Former Professionals

George Strath (1881-1887)

George Strath was appointed Troon’s first Professional in 1881.

He came from St Andrews and was the youngest of three golfing brothers, all being Members of the St Andrew’s Golf Club. Andrew, the eldest won the “Open” at Prestwick in 1865 and David who was runner-up in 1876 was a great friend of Young Tom Morris.

George was 14th in the Open of 1878 at Prestwick and, was the first Scottish Professional to emigrate to the United States to Brooklyn, New York. In June of 1883, Strath and some Members of the Committee mapped out six new holes, which increased the links at Troon to twelve holes.

A further six holes were completed by 1885.

He was an excellent clubmaker, making beautiful long nose woods, which are now extremely rare.

Willie Fernie (1887-1924)

When George Strath left Troon in 1887, William Fernie took over as Professional and served the Club for 37 years.

Fernie was also from a St Andrews family and won the “Open” in 1883, being runner-up in 82, 84, 90 and 91.

He won many other tournaments and was a great player of challenge matches. On one occasion, he played the best ball of his brother George and H.S.C. Everard and beat them by 7 up and 5 to play. He was a contemporary of Tom Morris and the Parks and was a pioneer of indoor teaching.

In addition to overseeing the alterations to the Old Course, he was also responsible for the design of other famous courses, which include Turnberry’s Ailsa and Arran Courses.

Sadly, he died a few months after retiring in 1924.

Duncan McCulloch (1924-1953)

Duncan McCulloch was appointed Club Professional in 1924. He was born in Troon in 1894 and was assistant to George Duncan at Hanger Hill.

He represented Scotland in Professional International matches against England in 1932, 33, 34, 35, 36 and 37, and against Ireland in 1932, 33, 34 and 35. He won the Scottish Professional Championship at Nairn in 1930 and was runner-up in 1928 and 37.

He also won the West of Scotland Professional Championship in 1928. He was a good Clubmaker and a first class teacher. He retired due to ill health in 1953.

Bill Henderson (1953-1970)

W J Henderson took over the reins as Professional in 1953.

“Willie John” as he was affectionately known to the Members was born in Brora and during the war of 1939-45 he became a rear gunner in the Royal Air Force. He was shot down during an air raid and was a prisoner of war for four years.

On his return from the war he became Professional at Brora, followed by similar positions at Southcliffe, Scarborough, Nairn and Buchanan Castle, before coming to Troon in 1953.

He was exceedingly popular with Members and Visitors and was an excellent teacher.

He died after a long illness in 1970.

Brian Anderson (1971-2007)

Brian Anderson was appointed Professional to the Club in 1971. He first came to prominence when he represented Scotland as a Boy International in 1956.

He progressed to full International status, being selected for Scotland against Scandinavia in 1960 and again at Troon in 1962. He played in the Home Internationals in 1962 and 63 and turned professional in 1963.

His first full appointment was at Powfoot Golf Club, followed by Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club in 1968, arriving at Troon in 1971. A stylish player, he was runner-up in the Scottish Assistants Championship in 1963, finished third in the Scottish Professional Championship in 1967 and, in the winter of that year spent three months playing in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He is a fine teacher and also is a leading specialist in the history of the game of golf.

He is the second longest serving Professional to the Club.