Caddy, Champion, Course Architect

Albert H. MurrayIn 1908, at 20 years of age, Albert H. Murray won his first Canadian Open Golf Championship thus becoming the youngest player to win the event-a record he still holds. He repeated in 1913 with a record score for the Open. 

Albert was at the vanguard of golf in Canada from the early days of the game in North America, and especially during the ‘golden age’ of golf, the 1910’s and 20’S. A slim but athletic youngster full of energy, Albert started caddying at 10 years old at the Toronto Golf Club located in the east end of the city.

His older brother Charlie became the finest competitive golfer of his day in this country. Charlie had 15 Top-Ten finishes in the Canadian Open from 1904-1930, surpassing Jack Nicklaus, by two, for that honor. Charlie  also became a legend as head professional at the Royal Montreal Golf Club until his untimely death from cancer, in 1939, at the of age of 56. Together, Albert and Charlie dominated the early professional championships in Canada.

In 1899, Albert won the first Caddies tournament he entered. His prize was a plum pudding with a 5-dollar gold piece inserted in the cake. He successfully defended his title the following year.

Albert made his first golf club fashioned from a tree branch. At 13 years old, he earned an invitation to join the pro shop of George Cumming at the Toronto Club to learn the art of club making and teaching golf.

Charlie and Albert respectively were the first graduates of George Cumming’s pro shop; Cumming was considered the “Dean” of Canadian professional golfers.

In 1902, at 15 years of age, Albert became Canada’s youngest professional golfer. He went on to become one of the best competitive golfers of his era in this country.

A founding member of the Canadian Professional Golfers Association in 1911, his last national victories were twice winning the Senior CPGA Championship in 1939 and 1942. Today, professionals compete for the Albert H. Murray, Senior CPGA trophy.

Very early on in his career, Albert had an eye for and a keen interest in golf course architecture, eventually laying out new, or revamping, as he liked to call it, over 50 courses. He designed his last course when he was 74 years old.

Inventive, and some might even suggest avant-garde, in 1916, Albert opened Canada’s first indoor golf school in the basement of Montreal’s Ritz Carlton Hotel.  He also amassed a tremendous collection of golf memorabilia, particularly antique golf clubs. He acquired his first antique club in 1903. Another acquisition was in 1910, when he purchased from the estate of Sir George Drummond two ‘featheries’ (golf balls) from 1719. He paid $50.00 for the pair.

Tragically, in the prime of his playing career, Albert lost his middle son, aged 8, from meningitis on Christmas day in 1924. Two years later, his wife of 14 years fell ill and died. He remarried two years later. 

The primary filming location for the Walt Disney movie, “The Greatest Game Ever Played” was at one of Albert’s layouts, the Kanawaki Golf Club, south of Montreal.
 
Winning his second Canadian Open that same year, Albert played in that famous 1913 U.S. Open.

Although never paired together in the actual Open, Albert was portrayed in the movie with a cameo appearance as the playing partner to Francis Ouimet - the eventual winner-in the first round of the U.S. Open.

Albert was devoted to, and loved this game called golf. He passionately, and at times flamboyantly, promoted the game whenever he could. He wanted to make the game accessible to all.

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