.Locke Putting


Bobby Locke Champion Golfer.

In the first Open after the War which was played at St Andrews in 1946, Bobby Locke finished tied for second, behind the winner Samuel Jackson Snead of White Sulpher Springs Virginia, better known as "Slammin Sammy" . 

Bobby Locke2

Click Image to view VIDEO of 1946 Open. (British Pathe).

Sam Snead who had spent his war years in the US Navy Fitness training recruits in San Diego, did not endear himself to The Scots and when going to St Andrews by train and when passing the old course remarked "What is this place?". "looks like an old abandoned kind of place". 

He correctly noted that St Andrews when played counter clockwise is actually being played backwards as many of the Bunkers face in the wrong direction and were constructed for clockwise playing. There are 7 double Greens with two Holes and Flags on each.

In fact you are able to play St Andrews backwards on the first days of April each year. You play from the 1st Tee to the 17th Green, proceed clockwise and finish at the 2nd Tee to the 18th Green which incidentally was constructed on an old Burial Ground.

After winning the event Sam even had to be tracked down at his Hotel for the Trophy presentation.

Snead complained that his Travelling expenses exceeded his Prize money and only played in The Open because his sponsors Wilson Sporting Goods who were looking to open up the British market,  insisted that he did so. Sam did not mention the endorsements and "extras" that an Open Champion benefits from. His replica of The "Claret Jug" fetched $1,106,888 at Auction in 2002.

wilson balls

Sam Snead using Wilson 'Small Balls". Double-Click above Image to see and hear Sam's Victory Speech.

Snead first played the Open Championship in 1937 and was to play 5 in total. He won a myriad of Masters and US PGA titles ( A record 81 Tournaments in all) with only the US Open eluding him among the Majors. He had multiple US Open seconds including missing a 2 foot putt to tie Lew Worsham.

sams caddy

At St Andrews, His Caddy did not impress him either. His Caddy insisted on being given the ball that Sam used on the last round for posterity, then having been given the ball, promptly sold it for a few Shillings.

St Andrews was in a terrible condition and was prepared by German Prisoners of war who were slow in being repatriated.

Sam Snead's attitude was typical coming from him. He stated that when you leave the USA you go camping!

Being the master of playing Long Irons into the wind, He won with a score of 290 and A.D. Locke and Johnny Bulla tied for second 4 strokes back. First prize was £150, Second prize was £87  ten Shillings. Henry Cotton won £26 for coming fourth.

Bobby Locke 3

Sam Snead.

starters orders

Bobby Locke "under Starters orders" at St Andrews 1946. He led with 9 holes to play but cautious play undid him, a lesson that he never forgot.


Bobby Locke at St Andrews.

Snead was well-known for knocking golfers.  25 YO South African Retief Waltman was once paired to play with Sam in America. Retief walked up to Sam on the tee and said "Good morning Mr Snead. My name is Retief Waltman and I am paired to play with you today". Sam ignored the Waltman handshake and turned to the gallery and loudly drawled. "Because I am playing S*** I  get S*** draws".

Sam Snead is the only Male Golf Professional to have entered and won a USLPGA tournament.

In the early 70's Bobby Riggs and Sam Snead complained that female athletes were paid too much and challenged them.

Snead entered a USLPGA event and Bobby Riggs challenged Billie Jean King to a Tennis match.

Snead won, Bobby Riggs lost! It was at a Par 3 invitational event inThe Royal Poinciana Tournament in  Florida. It was Sam's  second attempt having come third the previous year to Louise Suggs. Sam won $1500.

Bobby Locke versus Sam Snead Matches.

Locke invited Snead to his home in South Africa for a series of challenge matches, and Snead accepted in 1947.

In Feb/Mar 1947, Sam Snead, who then with Hogan represented the pinnacle of American pros, met Locke in South Africa for a 16-round challenge.   Locke trounced Snead in 12 of 16 matches. (2 were halved and Snead won 2). (Many say that Snead's perennial case of the yips originated with this thrashing at the hands of Locke.)

Nine of the matches were over 36 holes with  the remainder being over 18 holes. They played for $15,000 underwritten by Norbert Erleigh. Most matches were fourball matches with local Pros and leading Amateur golfers partnering Locke and Snead. Snead and Locke however played head to head. The Australian Norman von Nida also took part.


Sam Snead Versus Bobby Locke


Bobby Locke Verses Sam Snead.

snead sa
Sam Snead Vs Bobby Locke at Royal Cape Golf Club Feb 27/1947. (Source King of The Links).


Date                    Venue                         Result

Feb 13                Johannesburg          Locke 8&6

Feb 15                Springs                      Halved.

Feb 17                Germiston                 Snead 4&3

Feb 19                Maccauvlei                Halved.

Feb 21                Pretoria                      Locke 1 up.

Feb 25                Kimberley                  Locke 1 up.

Feb 27                CapeTown                 Locke 6&5

Feb 28                Clovelly                     Locke 2&1

Mar 1                   East London            Locke 1 up

Mar 3                   Port Elizabeth          Locke 6&5

Mar 5                   Queenstown            Snead 5&3

Mar 7                    Pirtermaritzburg     Locke 3&1

Mar 10                  Durban                     Locke 5&4

Mar  13                 Ladysmith                Locke 1 up.  

Mar 17                  Bulawayo                 Locke 1 up.

Mar 22                 Salisbury                   Locke 6&5

   (Source findmypast.com).

Snead later graciously recalled: "In some of the matches, my ball was inside his from tee to green on 15 holes, yet  Locke would win, one up. He dropped 30 and 40 footers without thinking twice. He made me so nervous that in one match I missed eight putts of less than two feet."


Admission Ticket to one of matches.

Sam was playing against Bobby Locke in South Africa (in 1947). He saw these squirrel monkeys and figured he’d start a monkey farm back home. To get them through customs, he hid them in his shirt on the flight back. They scratched him up something fierce. The problem was, he wasn’t going back to Virginia. He had to go to Augusta for the Masters. So he leaves these two monkeys in his hotel room while he’s playing and they destroy the place. The manager is furious.

He finally gets them back home and puts them in the basement of his house. That drove his wife crazy, because they made a mess there, too. One day, while Sam’s out playing, the monkeys escaped through a window that was ‘accidentally’ left open – at least one of them did. Something fell on the other one and killed it. That was the end of Sam’s monkey farm idea.

Locke credits Snead with teaching him a lot during those matches. 

"I learned to play not for the green but for the pin," Locke wrote in his memoir, Bobby Locke On Golf, published in 1953. "Snead's long irons during the visit were a joy to watch, but my putting and my short game and my knowledge of local conditions gave me the edge."

Sam enjoyed the "laid back" South African hospitality. He was spotted in the clubhouse of the exclusive Durban Country Club eating plums. He was seated with his feet on the Dining Table in front of him and he was spitting the plumb seeds into a bowl he had placed on the Table about 6 feet away.

Bobby Locke questioned Sam on whether Bobby Locke was up to USA standard. Sam replied "Hell, you will become rich and quickly too!".

Walter Hagen had previously invited  locke to the USA in 1938 while touring South Africa with Joe Kirkwood. His parents refused the 21 year old permission to  travel in spite of the "Haig's" comment that  Locke would never be a Champion without playing in the USA. Travelling to the UK, Australia and NZ was apparently OK but not the USA.

Bobby Locke on PGA Tour.

The following nothern spring, with Snead's encouragement, Bobby ventured to America, where he promptly finished 14th in that year's Masters.  He quickly became familiar with the bigger American Ball with its 1.68" diameter as opposed to the 1.62" diameter of the smaller British Ball. 

He arrived with the reputation as the man who beat Sam and when the Pros saw Bobby Locke aim far to the right and swing a golf club with an inside takeaway and a loop, they asked Sam Snead how "this shambles" had managed to beat him. Bets were made between the Pros and Mangrum lost his Cadillac betting against Bobby Locke. Sam Snead said "I would not bet 1 red cent against Locke!".


Playing with Snead and Demaret at 1947 Masters. Click Image to see Video.


Bobby Locke with Thomson, Sarazen & Jones at Augusta Georgia.

He then won four of the next five tournaments he entered. Bobby Locke stayed only through the summer. All together, he played in 15 US tour events, winning a total of seven, finishing 2nd twice, 3rd once (in the US Open), and top-7 four other times.  No foreigner had previously nor since made such an impact on the US Golf tour. Not Vardon, Player, Norman, Faldo, Els, McElroy, Day, Stenson, Severiano, nobody!

Bobby Locke 4

Hogan, Bobby Locke and Demaret. (Pronounced Demaray).

Bobby Locke 5

Press Photo.

Bobby Locke 6

Press Photo.

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Demaret, Mangrum and Bobby Locke.

Bobby Locke's first US win came in the Carolinas Open at Mid-Pines, NC. He won the next tournament, too, the Houston Open with a 277. he finished 3rd in Fort Worth and then won again in the next two tournaments: the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Goodall Round Robin.

Bobby Locke finished 6th in the National Capital Invitational, and he was considered by many as the man to beat in the 1947 US Open in St Louis Missouri. Bobby Locke placed 4th, behind winner Lew Worsham and Sam Snead who missed a 30" putt to tie. 

Bobby Locke continued his exploits outside the US after the Open. He won the All-American Open, the Canadian Open, and the Mexican Open. Back in the US he was 2nd in the Western Open, 7th in the Denver Open, and lost a playoff in the Reading Open.

Canadian Open

Bobby Locke Winner Canadian Open 1947 with Runner up Ed Oliver.

Bobby Locke finished higher on he 1947 Tour money list with $24,327.50 than all other golfers save Jimmy Demaret, who played the full twelve-month Tour but only picked up a mere $3,600 more than Bobby Locke had won in his abbreviated visit.

Bobby Locke considered his 1947 putt for birdie against Hogan in the Philadelphia Inquirer Tournament as his finest. The tournament was played at Cedar Brook Country Club. The following Print depicts the moment.

Bobby Locke 8

On the 15th hole of the third round, Bobby Locke holed a 35-footer that so unnerved the chain smoking Hogan he played out par, bogey, bogey, and allowed Bobby Locke to pass him and win the next day by four strokes.

American golf was astounded! They could not understand how a foreigner could catch and beat the great Ben Hogan.

Bobby Locke 10

Press photo. Mangrum, Harper, De Vicenzo and Locke.


Bobby Locke with Lloyd Mangrum working with Handicapped children.

US Golf Hall of Famer Lloyd Mangrum (himself a WWII veteran and dual Purple Heart winner) commented: "That son of a bitch Bobby Locke was able to hole a putt over 60 feet of peanut brittle. ... I never saw anything to equal it."

locke long

The Bobby Locke show. Click Image above to watch Locke hole a 40 footer on last Green Oakmont US Open 1953. (Source Critical Past).


Acknowledging applause after sinking a 40 footer. In America he played without his tie.

In a final round of one tournament Locke and his opponent were about 240 yards out from a par 4. Locke was away and told his caddy to switch head covers on his Woods. Locke then dropped his 4 Wood cover at his opponent's feet and hit his 2 Wood onto the green.

His opponent observing all this then hit a 4 Wood short and flabbergasted, asked his caddy what went wrong. His caddy replied "the man from the jungle pulled a fast one".

The first attacks on his 'slow' play started in the United States. I remember a heated argument in a club-house at Salt Lake City in which his speed, or alleged lack of it, was the target. Presently he offered to bet a thousand dollars that he was the fastest player in the game, with one stipulation-that his speed was to be reckoned from the time he arrived within six feet of his ·ball (provided the crowd was not in possession), summed up his shot,.took his club, hit the ball and put his club back in the bag. He said, 'Cover my money; we will get a: stop-watch and a neutral-minded person'.He had no takers.

In 1948 Bobby Locke returned and did well again. In the Chicago Victory Open, Bobby Locke ran away from the field, winning by a record-setting 16 stroke margin. (He shot 266, 22 under)The field included Lloyd Mangrum, Cary Middlecoff and all the regular Playing Pros.The record winning margin stands to this day (2017).  His performance, appearance payments matching top Americans, and strangeness attracted resentment from a number of US Tour pros. The Foreigner had outstayed his welcome!


Press Photo. Midlothian Golf Club.


Ticket to see Bobby Locke creating a PGA record. ($1.80).


Chicago Victory Open 1948. Midlothian. Bobby Locke putting for his 66 final round and 266.


Chicago Victory Prizegiving. (Streeted the field).

first tee

Bobby Locke Driving from 1st Tee in Chicago, Aiming for the rough where the ball travelled and then looped back to finish left of the center of the fairway. Note gallery well back on right of Tee.


Bobby Locke Drive Midlothian.


Winning Goodall Round Robin. (Record 66 Stableford points).


Prizegiving ceremony.

When one pro (It was Ben Hogan) commented dismissively in the lockerroom about Bobby Locke's weak left hand in the grip, Locke coolly replied: "Yes, you're probably right about that, but the fact is I take the checks with my right hand."

Commenting that Locke's swing was the worst ever seen, he replied "that's the one I was born with".

One commented that the Pins should be placed on the right hand side of the Greens to negate Locke's Draw Shots.

Why did he hook?

In Bobby Locke's own words:

"Quite simply if you teach yourself to always hit a right to left shot you can aim 1 yard inside the right edge of any 30 yard fairway & produce a 28 yard hook, you would still be on the fairway!! Now, if you were  trying to hit the ball straight, sometimes going a little left and sometimes a little right, and without realising it had cut your hitting area down to 14 yards either way.You would make the game difficult. Bobby Locke had twice the size to hit at providing his method always produced a hook or draw."
So this method, if you approach the ball with a square club face, with an in-to-out swing path, was his secret, A RIGHT TO LEFT FLIGHT!



Bobby Locke Driver Swing.

Bobby Locke Putting 2

Bobby Locke Putting Stroke.


Bobby Locke holing a 40 footer.

Locke declared that his Swing required less practise than the one employed by most US Pros and required fewer visits to the Chiropractor. 

Like the Scottish Pros before him, he pronated or rolled his wrists and used his hands and arms more than in the American Swing.

Why pronate? Simply because the Hickory Shafts used by the old Pros twisted as well as bent when swung. Modern shafts do the same but less so.

This technique has made a comeback and is noted to be in use by Jason Day, Jordan Speith, Rory McElroy and most of  the Pros currently playing the US Tour TODAY. They pronate and swing from open to closed. At the top of the backswing the toe of the Club Head is pointing to the ground. 


Jason Day Former World No 1 rollling open the face on the Backswing and closing it on the Follow through. (Golf Digest)

day closed


Former World No 1 Rory McElroy rolling open the face on the Backswing and rolling it closed on the follow through. (Golf Digest).


Former World No1 Jordan Spieth (Out of Harry Vardon's Instructional book! Compare this to Dustin Johnson's square to open swing below. (Golf Digest).


Note Left Wrist at top and Club Head pointing to Sky. He Supinates and swings from closed to open. (Golf Digest).

Bobby Locke 11

He bends his left arm! (LIFE Magazine).

Taken from LIFE magazine 1947. LIFE wanted him on the cover but could not meet Locke's asking price. He typically asked $100 for an Interview if it was of an instructional nature and $5 for an Autograph. Like Henry Cotton he was determined to make his golf pay!

When reporters asked Locke about his golf earnings, he told them to "get stuffed!".

Bobby Locke 12

He lifts his head up. (LIFE Magazine).

Bobby Locke did not fit into the PGA group but however was friends with Ed "porky" Oliver and Sam Snead. He addressed everyone as Cap or Captain. After his accident in 1960 this was changed to "Mastah".

Bearing in mind his friendship with Sam, he once did something inexplicable which was totally "out of character".

He was playing the final round of a Tournament with Sam and Porky Oliver when Sam hit into a Lake. Trying to drop on a slope caused Sam's ball to roll down into the pond. The referee therefore awarded a free drop beyond the Hazard. Sam then posted the winning score.

Bobby Locke appealed to Stewards and the drop ruling was reversed. Bobby Locke was not even in the running to win the Tournament. Sam was penalised and placed second. Bobby Locke apologetically regretted his decision to appeal!

When playing in the USA in 1947 Bobby Locke was 30 years old but looked much older. When asked by a spectator how old he was, Bobby replied "how old do you think I am?". When the spectator replied 42, Bobby then said "you are 12 years out!". Incredulous the spectator then said "I did not think that you were 54!".

Bobby Locke habitually took Vegenin tablets (the Aspirin of the day) to promote a feeling of well being. He drank Beer (PABST in USA, CASTLE in RSA) and Whisky  and he smoked Cavalla Kings, South African cigarettes which he advertised.




Bobby Locke on Driving Range with Nelson, Snead and Mangrum. (Locke second from right).

When tournament sponsors in 1949 baulked at paying Bobby Locke the same appearance money they were paying top American golfers, Locke refused to play. The Tour pros took that excuse to ban Bobby Locke "for failing to meet commitments."  A reason drummed up on the spot.

Bobby Locke lost 6 of his best years during the war years and another year due to this injustice. One can only imagine what havoc he would have made on the US Tour during his "peak" year which was denied to him because of selfishness and self preservation!


Much has been written about Locke's banishment for about eight months from the United States,
Locke made it clear that if he won the British Open Championship he would remain in Britain. In his own words :
" It will be a matter of courtesy for the champion to remain here, and also of business, because there will be some good
business to be picked up."

The Inverness Four Ball tournament at Toledo, Ohio, began on July 21 1949, without Locke. Before the tournament started
there was much speculation about his future status in American tournaments. The organizers alleged that because of Locke's decision to stay in Britain he had disorganized the tournament schedule. Locke maintained, however, that he gave them 14 days' notice of his inability to play. Mr. S. J. McGovern, speaking on July 20, said that he had not yet been notified by Locke that he would not appear and only knew what he read in the newspapers. It appeared also, according to Mr. George Schneiter, tournament manager of the United States Professional Golfers' Association, that Locke had arranged to appear with E. J. " Dutch " Harrison in three exhibition matches.

Locke, Schneiter added, had also committed himself to play in the Western Open. In answer to a question Mr. Schneiter said
that Locke had appeared in tournaments at the invitation of the U.S.P.G.A. and said that the withdrawal of such an
invitation would result " in the man who came to dinner being barred from future meetings ".

Mr. George May, promoter of the Tam '0 Shanter tournament, following his own independent line, said that Locke's
entry for his tournament would be accepted and that he would be welcome to play. He added, however : " I am not going to
ban him from my tournament, but if the P.G.A. want to bar him, then he cannot play." Not mincing his words, Mr. May
went on: " I still think his breach of contract with Inverness should lead to his official banishment from American golf

On July 24, Mr. Joe Novak, President of the U.S.P.G.A., said that his organization was not contemplating any action at
present. It was obvious that the storm clouds were gathering round Locke's head and in Britain the South African was getting more and more angry. He was enraged that the American promoters had adopted an uncooperative attitude over his
absence from American tournaments and particularly at the suggestion that he had defaulted from the Inverness affair. On
July 22, Locke said: " I regard this accusation as a personal insult and a reflection on the Professional Golfers' Association
of Britain who have selected me their captain, an honor I appreciate. I have never defaulted from any tournament and I
have not defaulted from this one. I cabled my withdrawal explaining that I could not get an air passage for six days."

On July 26, the blow fell. Bobby Locke was blacklisted for any event sponsored by the United States Professional Golfers'
Association. The U.S.P.G.A. tournament committee stated that its unanimous decision against the South African golfer was
deemed necessary " because of his failure to keep commitments at exhibitions and tournaments ". The announcement was made by Mr. George Schneiter.

The text of the announcement was as follows : " After a complete and careful study of all the facts the P.G.A. tourna-
ment committee found that Bobby Locke had on numerous occasions violated the P.G.A. tournament regulations and the
tournament players' agreement which he had signed. This committee has, therefore, from this day withdrawn its invitation
to him and his entry will no longer be accepted in any P.G.A. sponsored event. This action was deemed necessary to protect
sponsors and to maintain the tournament schedule."

After the announcement Locke cancelled his air passage to the United States and said : " As captain of the British P.G.A.
I have handed the whole matter over to that body.

Masters champion Claude Harmon put it correctly when he said "Locke was simply too good for us and was affecting "our livelihood". THEY HAD TO BAN HIM!

Winning in Tam O Shanter CHICAGO for Golf's richest prize.. Click image below to see VIDEO of Tam o'Shanter. Locke's Competitor's Badge.
tam O Shanter

Bobby Locke Biggest prize

Bobby Locke receiving Golf's then richest prize. $7000. Plus $5000 Appearance money. Click Image to see playoff with Ed Oliver. (Source Critical Past).


Bobby Locke letter of appreciation.


Bobby Locke 2nd to Jimmy Demaret in 1947 Money List.

Undisturbed, Bobby Locke entered the British Open as the favorite and won, defeating his opponent in the playoff by 12 strokes. He also won the next Open in 1950 and again in 1952 and 1957.

After public outrage at the transparency of the US Tour's real motivation, the PGA invited Bobby Locke back in 1950. (Jones had previously invited him back to Augusta and the PGA had nothing to say about whether Bobby Locke entered the US Open.)

Bobby Locke came back to America, where he had a contract to endorse Dunlop balls, but he was by then a world superstar and didn't need the US Tour for money. Bobby Locke then had a mentality of "I want you'se to go and F*** yourselves" and henceforth chose to play his golf in the UK.

Bobby Locke 14
Pictured above and below without his Plus fours. After his accident the stockings restricted blood flow in his legs.
Bobby locke 15

George duncan
Match against George Duncan in 1950 in the UK.

Bobby Locke had a 50 year mannerism that he did subconciously. Wiping his upper lip with his hand. (See above 1952 and below 1950).
1971. Still doing it until he left us.
english 1
Applying "English" to an Approach Shot above and Drive below. (1952).
english 2
And putting too.
Bobby Locke curve
Handling Oakmont's Greens.
Bobby Locke Follow Through
Bobby Locke US Open 1951.
Tree trouble
Tree trouble while leading US Open in 1951.
Bing Crosby
Bobby Locke at Bing Crosby Tournament with Stranahan and Thomson.
Applause 1951 US Open
Bobby Locke acknowledging applause in 1951 US Open.

Between 1949 and 1957, Bobby Locke won four Open Championships. He entered the US Open seven times, and finished third twice, fourth twice, and fifth once.

Between 1935 and 1954, Bobby Locke won the South African Open nine times. (He entered 9 times and was unbeaten in stroke play in South Africa for 20 years). He also won the British Open in 1952 and again in 1957 and the Australian open at Gailes (Brisbane) in 1955. After that, he continued to play, but he was content with his career.

Bobby Locke 16

Gailes Golf Club Brisbane Australia.

Bobby Locke 17

Bobby Locke when walking down the fairway reminded one of a portly and graceful Achbishop.

He walked through the galleries who opened up for him in response to his courteous "Through Please".


1949 Open (Click above Image to view). (British Pathe).

6 to 1

Bobby Locke 6 - 1 Favorite for 1949 Open Championship.


Bobby Locke Driving at Sandwich.


Bobby Locke at TROON.


Bobby Locke at TROON again.


Bobby Locke at TROON yet again.

cotton and browne

Match against Cotton & Daly partnered by Ken Brown.

Bobby Locke at Sandwich.


Locke beating Bradshaw by 12 strokes.

Bobby Locke 20

Bad luck for Harry Bradshaw. Losing by 1 stroke because of an  unplayable lie in a Beer Bottle. (It was actually a broken Irish Whiskey bottle) This Photo was retrospectively "Faked" by the Press. Nothing changes! Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story. (Ruses and Fake News even before President Donald Trump mentioned it).

The winner received £300.

Bobby Locke 21

1950 Open (Click above Image to view). (British Pathe).

The winner received £300.


Click above Image to see and hear Audio of Bobby Locke Acceptance speech. (Big file 80MB will take a while to load. Please wait!)


His Clubs and Car was locked in a Garage in Blackpool and a passing Milkman luckily knew where the owner lived. Locke arrived at the course only in time to put on his shoes and go to the first tee.


Bobby Locke Instructional Movie.

After winning the Open Championship Bobby Locke received an invitation from the Canadian Golf Association inviting him to play No1 for Canada against the USA.

Locke accepted and in the matches at Montreal he played the US Open Champion Julius Boros who was of Hungarian ancestry.


Julius Boros.

The match was billed as Open champion versus US Open champion.

Locke won!


Bobby Locke in Stockholm in Sweden in 1953.


Beat Bobby Locke competition open to the public, You paid 2s/6d for your card and played against Bobby Locke on handicap, If you beat him, you would receive a certificate signed by Locke. Proceeds went to charity.

Beat Bobby Locke

Some who beat Bobby Locke.

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1952 Open (Click above Image to view). (British Pathe).

The winner received £300.

Bobby Locke at Troon.


Bobby Locke overshooting 72nd Green in 1952 Open.

Bobby Locke Open 1952

1950 Open Championship.

Bobby Locke 24

1957 Open (Click above Image to view). (British Pathe).

The winner received £1000.

Bobby Locke 25

Bobby Locke at St Andrews.


Practising on Beach at St Andrews 1957. He had a great pivot!

Under todays golf rules, Bobby Locke would not have won the 1957 Open at St Andrews. (Signing incorrect card).

He was playing the final hole with Bruce Crampton who asked him to mark his ball which he did about 6 inches to the right.


Bruce Crampton & Bobby Locke 1957.

He replaced his ball without the 6 inch adjustment and holed out.


Locke putting from the wrong spot. Taken from Newsreel footage. Frame 1 shows original position of locke's ball before marking it. (Note Bruce Crampton's ball in backgroud ). Second Frame shows where Locke incorrectly replaced it and where he putted from. Stills taken from 1957 Open Video above. The discrepancy was 6" further from the hole. (Putter width).

The next day it was noticed on Newsreel footage. The Prizegiving ceremony had already taken place and the Trophy engraved and Locke was left in limbo until he received a unique letter from NC Selway, the chairman of the championship committee: "The committee considers that when a competitor has three for the Open championship from two feet, and then commits a technical error which brings him no possible advantage, exceptional circumstances then exist and the decision should be given accordingly in equity and the spirit of the game.

Bobby Locke had it in his head that Peter Thomson who was placed second had appealed to the Officials to overturn the decision and bore a grudge against Peter Thomson thereafter. Peter Thomson stated this in an article and also that it was not true. He had not appealed!

"Please feel free to show this letter to anyone."

Locke's Wedge to the Road Hole was a joy to behold. He hooked it out over the road and the wall and out of bounds and it then looped back inbounds and onto the green from where he holed out.

In a game where the rule of law is commendably sacrosanct it was the first and possibly last ruling to hinge on the "spirit of the game" until Zach Johnson years later in the 2012 Crowne Plaza Open when the infraction was brought to the Rules Official's attention by TV commentator Peter Kostis. Zach had also played out of turn when he tee'd off at the 18th as it was not his honor but instead partner Jason Dufner's honor'.

peter Kostis

Peter Kostis.

Zach was penalized 2 strokes (For incorrect remarking not playing out of turn for which there is no penalty) but won anyway!


Zach Johnson Open Champion 2015.

A player cannot be penalized after proceedings have been brought to a close. (Prizegiving Ceremony).

Locke treasured the letter and as a gesture of gratitude decided never to wear his trademark plus fours again.

Before winning the 1957 Open Championship Locke was considered to be "finished". An opinion shared by himself. He had been beaten by Bruce Keyter in South Africa in 1955 and lost a Matchplay game to Retief Waltman a young 25 YO who later won two SA Opens before surprisingly entering the Christian Ministry.

At a tournament in South Africa before going to St Andrews Locke was seen coming up the 72nd fairway accompanied by his playing partner and two caddies only. It was sad to see and comments were made "why does he not retire?"

When interviewed and asked about more trips to America he had touched his expanding waistline and said "those days are over".

His win was therefore a welcome surprise!

A year after winning his fourth British Open (Locke captured the 1949, 1950, 1952 and 1957 Opens), he was the course record-holder in the greater Johannesburg area at Germiston (67), Houghton (65), Kensington (65), Krugersdorp (65), Ohenimuri (63), Parkview (70 – it must have been a difficult track in those days), Royal Johannesburg West (62), Springs CC (also 62), State Mines (62 once again) and Pollak Park (66).

Down in the Cape, he held course records at Mowbray (70 – five under par), Royal Cape (67), Westlake (73 – the south-easter must have been howling), Wellington (69) and Worcester (67 – a score established in 1945 just after he came back from World War 2 when the course was a par-75 so he was eight under), George GC (68), King William’s Town (68), and the nine-hole Leisure Isle Golf Links in Knysna (31).

In present day KZN, he held course records at Durban CC (67), Royal Durban (65), Port Shepstone (71), Scottburgh (65) and Umkomaas (64). And, apparently, he established a bunch of lowest recorded rounds at a number of platteland courses. Locke loved to travel around the country, playing exhibition games and, being a social animal, enjoying the odd pint afterwards with the club members.

Over 72 holes he was a magician. At Kensington, in March 1954, he won the 1000 Guineas Tournament on 262, 26-under. Locke also won the Transvaal Open at Glendower in February 1939, aged just 21 at the time, on 265 and winning by 26 shots from Sid Brews and the same championship again in 1954 at Springs CC, also with 265.


Exhibition at Battersea Gardens in 1952.


Mixing with royalty. Former King Edward VIII then Duke of Windsor. They partnered at a Pro-Am in Florida in 1950. (Best ball of 67 and among the "also ran's").


Bobby Locke Meeting Field Marshall Montgomery at Addington Palace.


Playing at Fulwell.


Freedom of City of Glasgow.



Bobby Locke 26

In New Zealand 1955. Newspaper in Gisborne inadvertently shows Bobby Locke putting left handed.


Bobby Locke at Wellington NZ 1955.


Bobby Locke Vs Norman von Nida in 144 hole match in South Africa in 1951. Locke won 10 and 9.


Versus Peter Thomson in Knysna South Africa.


Bobby Locke Exhibition Game in Salisbury (Harare) Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1957. He shot a course record 67.


1954 Dunlop Masters  with Silver Mug below.



What the F***  At Wentworth Surrey Daks Tournament 1957 which Bobby Locke won.

more trouble

Daks Wentworth 1957. More trouble but Bobby Locke won. 


Bobby Locke & Dai Rees at Canada Cup.


Bobby locke (SA), Norman von Nida (Aust), Dai Rees (Wales) & Max Faulkner (England).


Click above to see Bobby Locke playing in the 1951 US Open won by Ben Hogan. Locke was placed 3rd. (Source Critical past).


Bobby Locke With Bob Charles in NZ 1955.

wellington 1950

Bobby Locke In Wellington NZ 1950.


Benalla NSW Australia 1950.

Bobby Locke had nine seasons on the US Tour. Between 1947 and 1950, he won 11 tournaments. In Europe between 1938 and 1957, he won 23 tournaments. In South Africa he won 38 tournaments.

He was unbeaten in stroke play in South Africa for 20 years until Bruce Keyter the pro from Royal Durban beat him in the middle fifties. He was beaten once in Matchplay by his former Amateur teammate of 1937 Otway Hayes who collapsed from shock and his friends had to help him from the course. 

He won the South African Open at Glendower Golf Club in 1938 with a score of 265. The runner up was Sid Brews 26 strokes back. This on a 7000 yard Par 72 course.

Bobby Locke was thankful for his success on the American Tour. He used the money to buy his mother and father a home in South Africa.

Bobby Locke was famous for his deliberateness on the course, as well as for his accent (BBC English and copied by Peter Thomson), his odd clothing (tie (usually Airforce or Club), plus-fours, touring cap), and his strange-looking swing that typically lofted soaring hook shots that landed gently on the green and rolled pin high.

I remember standing behind the green and watching Bobby Locke play. The ball approached the green from my left and it was uncanny. It pitched ever so gently and checked on the second bounce the result of hitting the ball before the turf.

When teeing off Bobby Locke frequently hit over the spectators standing to the right of the tee.  He never hit anyone but hit over their trusting heads.  He often said "You will have to get back on the right please!".

He also quickly got over any shots that didn't work out: "I just blame the human element and leave it at that, after all, I may hit a few exceptionally good ones later. If you give it a chance, things balance out in the end."

His emotional expression never wavered, always displaying a calm, steady concentration on the shot at hand. He was always the same, regardless of whether he had made three birdies in a row or made three double-bogeys. He always stayed relaxed, walking slowly. Even when putting his golfing shoes on, he would pull a sock on and then pause to tell a leisurely story before continuing to pull the shoe on or start with the other sock.

His "benign imperturbability" drove the Pros nuts! They said that he jabbed his putts. When he stood over those fifty-footers in his closed stance and appeared to "hook" his putts at a terribly slow pace all the way to the lip, were the ball seemed to pause and then histrionically expire into the cup. Watch todays golfers putting and you will see that the ball is pushed off the club face before it starts rolling. Locke's putts were topped and started rolling immediately. They were hit on the upswing and above center.

Bobby Locke and Ukulele.

Affectionately known to those close to him as "Muffin," Bobby Locke seldom practised, his golf and his bombing and loved to party. He always had his Ukulele nearby. 


Click above Image to hear Ukulele rendition of "Please don't talk about me when i'm gone".

He first purchased a Ukulele in Augusta in 1947. He frequently closed Tour parties singing and strumming: "I've never been very
good, but after six or seven drinks, I begin to sound reasonable." He had a version of Sioux City Sue called Sue  Sammy Snead which he sang at more than 1 prizegiving ceremony. Another one of his favorite's was "Please don't talk about me when I'm gone". Sue Sammy Snead went something like this:

(Sue Sammy Snead Sue Sammy Snead your hair is brown your eyes are blue
I'd bet my clubs and bag on you, Sue Sammy Snead
Sue Sammy Snead there ain't no better Iron player than Sue Sammy Snead).

Bobby  Locke and Bob Hope.

He sang out of tune and had some strange keys. Bob Hope invited him onto his TV show to sing for him.

Bobby Locke was good company and fun to have around, above all he was a 'really nice person".

Bob Hope

Bobby Locke & Bob Hope in England.

Bob Hope Paleface

Bobby Locke With Bob Hope on the set of "Paleface" in 1950. (Message from Hope to Locke reads saw 32 with own eyes and refers to game with locke where locke had 32 for 9 holes).

Bobby Locke seldom practised. I recall one Tournament where he arrived only in time to go to the 1st Tee. He hit his 7 Iron shot onto the Green on a par 3 first, took 2 Putts, got his Par  and that was his practise.

Bobby locke Gary player

Bobby Locke The Father figure with South Africans Gary Player & Trevor Wilkes. 21 YO Player's first win at Berkshire in 1956. 

Bobby Locke Charlie Ward Ossie Pickworth

Daily Mail. (1950) Triple tie. Locke, Ward and Pickworth. Click Image to view Video. (Source Movietone News).

Bobby Locke retired to his home "Sandwich," in Yeoville, inner Johannesburg, South Africa, where he was a regular at his neighbourhood golf courses. (Ohenimuri or Parkview).  He would put his name down to play with random members who enjoyed his golfing and social company. The night would end with Bobby Locke strumming on his Ukulele.


Answering Fan Mail 1975.

Bobby Locke 27

Unveiling of Statue at Parkview Golf Club by Denis Hutchinson and Dale Hayes.

Bobby Locke 28

Ohenimuri Country Club.


With Arnold Palmer Carnoustie 1975. Locke was 58 Palmer was 45.


Champion's Dinner 1978. Locke right back row next to winner jack Nacklaus.


Playing with Dai Rees and amateur Arthur Stewart in SA Open in 1953.

He made annual pilgrimages to the British Open, where in later years he typically missed the cut, but thoroughly enjoyed visiting other golfers and basking in his glory.  By then his "Bobby Locke draw" had turned into a hook.

Click above Image to see
Video of Bobby Locke playing with former winner (1951) Max Faulkner in the 1971 Open Championship at age 54. Note the draw on his 7 Iron Tee shot and Max Faulkner's beautiful tribute. He Qualified for all 4 rounds.

I last saw Bobby Locke perform in the late 1970's when he had a farewell tour of Australia. (His 4th). In the Australian Open he received tremendous ovations when he went off the first Tee firstly with Peter Thomson in the first round and then with Kel Nagle in the second round.

He missed the cut but then had a spell as Guest Commentator where he excelled himself!

His famous Tweed Sports Jacket was gifted to a lucky Barman in Melbourne.

Bobby Locke At Sun City SA Legends Tournament 1976. (Still winning prizemoney).
Bobby locke Madame Tussauds.
Bobby Locke Effigy at Madame Tussauds Waxworks London. Other Effigies shown are Stirling Moss, Peter May, Herb Elliott, Maria Bueno, Ingamar Johannsen and Christine Truman.

Bobby Locke Golf Hall of Fame.

Bobby Locke Hall of Fame

Bobby Locke  Hall of Fame Medal 1977.

hall of Fame.

He was inducted into the Florida based Golf Hall of Fame in 1977.


Bobby Locke Ukulele in Golf hall of Fame.


Mexican, German and Australian Opens don't "crack" a mention!

Bobby Locke DOWNLOADS: 

Double-Click on blue links below to download PDF  eBOOKS.pdf1 If you don't have a PDF Reader then download it from here:


** FREE ** Golf hints by Bobby Locke pdf2

** FREE ** The basis of my game by Bobby Locke pdf3


** FREE ** Bobby Locke story by Ronald Norval 1951. (Biography). pdf4

** FREE ** Bobby Locke on Golf Country Life 1953 (Autobiography). pdf5

Bobby Locke VIDEO.

Bobby Locke on Golf VIDEO.




Golf Digest


Peter Alliss Golf legends.

Max Faulkner.



Critical past.

Images in the Public Domain.

Movietone News.

Bobby Locke on Golf.


Professional wins (74)
PGA Tour wins (15) 1947 (6) Canadian Open, Houston Open, Philadelphia Inquirer Open, All American Open, Columbus Open, Goodall Round Robin 1948 (2) Phoenix Open, Chicago Victory Open 1949 (3) Cavalier Invitational, Goodall Round Robin, The Open Championship 1950 (2) All American Open, The Open Championship 1952 (1) The Open Championship 1957 (1)

Sunshine Tour wins (30) 1935 Natal Open, South African Open (both as an amateur) 1936 Natal Open (as an amateur) 1937 South African Open (as an amateur) 1938 South African Open, South Africa Professional, Transvaal Open 1939 South African Open, South Africa Professional, Transvaal Open 1940 South African Open, South Africa Professional, Transvaal Open 1941 Transvaal Open 1946 South African Open, South Africa Professional, Transvaal Open 1949 Transvaal Open 1950 South African Open, South Africa Professional, Transvaal Open 1951 South African Open, South Africa Professional, Transvaal Open 1953 Natal Open 1954 Transvaal Open 1955 South African Open, South Africa Professional, Transvaal Open 1958 Transvaal Open Note: These wins pre-date the Sunshine Tour. However, in the List of golfers with most Sunshine Tour wins, Bobby Locke is credited with 30. These are the 30 tournaments.

Other wins (29) 1938 Irish Open, New Zealand Open 1939 Dutch Open 1946 Yorkshire Evening News Tournament, Brand-Lochryn Tournament, British Masters 1947 Carolinas Open, Carolinas PGA Championship 1948 Carolinas Open 1950 Dunlop Tournament, Spalding Tournament, North British-Harrogate Tournament 1952 French Open, Mexican Open, Lotus Tournament, Carolinas Open 1953 French Open 1954 Egyptian Open, German Open, Swiss Open, Dunlop Tournament, Dunlop British Masters (tie with Jimmy Adams), Egyptian Match Play, Swallow-Harrogate Tournament (Stroke play stage) 1955 Australian Open 1957 Daks Tournament, Bowmaker Tournament (tied with Frank Jowle) 1959 New Hampshire Open, Bowmaker Tournament

International appearances:

Springbok Amateur Golf Team to Britain 1937,
Canada Cup 4 appearances for South Africa with Gary Player and 1 for England/South Africa with Harry Weetman,
Empire versus Britain,
Canada versus USA by invitation on loan to Canada at Montreal 1950.

Proceed to Chapter 3.



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