Doctors of the Game®

The culmination of seven years of research and writing by PGA of America Master Professional Billy Dettlaff Doctors of the Game delivers a comprehensive history of the golf profession offering a unique perspective for anyone interested in the history of golf. The 696-page tome is written in three distinct chronological books presented in a single volume:

Book One

The Scottish Evolution

The Game to 1890

From the earliest written golf reference in 1457 the story advances through the growth of the artisan skills of club and ball making, the evolution of the caddie, then on to the formalization of the golf profession in St. Andrews’ own Allan Robertson in the early 1840s.

Recognized as the King of the Game for over 25 years Robertson led a cadre of “cracks” to capture the fascination of Scotland’s populace advancing the games popularity and growth. His untimely death in 1859 at age 43 directly influenced the game’s move into the Open Era, introducing the concept of the Champion Golfer of the Year title in the personalities of brothers Willie and Mungo Park, along with Old Tom Morris and his son Young Tom. Combined these four champions captured 13 of the first 15 Open titles.

Learn how over the 30-year period to 1890 the profession advanced from a handful of professionals and courses to an explosion in Great Britain that spurred the exportation of the game to the United States and the world. Book One culminates with a biography of Willie Park Junior, widely recognized as a key figure in golf’s successful expansion into Europe, Canada, and the United States.

Profiles and Biographies include:

Early notable caddies

  • Old Alick
  • Daft Willie
  • William “Lang Willie” Robertson
  • Sandy and David Pirie
  • Auld Daw Anderson
  • John “Fiery” Carey
  • Henry “Big” Crawford

The first prominent professionals

  • Allan Robertson
  • Old Tom Morris
  • Young Tom Morris
  • Willie Dunn Senior
  • Jamie Dunn
  • Willie Park Senior
  • Mungo Park
  • Willie Park Junior

Book Two

An American Transformation

1890 through 1915

Meet a cast of Scottish and English professionals enlisted to spread the spirit of the game through their skills in instruction, equipment production, course design, and stellar competitive play. Just as notable was their palpable respect of the game’s Scottish traditions and fierce protection of the foundational rules and etiquette.

Learn the details of the American Transformation as naturalized and homebred professionals supported the growth of the game in the New World. Meet the professionals who taught premier American amateurs such as Chick Evans, Francis Ouimet, Bobby Jones, Alexa Sterling and Glenna Collett. Take a walk through the 25-year period beginning in 1890 when golf exploded in popularity reaching nearly 1,000 US courses by the turn of the century.

Even with these remarkable contributions find out how early professionals had to fight for social respectability and a rise in income potential for their specialized skills. Gain insight into the necessary 1901 formation of the Professional Golfers Association in Great Britain, and the birth of its American counterpart in 1916.

Profiles and Biographies include:

British Professionals

  • Harry Vardon
  • J.H. Taylor
  • James Braid

Immigrant Professionals

  • W.F. “Willie” Davis
  • Willie Dunn Junior
  • Willie & Georgina Campbell
  • The Foulis Family – James Senior & Junior, David & Robert
  • The Smith Brothers – Alex, Willie, Macdonald & George
  • The Andersons – Tom Senior, Willie, & Tom Junior
  • The Maiden Brothers – James & Stewart
  • The Hutchison Brothers – Tom, Jock & Bill
  • Charles “Chay” Burgess
  • Fred McLeod
  • Early Course Designers: Alex Findley, Thomas Bendelow & Donald Ross

Homebred Professionals

  • John Shippen Junior
  • The Horton Brothers –
    • Chester
    • Waverly
    • and Elijah
  • Tom McNamara
  • Mike Brady
  • John “JJ” McDermott

Book Three

The Golf Profession in a Changing World

1916 through 2015

From 1916 through present day follow the game and profession along a timeline highlighting the game’s socio-economic challenges and successes over five twenty-year generations culminating in 2015. Experience the inspiring stories of the men and women, both well and lesser-known professionals, who dedicated their careers to growing the enjoyment and participation in the game.

Understand the tremendous obstacles that had to be overcome for the game to survive and flourish. Read about professional efforts to advance, support and protect the game’s future through:

  • World War I
  • The Great Depression
  • World War II
  • The recession and uncontrolled inflation of the 1970s
  • Golf’s remarkable 1990s boom and the bust at the turn of the Millennium

Profiles and Biographies include:

Leading Founding PGA Members:

  • Robert White
  • George Sargent
  • John B. “Jack” Mackie
  • Alex Pirie

World War I Heroes

  • Cuthbert Butchart
  • Tommy Armour
  • Arnaud Massey
  • Macdonald Smith
  • Ernest Jones
  • William Hutchison
  • Alister MacKenzie

Generation One

  • Long Jim Barnes
  • George Low Senior & Junior
  • The Seven Turnesa Brothers
  • Henry Dettlaff
  • Johnny Revolta
  • Walter Hagen
  • Gene Sarazen
  • Helen MacDonald
  • Bessie Fenn

Generation Two

  • George Jacobus
  • Johnny Farrell
  • Horton Smith
  • Helen Hicks
  • Hope Segnious
  • Betty Hicks
  • Byron Nelson
  • Ben Hogan
  • Tom LoPresti
  • Bill Powell & Renee Powell

Generation Three

  • Bill Strausbaugh
  • Joe Jemsek
  • Ellen Griffin
  • Don Padgett & Don Padgett II
  • Claude Harmon & Sons
  • Manuel de la Torre

Generation Four

  • Bob Nye
  • Pete Davison
  • Ken Morton Senior
  • Jack Lumpkin
  • Sandy Lumpkin LaBauve

Generation Five

  • Brendan Walsh
  • Jennifer Webster O’Connor
  • Jim O'Mara
  • Matt & Jennifer Borocz
  • Mary Beth Nienhaus