr. had recently designed.  The Barnton Estate land was analyzed by Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews, then Willie Park Jnr. was assigned to design the course. [10] [26]    Coincidently, later during 1901 Park Jnr. worked near Wilfrid's home in north Nottinghamshire, England designing the new Notts Golf Club Hollinwell Course. [25] In 1902 the club moved from Wilfrid's home course, the old Notts Golf Club course in Bulwell renamed Bulwell Forest Golf Club, to Willie Park Jnr.'s new Notts GC Hollinwell Course.  The Reids were longtime members of the artisans club at the Old Notts-Bulwell Forest Golf Club, Nottinghamshire's most historic 18 hole golf course founded in 1887.  The Bulwell Forest Artisans were founded in 1895, but the Reids had been playing there since it was a 6 hole course.

Wilfrid's apprenticeship with Willie Park, Jnr. at Edinburgh Burgess in 1901 occurred immediately after Park had completed design of the very respected Old Course at Sunningdale outside of London which opened in 1901.  Sunningdale-Old was the earliest outstanding course located on barren, open sandy farmlands away from the seaside.  Well known for shifting the game from coastal links to inland sites, it was a trend setting design in the evolution of golf. [30]  Wilfrid was presumably tutored on the newly evolving strategic design concepts which Willie Park Jnr. had just developed at Sunningdale for inland heathland properties inspired by but differing from the seaside links courses.  Ironically, this genre would describe Reid's outstanding design 24 years later for the golf course at The Indianwood Club in Michigan on open sandy farmland property located within the surrounding wooded forest.  

Wilfrid Reid was a Class A PGA golf professional.  He was one of the founders of the PGA of America that met in meetings at Minikahda in Minneapolis during the 1916 U. S. Open. [26]  He was one of the original members of the PGA of America in 1916 and involved in it's formation. [13]  He served on the National Executive Committee as vice president at large, vice-president in 1920 and 1921 and was a member of the organizing committee of the Philadelphia Section of the PGA. [34]  Wilfrid was a dedicated member and proudly served the PGA of America throughout his entire career in the United States.  

After retiring in the 1950's he was awarded a lifetime honorary membership in the PGA presented to him by his former assistant pro at Indianwood, Warren Orlick.  He served as president of the Michigan Section of the PGA in 1928-30, was inducted into the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame in 2015.  Prior to emigrating to America was also an active member of the British PGA founded in 1901 in London, which he joined at age 18 in '02.         

  In August of 1920 he was elected vice-president of the PGA of America and re-elected in 1921.... ???

He was one of the original members of the PGA of America, served on the National Executive Committee of the PGA of America as vice-president at large, vice-president in 1920 and 1921 and was a member of the organizing committee of the Philadelphia Section of the PGA of America.

Design of The Olympic Club Lake Course

In 1917 Wilfrid Reid designed the original Lake Course at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. [21] [28]  He designed the course, originally the Lakeside Country Club, together with the help of golf professional, Walter Fovargue, a colleague from Philadelphia who had moved to San Francisco.  Reid and Fovargue each went on to design a number of golf courses during their individual careers, Reid designing or remodeling approximately 100 golf courses and Fovargue went on to design a number of courses in California and Japan.  The Olympic Club does not credit Reid and Fovargue with their original 1917 design of the Lake Course.  In 1924 the Lake Course was remodeled by Willie Watson and the club's golf professional Sam Whiting.  Whiting remodeled the Lake Course again in 1927.  It has subsequently been remodeled a number of times by Max Behr, Robert Trent  Jones, Sr. in the 1950's, Tom Weiskopf and  Jay Morrish, recently by Bill Love and possibly others. The current course is the work of Bill Love. [20] 

In 1918 Wilfrid was the medalist in the PGA Red Cross tournament, a substitute for the U. S. Open which had been cancelled in 1917 and 18 due to WWI.  It was a war benefit professional match play tournament played at Inwood CC on Long Island in New York.  Unfortunately, this was during WWI.  The "renaissance man" always seemed to be dealing with significant challenges in life such as both World Wars, the beginning of golf's various institutions, inaugural tournaments, competitions and national championships, the Depression in America, the significant demands of being a club pro and supporting his family in an era when the golf profession was in it's infancy and evolving.  Fortunately for Wilfrid and his cohorts golf and the establishment of golf clubs was rapidly developing as a major institution and sport with great appeal, presenting them with many opportunities.  Donald Ross, in fact, is quoted as being aware of and thankful for these opportunities in America as a young man growing up in Scotland. [15]  And Walter Hagen is well known for his antics to open the possibilities for golf pros to be allowed to enter the clubhouse, thus aiding in establishing professional golf as a respected profession. 

Played in the forerunner of the Ryder Cup

On 6 June 1921 Wilfrid E. Reid of Wilmington CC in Delaware played for America along with Walter Hagen et al in the First Professional International Golf Matches at The Glascow Herald Tournament between United States and Great Britain at the Kings Course in Gleneagles, Scotland. The British team included Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor, Ted Ray and James Braid.  This was the unofficial founding of the Ryder Cup, renamed when Samuel Ryder donated the cup to the event in 1927.  Records indicate that Reid won his singles match against reigning British Open champion Arthur Havers in America's 1921, 10-1/2 to 4-1/2 loss to Great Britain.  Earlier that year Wilfrid E. Reid had passed the U. S. citizenship test with high marks after having attended citizenship class, studying diligently and then proudly taking the Oath of Allegiance.  He was pronounced a naturalized citizen of the United States of America by the Circuit Court Judge, officially qualifying him to represent America at Gleneagles.  However, he was not eligible to be a member of the team in the first official playing of the Ryder Cup in 1927 at Worchester CC due to a policy change requiring participants to have been born in the country of their team.

The 1930 Western Open was held at Indianwood under Reid's direction as the host club professional.  Then, soon afterwards, with the disasterous economy the Indianwood development failed, the Reids lost their new home at Indianwood.  Wilfrid moved his family to Chicago, took a job as the teaching pro at Beverly Country Club in Chicago and also taught golf at Marshall Fields, a downtown department store, to make ends meet.

The Broadmoor Golf Club

Then in 1934 Colorado Governor Will Nicholson went to Chicago to offer the head golf professional position at The Broadmoor to Wilfrid Reid.  

Reid moved his family to Colorado and became the head professional at The Broadmoor Hotel Golf Club, a relatively new, fabulous resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He followed head professional,  Jimmy Thompson.  Reid remained at The Broadmoor for years, working with Mr. Penrose and the Tutts contributing his energy and considerable expertise to advancing the golf component of the resort to a new level.  Wilfrid did some remodeling of the original East Course.  He was a regular on the local tour playing events at Cherry Hills, Park Hill, Green Gables, The Broadmoor, City Park and Wellshire Country Club.  In those days Wilfrid was acquainted with Ben Hogan who frequently played in Colorado.

In the 1930's The Broadmoor was forced to close during winter seasons and Reid was presented with the opportunity to become the winter golf professional at Seminole Golf Club concurrently with The Broadmoor.  

Seminole Golf Club

An exclusive seasonal golf club in South Florida, closed during the summer months, Seminole was designed by Donald Ross, considered one of the world's finest courses where Wilfrid's fellow pro, Ben Hogan, practiced for the British Open and clearly one of the finest clubs in golf.  

Wilfrid Reid served the club well as the Head Pro following Gil Nichols.  Seminole is essentially a purist golfers club and Wilfrid's talents as a fine golfer and exceptional instructor undoubtedly contributed to his success at Seminole, not to mention his manners as a proper English gentleman.  He and his family stayed on property in the living quarters upstairs in the clubhouse provided for the golf professional.  His daughter, Joan, and family lived in a shack off the 6th hole for a short time in the early '40's.  

Wilfrid's time at Seminole served as an introduction to South Florida which would ultimately become his retirement home and that of his family.  As mentioned above, brother-in-law, George Blagg became the long-time golf professional at another fine club nearby, the Jupiter Island Club.  World War II Nazi submarines cruising along the Southeast Florida ocean coastline possibly played a role in the Reid's ultimate move inland, back to New Jersey.  The golf course and clubhouse at Seminole are partially in the sand dunes running along the beach.

His positions at Seminole and The Broadmoor represented the pinnacle of Wilfrid Reid's career.  Various family members are now natives of Colorado and of South Florida.

Atlantic City CC

Returning to the New Jersey area in the later years of his career, Reid became the head golf professional at Atlantic City CC in 1946 in preparation for the 1948 U.S. Womens Open at ACC won by Babe Zaharias.     

Once in America, Wilfrid was often referred to in the newspaper as a "British star" or "famed international golfer and instructor".  In addition to his competitive accomplishments he was considered an outstanding golf instructor.  He once estimated that he had given lessons for over 300,000 hours.  President Warren G. Harding ( at Seaview ), Winston Churchill and England's King Edward VIIl ( at Bansted Downs ),  Joyce Wethered, the Duke of Windsor, Belgium's King Leopold II ( at La Boulie ), Dick Chapman, Michigan LPGA standout and granddaughter Pat Devany, Ohio Governor Cox ( at La Gorce ), Harvey Ward ( in San Francisco ), Rhonda Glenn ( at Palm Beach Par 3 ) and yours truely were among his thousands of pupils.  At La Boulie in Paris he also gave lessons to the mysterious Mr. Chesterfield ( the assumed name of England's King Edward VII ).  He was an extraordinary golf instructor.

Bobby Jones was one of Wilfrid's dear friends during their later years along with many of his fellow golf pros including Chick Harbert, Gardner Dickenson and others who eventually found themselves retired in South Florida. [17]  His lifelong personal friends included Chick Evans,  J. H. Taylor, Walter Hagen, Charlie Mayo, "Long Jim Barnes", Tommy Armour, Herb Strong, Bobby Cruickshank, Gil Nicholls, Al Watrous, Jock Hutchison, Leo Diegel, Leo Fraser, Francis Ouimet and his caddie Eddie Lowery who eventually moved to San Francisco.  His older brother, Arthur E. Reid, was long-time golf professional at The CC of Farmington in Hartford, Connecticut, brother-in-laws Louis Tellier was at Brae Burn CC and Canoe Brook, George Blagg was the golf professional at Jupiter Island Club; son-in-law Joe Devany, a Michigan PGA Hall of Fame Inductee, at Grosse Ile Golf and Country Club on Grosse Ile.  Other close friends included Jack Elphick, Bertie Way, Cyril Walker, Harvey Ward, Jack Burke, Dow Finsterwald, his former assistants Porky Oliver and especially Warren Orlick.

The Reid family ( original surname Read ) of Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, England were of Scottish descent.  As a young boy Wilfrid had caddied at the old Notts Golf Club and played golf with his father, Arthur E. Reid Sr., grandfather, Alfred Read, and his older brother Arthur Jr., who were noted golfers at old Notts Golf Club as members of the working class artisans club.  The old Notts GC was eventually renamed Bulwell Forest Links.  Beginning at age 15 the Bulwell Artisans at old Notts sent him to The Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society in Edinburgh, Scotland to be an apprentice and learn golf club and gutta percha ball making.  Wilfrid often mentioned that he could make the most gutta perchas in one day.  He won the Bulwell Artisans Club tournament that year.  Then at age 16 he was sent to The Society in Edinburgh again to learn golf course design as an apprentice under Willie Park, Jnr.  Coincidently, Park Jnr. was designing the new Notts GC Hollinwell Course in England near Bulwell which opened in 1901. [1]  Reid turned professional at age 16 which in those days was done primarily to make or repair and sell golf clubs and golf balls.  His arch rival at home in Nottingham, beside his brother Arthur of course, appeared to be Tom Williamson.  Ultimately, Wilfrid was a consistent winner in the Midlands while he was there with the exception of occasional losses to his brother Arthur, Williamson and members of the Great Triumvirate, Vardon, Braid and Taylor.  Wilfrid won the Midland Challenge Cup in 1910, 11, 12, 13 and 14, plus others such as the Sphere and Tater, etc.  He played for England in the International Matches against Scotland each year from 1906 to 1914 never losing a match and in the 1908 Coronation Matches as well.  He was frequently victorious in professional challenge matches which were very popular in that era of golf history. 

Wilfrid often talked of his admiration for the golf course at Cruden Bay.  He predicted that Arnold Palmer would never last with 'a swing like that'.  Of course Wilfrid had a very fluid, somewhat 'wristy' swing characteristic of the old hickory shaft era of golf.   Although a perfect English gentleman, Wilfrid was in the newspaper often with his occasionally flamboyant personal style characteristic of the golf professionals of that era ( ala Hagen, etc.) in America.  He gave Palm Beach Post Times sports writer, Bob Balfe, plenty of material for years and of course greatly admired Arnie.  

One of his many insightful beliefs was revealed in a newspaper interview as follows... 

"To King, President or Pauper, golf is a leveler of all mankind.  It cultivates the finer innermost senses of men and places those in lowly places on a plain not excelled by the highest.  It creates sooner or later, the one great definer, control of ones actions, words and balanced deeds.  Surely a great teacher." 

Retirement Years

After retiring in Ft. Pierce, then West Palm Beach, Fla. he was fondly known as "Wilfie" at PGA National (then JDM ) and frequently played in the PGA Seniors over in Dunedin, Fla., often bettering his age.  His shots were deadly accurate to the extent that he would play the break when hitting a 3 wood to the green.  He recorded at least 27 holes in one ( 36 as I recall ).  Brother-in-law, George Blagg, originally of Nottinghamshire also, became the oldest living member of the PGA of America living in South Florida to the ripe old age of days short of 101 years of age.  As a boy George had worked in the coal mines of Nottinghamshire, but nonetheless obviously still survived the environmental attacks on his body and ultimately became a golf professional and the head professional at the Jupiter Island Club, one of the finest clubs in America, for years.  George Blagg designed the 9 hole addition to Donald Ross's initial 9 holes at Jupiter Island Club.

Eventually Reid was posthumously inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame in 2015.  The Michigan PGA website writes this about him:

Wilfrid E. Reid, a world-class golfer and renowned golf course designer from England, visited the United States with golf legends Ted Ray and Harry Vardon in 1914 (actually 1913) to play in the U.S. Open Championship, and later emigrated and worked at several golf clubs as a professional, including Country Club of Detroit. He was one of the original members of the PGA of America, served on the National Executive Committee of the PGA of America as vice-president at large, vice-president in 1920 and 1921 and was a member of the organizing committee of the Philadelphia Section of the PGA of America. He was president of the Michigan Section from 1928-30.

As time passed Wilfrid Reid was forgotten until the recent movie was made featuring Wilfrid as one of the main characters in the book by Mark Frost and major motion picture The Greatest Game Ever Played,  the story of Vardon and Francis Ouimet in the 1913 United States Open Championship.  Of course Wilfrid actually did lead this championship and was paired with Ouimet in the 3rd round; however, Wilfrid was not an amateur golfer as he was portrayed in the story.  

As an elderly man like Arnold Palmer, Wilfrid Reid, who had competed at the highest level in over 50 national open championships throughout Great Britain, Europe and America, simply loved to play golf.  So much so that he still played almost every day at the Palm Beach Par 3 golf course in South Florida for many years, often with his grandsons and granddaughter.  What a great game this is!

And, we will never forget our Grandfather telling us he always believed... "the game of golf could be used to spread peace, goodwill and brotherly love worldwide."

Tournament Record:

Great Britain 

   The (British) Open Championship 1903, 1905, 1907-1914 *   [19]

        1903 - T53rd Prestwick

        1905 - T37th St. Andrews

        1907 - T38th Hoylake

        1908 - T35th Prestwick

        1909 - 21st Deal in Royal Cinque Ports

        1910 - 24th St. Andrews

        1911 - T16th Sandwich in Royal St. Georges

        1912 - T20th Muirfield, Honorable Company

        1913 - 26th Hoylake Royal Liverpool            

        1914 - T41st Prestwick

        1921 - Missed the Cut St Andrews

   1906 Tooting Bec Cup - Runner up to William Lonie *

   1911 Tooting Bec Cup - Runner up to Harry Vardon in 18 hole playoff *

    Midland ( Open?) Challenge Cup - winner 1910, 11, 12, 13 and 14 *

    Midland Professional Championship - winner 1911, Harborne *

    Coronation Matches - 1911* 


    French Open 

         1905 - winner French Professional Championship at La Boulie *

                   (French Open inaugural in 1906 at la Boulie) 

         1912 - 13th *    

    Italian Open - winner ca 1905

    Swiss Open - winner 1904

    German Open - winner ca 1911 

    Belgian Open - winner ca 1911 

    Dutch Open - winner ?

United States and Canada

    U. S. Open Championship *  [4]  

        1913 - T16th  Brookline

        1915 - T10th Baltusrol

        1916 - T4th Minikahda  

        1917-1918 Cancelled due to WWI

        1919 - T21st Brae Burn

        1920 - T56th Inverness Club  

        1924 - T47 Oakland Hills

        1925 - T27 Worcester

        1927 - T48 Oakmont

        1932 - T49 Fresh Meadow

    Medalist in substitute PGA Red Cross Tournament at Inwood CC, NY 1918 *     

    PGA Championship  1919 - T9th * ? (Reid upset in the semifinals by Jimmy West) ?

    Windsor Ontario Open ca 1922 winner 

    Augusta Open - winner 1924  (defeated Gene Sarazen) *

    Michigan PGA Championship - 1926 winner *

Golf  Courses designed by Wilfrid E. Reid:

    NEW COURSES  ( original design by W.E. Reid )


-  Garretts Hall Golf Club

-  Possibly Bantsted Downs GC

-  And others


-  Racing Club de France (Valley Course), La Boulie, Versailles, Ile-de-France (ca 1903) with M. Tellier * 

    R Park Jnr. & Seymour Dunn) *

-  Golf de Cannes, La Napoule (ca 1900's) *

-  Golf Club d'Aix les Bains, Aix-les-Bains (1904) *

-  Ile de Berder du Golf, Brittany (ca 1906) 

-  Pont St. Maxence du Golf, Pont-Sainte-Maxence (ca 1910's) for Baron Edouard de Rothschild


-  Royal Golf Club de Belgique, Ravenstein ( Old Course ) Brussels (ca 1904-05) * likely with M. Tellier     

    ( R Seymour Dunn )  

United States

-  The Indianwood Club (Old Course), Lake Orion, MI  (1925) with Connellan *  

-  The Olympic Club (original Lakeside Course), San Francisco, CA (1917) with Walter G. Fovargue *

-  DuPont Country Club, Wilmington, DE (original 9 holes 1921) * 

-  Wilmington Country Club now Ed Oliver GC (original 9 holes), Wilmington, DE (ca 1917 ) *

-  Wilmington Country Club, Wilmington, DE (did not design current WCC ? )

-  Wilmington Municipal Golf Course, Wilmington, DE (Greenhill Muni ? )

-  Newark Country Club, Newark, DE (1921) *

-  Brae Burn Golf Club, Plymouth, MI (1923) with Connellan *

-  Plymouth Country Club ( now Fox Classic Course at Fox Hills ) Plymouth, MI (1927) *  with Connellan 

-  Harsens Island Golf Course, Harsens Island, MI (1926) with Connellan *

-  Bald Mountain Golf Course, Lake Orion, MI (1929) with Connellan * 

-  Black River Country Club, Port Huron, MI ( added 9 1922 ) with Connellan *  

-  Flushing Valley Golf Club, Flushing, MI (1930) with Connellan *

-  Port Huron Golf Club, Port Huron, MI  ( R William Newcomb ) ? ?

-  Bob O'Link, Novi, MI (1920's) with Connellan *   

-  West Chester, Ypsilanti, MI

-  Indian River Golf Club ( originally Burt Lake GC ) Indian River, MI  (original 9 1922) * with Connellan 

-  Gaylord Country Club, Gaylord, MI (1924) *  with Connellan  

-  Tam-O-Shanter CC, West Bloomfield, MI (1929) with Connellan *

-  Indian Springs Golf Course, White Lake, MI  (1920's) 

-  Birmingham Country Club, Birmingham, MI (1916) with Connellan ? ? 

-  Water's Edge Golf Course, Grosse Ile, MI (9 hole course commissioned by Wm. S. Knudsen)

-  Hawthorne Valley GC (now Warren Valley GC), Dearborn, MI (1923) with Connellan

-  West Chester, Ypsilanti, MI 

-  And many others

    REMODELED COURSES  ( remodeled, renovated or redesigned (R) by W.E. Reid )


-Windsor, Ontario ( R - possibly Essex G&CC with Bertie Way & Connellan ca 1927) 


-  Seacroft Golf Club ( R original Tom Dunn 9 )  Skegness, England  (1902) *

-  Banstead Downs GC, Sutton, Surrey, England  (R ca 1914 ) *

-  Garrets Hall GC, England             

-  And others

United States

-  The Broadmoor GC ( R original East Course ) Colorado Springs, CO ( ca 1936) *

-  Birmingham Country Club, Birmingham, MI  ( R 1928) with Connellan *

-  Orchard Lake Country Club,  Orchard Lake, MI  ( R 1928)  with Connellan *

-  Plum Hollow G&CC, Southfield, MI  ( R 1920's) with Connellan  - maybe orig. new ?

-  Beverly Country Club, Chicago, IL ( R ca 1933) * 

-  Tam-O-Shanter CC, West Bloomfield, MI ( R 1956) *

-  Grosse Ile Golf and Country Club, Grosse Ile, MI ( R traps 1920's) with Connellan *

-  Ashtabula Country Club, Ashtabula, OH ( R 1923) with Connellan

-  Gaylord Country Club, Gaylord, MI (R 1949) 

-  General Oglethorpe Hotel GC, Savannah, GA (R ca 1940)


    UNVERIFIED GOLF COURSE DESIGNS ( new or remodeled )

-   Brae Burn Country Club, West Newton, MA (possibly R ca 1918)


1.  National Open Article, June 10, 1919




1.  Geoffrey S. Cornish and Ronald E. Whitten  The Architects of Golf  (Harper Collins 1981, 1993),  throughout;  The Golf Course  (The Rutledge Press 1981), throughout.

2. Ibid., pg 585.

3  ........... xxx.  Herbert Warren Wind  The Story of American Golf  (Simon and Schuster 1956), 96-97. 136.

3.  Geoff Shackelford  The Golden Age of Golf  Design .

4.  Flaherty, Tom  The U. S. Open (1895-1965)  (Dutton 1966), 27-29, 43, 200-201.

5.  Edited by Laurence Viney  The Royal and Ancient Book of Golf Records ( Macmillan Press 1991 ), 15, 157, 209.

6.  www.seacroft-golfclub.co.uk/history

7.  Williams, Bill  Vardon in America ( Xlibris 2016 ), 45, 73 

8.  Williams, Bill  Harry Vardon  - A Career Record of a Champion Golfer ( Xlibris 2015 ), Foreword

9.  Whitten, Ron  "Golf Digest Course Critic: Seaview Marriott Resort & Spa, Galloway Township, N.J."  Archived from the original on 2006-10-30, Retrieved 2006-11-15

10.  Parish of Cramond Census dtd. 31/3/1901, pg. 18

11.  Zmistowski, Bill  "True Renaissance Man",  USGA Golf Journal,  July 1994

12.  Vardon, Herd, Duncan, Reid, Ayton and Ouimet  Success At Golf   ( Little, Brown and Company 1914 Boston, U.S.A. ) The Use of the Mashie, pg. 65-81.  Originally Vardon, Herd, Duncan, Reid, White, Ball and Ayton Success At Golf  (Fry's Magazine Limited ) The Use of the Mashie, pgs. 57-72

13.  Trenham, Peter C., A Chronicle of the Philadelphia Section PGA and its Members

14.  Conversation with Wilfrid Reid's daughter, Joan Reid Zmistowski, 1999

15.  Shackelford, Geoff, The Golden Age of Golf Design, pg. 129      ....??...

16.  "Indianwood Golf and Country Club and the USGA",  Official Course Map and Guide - 1989 U.S. Women's Open Championship. 

17.  Jones, Jr., Robert Tyre, Personal Letter to Wilfrid Reid, August 2, 1965

18.  Jones, Jr., Robert T., Golf's Golden Age, 

19.  Royal and Ancient Championship Records 1860-1980 Edited by Peter Ryde, ( Royal and Ancient Golf Club St. Andrews 1981 ), pgs. 33-44

20.  Shackelford, Geoff, The Golden Age of Golf Design ( Sleeping Bear Press 1999 ) pgs. 189, 200-202  ....about Reid and Indianwood ........

21.  Ibid., pg. 168    ....about Max Behr....

22.  History - The Royal Golf Club of Belgium, Retrieved 6/6/2018 www.rgcb.be/en_visit_history.html

23.  Wilfrid Reid Returns from America, The Nottingham Evening News, Saturday, August 4, 1956

24.  Seymour Dunn, Retrieved 6/7/2018 ....................

25.  Darwin, Bernard, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, Facsimile of the 1910 Edition ( about Hollinwell ) pgs. 138-139

26.  Ibid., ( about Barnton ) pgs. 199-201

27.  Steel, Donald,  Classic Golf Links of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, Chapman Publishers 1992, pgs 94-95.

28.  Patrick Seelig, Historic Golf Courses (Taylor Publishing 1994)  Olympic Club, Lake Course pgs 127-130

29.  Adams, John, The Parks of Musselburgh:  Golfers, Architects, Clubmakers, Grant Books 1991

30.  https://www.planetgolf.com/courses/england/sunningdale-golf-club/old-course   
       Retrieved September 24, 2018

31.  Michigan PGA Championship - Wikipedia 7/22/18, 9:56 PM

32.  Ralph Webb letter, Nov. 9, 1988

33.  Jean Poindexter Colby, The 1913 United States Open Championship Held at The Country Club, Cranberry Graphics Inc., First Edition 1988.

34.  PGA Michigan Section, 2015 Inductees, Wilfrid E. Reid        www.michiganpgagolf.com/?s=Wilfrid+Reid May 19, 2019


Other References


95th Top 100 Classic Courses (Golfweek) - 2018                    

Additional facts:

-  Designed about 100 golf courses from Seacroft in 1901 until his last project before retiring, remodeling Gaylord CC in MI in 1953 ?

-  WER completed 72 holes in a total of 19 British and U.S. Opens

-  The strength of the Old Course at Indianwood is evidenced by the fact it has hosted some top tier championships and national opens beginning with the Western Open Championship in 1930 which was then considered the third major in the world of golf.  The Western Golf Association immediately recognized Indianwood as a great test of golf and selected it as the venue for the 1930 Western Open Championship.  The USGA selected Indianwood 'Old' as the venue for the 1994 and 2003 United States Womens Opens and again for the 2012 United States Senior Open.  Many    Michigan Opens ?   and Michigan PGA Championships have been played at Indianwood Old for years as well.  

-  Seaview paragraph

-  Head Golf Professional at:

    Seacroft Golf Club, Segness, England
    The Racing Club de France at La Boulie, Versailles, France
    Banstead Downs Golf Club, Sutton, Surrey, England
    Seaview Country Club, Absecon, NJ
    Wilmington Country Club, Wilmington, DE
    Country Club of Detroit, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
    The Indianwood Club, Lake Orion, MI
    Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, FL winters (ca 1936-42)
    The Broadmoor Hotel Golf Club, Colorado Springs, CO  (1934-41*)
    St. Augustine CC, St. Augustine, FL winter  (ca 1920's)
    General Oglethorpe Hotel Golf Club, Savannah, GA  (1942-? *)
    Atlantic City CC, Atlantic City, NJ  (1946-48*)
    Gaylord Country Club, Gaylord, MI
    Retired in the 1950's 

-  Teaching Pro at:
    La Gorce  , Miami Beach, FL ( ca1928 )
    Beverly CC, Chicago, IL ( early 1930's )
    Marshall Fields Department Store, Chicago, IL ( early 1930's)

-  1906,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 & 14 played for England in the International Matches England v Scotland, never losing a match

-  Midland Open Champion 1910, 11, 12, 13 & 14

-  1911 Midland Professional Championship at Harborne GC, Birmingham - winner

 - Designed Water's Edge Golf Course, Grosse Ile, MI (9 holes);  Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center ?  

-  Remodeled ? 
- 1912 French Open - 13th *

-  Hagen won the 1928 Michigan PGA at Indianwood, Sarazen won the 1930 Western Open at Indianwood 

-  1919 PGA Championship - T9 *  ??                    

-  Valley Course (possibly in collaboration with Willie Park, Jnr.)

-  Reid possibly collaborated with Seymour Dunn on original RGCB design; however' Dunn was in Lake Placid, NY designing and building the Lake Placid Club lower course in 1905-06 *)  
?? Reid may have only remodeled RGCB...doubtful ??


Born:  1884 in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, England
Died:  1973 in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA


Grew up in Bulwell on the edge of Sherwood Forest.  Robin Hood's tree was barely in sight in the distance from his home course.  Served apprenticeships at Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society in Scotland.  Emigrated to America with family in tow in 1915.  A lifetime head golf professional in England, France and America, international competitive golfer and designed or remodeled approximately 100 golf courses.  Lifetime member of the PGA of America.  Retired in the 1960's to West Palm Beach, Florida.

British golf professional Wilfrid Reid was a protege of Harry Vardon.  After immigrating and becoming a naturalized citizen he represented America in 1921 along with Walter Hagen, Captain XXXX XXXX and the other team members in the forerunner to the Ryder Cup played at Gleneagles, Scotland against the British team, Vardon, Ray, J.H. Taylor, Havers, Braid et al.   Reid won his singles match over reigning British Open Champion Arthur Havers in America's loss to Great Britain.  

Reid played in 57 national opens winning the French, Swiss, Italian Opens, also the Michigan and Augusta Open defeating Gene Sarazen.   He completed 72 holes a total of 19 times in The British and U.S. Open Championships.   

Primarily a club pro in England and France, then in America at Seminole Golf Club, Country Club of Detroit, the Broadmoor in Colorado and other fine clubs, Reid was one of the true pioneers of golf in America.  

Wilfrid Reid was also responsible for the original design or remodeling of approximately 100 golf courses beginning as a teenage apprentice under Willie Park Jnr. at Edinburgh Burgess Golfing Society in Scotland.  He designed such famous layouts as the original Olympic Club, site of five U.S. Opens, The Indianwood Club site of four national championships, RCF de la Boille site of many French Open and Amateur Championships, as well as a host of others in England, France, Belgium, Canada and America.  

He was a renowned golf instructor as well.  Some of his pupils included Sir Winston Churchill, King Leopold II of Belgium, King Edward VII and VIII of England, President Warren G. Harding, Joyce Wethered and Harvey Ward.  Perhaps his greatest legacy was the creation of The Indianwood Club in Michigan just prior to the Great Depression in America.  Indianwood struggled, but has now been fully resurrected thanks to entrepreneur, B. Standart Aldridge of Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Wilfrid Reid was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and Michigan PGA Golf Hall of Fame.

Wilfrid and his contemporaries deserve our thanks for all they did to spread the institution and great game of golf during both of "Golf's Golden Ages".  

Author:   Bill Zmistowski is Wilfrid Reid's grandson, son of Joan Reid Zmistowski and Bill Sr.   Bill's relatives mentioned above include Uncle Arthur Reid, Uncle Louis Tellier, Uncle Joe Devany, Uncle George Blagg and Cousin Pat Devany (LPGA Tour)


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