Going global over a hundred years ago!
Bob Simpson’ popularity was no accident; it was earned over many years of honest hard work as a professional golfer, club maker, politician, father and husband.
In the April edition of Overseas Golfing it was reported that “the famous Scottish resort of Carnoustie is never uttered in golf circles without the mention of the world famed club maker Bob Simpson”. The article went on to say that “Carnoustie in summer time is a very fashionable place. All the best people make a point of looking in at Simpsons during their sojourn in Carnoustie and few of them find it possible to come out of his premises without ordering or purchasing direct, one or more of the clubs which cannot be excelled anywhere for quality of material, splendid finish, and moderate price”
An article in the April issue of “Overseas Golfing” it was reported that when Bob Simpson came to Carnoustie “he was then but an unknown stripling (youth) , who, although he had to make his way in the world was not at all alarmed at the prospect……. The business grew and grew until it became what it is today one of the largest club making concerns in Scotland. Players of high repute patronise Simpsons and ultimately the famous Carnoustie firm acquired a reputation overseas. Their overseas trade at the present time being a very large item”.
The article goes on to mention that even, at that time, where some countries protected their home markets by charging extra import duties, many customers were willing to pay the price because they regarded the Simpsons clubs “as things of beauty to enjoy for – well nearly for ever”
As his enterprise latterly succeeded by leaps and bounds, Bob Simpson kept a grip on the management of the business. During his early days he was known to be an industrious and painstaking worker. The article reported that he had “no room in his establishment for shirkers (people who are lazy and who evade their duties) or scampers (people who fool around) and every bit of work done on the premises had to pass a critical examination (by him) before it was dispatched to the customer. The slightest flaw in the material or workmanship condemns a club, only the most perfect article being allowed to pass”
The Simpsons Golf Shop today looks just the same and has the same enticement for visitors to the famous Links. The shop which is now a “Listed Building” has been beautifully preserved and stocked with a wide range of modern golf wear and golf accessories. Bob’s grandson, who used to own the shop until the 1980’s, is a caddie on the famous links and still lends his talent to the occasional repair of hickory clubs. The shop no longer makes its own clubs but sets of Simpsons hickory clubs are now handcrafted exclusively for Simpsons (the second oldest) by the St Andrews Golf Company (the oldest golf company in the world).
In addition, Simpsons offer the more discerning customers a new range of kids’ golf equipment designed to give youngsters the best possible start when learning to swing a club. Also a range of fine silver trophies exquisitely inscribed with the Simpsons dome logo. The shop is also able to offer some unique fine golf art including original oil paintings of the famous Gleneagles Ruder Cup course and St Andrews Road Hole by golf artist Donald Shearer.
In the same way that Bob built his club making business during the height of the fast developing golf industry in the UK and US, a hundred or so years ago; now, in the modern age, Simpsons Golf Shop is developing key relationships in China’s dynamic golf industry. After only a thirty year lifespan, the fathers of golf in China are keen to develop a deeper understanding of golf culture and heritage which Simpsons Golf Shop is well placed to address.
These pictures show golf being played on the links (over 100 years ago) across from the Simpsons shop (Dalhousie Club house) (Photo courtesy of oldgolfimages.com)
Having survived as a business continuously since 1883, the Simpsons Golf Shop is now acknowledged as the “second oldest golf shop in the world” – an enviable status in what has become a major global industry. But little is really known about the Simpsons family whose name lives on today. Why? ……. because until now the story has never been told.