J.H. Taylor is one of golf’s forgotten champions. Taylor won the Open Championship five times (1894, 1895, 1900, 1909 & 1913). He also captained the British Ryder Cup team in 1933. He was the first player to play all four rounds of a major championship under 80 – a feat he accomplished at St. Andrews. Taylor is the third and least well-known member of the triumvirate of Taylor, Vardon and Braid.
J.H. Taylor was born in poverty in North Devon, England. His father died young, so Taylor starting working at age eleven. He was at one time greenkeeper at Royal North Devon – Westward Ho! He educated himself, making the completion of two golf books unassisted quite a feat. Among his other accomplishments, he founded the British P.G.A. in 1903. This was at a time when amateurs were respected and professional golfers were not. Taylor died at age 91 in 1963.
Taylor on Golf
Taylor on Golf: Impressions, Comments and Hints was published in 1902 by Hutchinson, London. The American edition was published by Appleton in 1903. The book was published with several different binding styles, depending upon the edition.
The first British edition has the title in gilt with a design on the front :
The first American has six golf clubs on the front:
Later editions have a golf bag and clubs on the cover:
Taylor on Golf was published in a second edition, also published in 1902; a third in 1903; a fourth in 1905 and a fifth in 1911. The fifth edition includes revised content and the book was expanded from 328 pages to 348 pages.
Since both the first and second editions were printed in 1902 you need to be able to distinguish between the two editions. The first edition, first printing should have a #1 on the last page of the text. Also, the second edition plainly states “Second Edition” on the title page.
The book is an eclectic mix of topics. Taylor devotes a chapter to “Courses Where Championship Might be Played” and makes the case for Westward Ho!, Brancaster and North Berwick. His chapter on “Golf in America” only mentions Garden City by name and states “The climate of America is not so favourable to the playing of the game as the climate experienced in the United Kingdom”. A very interesting historical book with period black and white photos of various courses.
Golf: My Life’s Work
Golf My Life’s Work is Taylor’s autobiography and was published by Jonathan Cape in London. Both the first and second editions were published in 1943. This book was published in red cloth and was issued with a dust jacket. Some of the dust jackets were printed on the reverse of existing dust jackets. The jacket is a basic brown paper with green lettering.
Since the book was produced during the war, you will note that across from the title page the book is stamped “Book Production War Economy Standard”. Taylor was also the author of the Southampton Public Golf Courses handbook, published in England in 1935, it is a softcover 40 page booklet.
Not by J.H. Taylor.
Two books not written by J. H. Taylor are The Art of Golf, 1912 and The Lure of the Links, 1920. These books were written by Joshua Taylor, who was J.H.’s brother. Joshua was also a good golfer, although not as learned as his brother. The Art of Golf is an instructional book. The Lure of the Links covers a variety of unusual topics such as “Golf in Strange Places” and “Men one meets in the clubhouse” and “The perfect caddie”.