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2007 U.S. Open Courses

Over at Pittsburgh's prestigious Fox Chapel Golf Club was another Carnoustian, the garrulous Jock Kennedy. Bill Evans, a member of the Princeton class of 1933, enlivened his alumni magazine some years back with a brief remembrance of the Carnoustians in Pittsburgh, who, he noted, frequently "got together to sample the whiskey and tell stories about the old country." Evans, an accomplished amateur player with many club affiliations in the eastern United States, wrote in particular about Kennedy, who served as Fox Chapel's combination pro and greenskeeper from 1927 to 1949.

Kennedy's sense of humor and thick accent "endeared him to the membership," recalled Evans. Playing in a foursome with Kennedy in April of 1937, Evans struck a seven-iron on Fox Chapel's par-three eleventh and watched it fly toward the flag. "Y' oo me a bottle a' whiskee," Kennedy declared, even before the ball had landed. It bounced twice and dropped into the hole. "Needless to say," wrote Evans, "Jock got his reward."

Indeed, the Carnoustie dialect was a saleable asset in and around Pittsburgh. Fred Brand employed it to lecture his wealthy Allegheny lesson takers as well as to warn caddies and shag boys against incompetent performance. According to club historian Richard Spatz, Brand would "demonstrate the proper swing with one dozen balls, never more or less. Should the caddie bring back only eleven, Fred would fall on him with his Scottish brogue, which could be heard well past the clubhouse."

Golf lore centering on western Pennsylvania would be incomplete without an Arnold Palmer connection, so it's necessary to note that Latrobe Country Club had a Carnoustian in charge named Dave Brand (a distant relation of Fred) who employed Arnold's father, Deacon, before moving on and letting the Palmer saga unfold.

Of all the Carnoustie pros in Pittsburgh, only one, Eddie Melvin, who enjoyed a long posting at Wanango Country Club, seems to have encouraged his progeny to continue in the family trade. Eddie's son Barrett was the Pennsylvania high school champion at fourteen and played in the first of six U.S. Opens the following year. He worked as an assistant pro at Wanango and then at Oakmont before heading to Hawaii and the head-pro job at Kalakaua.

Jack Brand, being a contemporary, crossed paths with Barrett Melvin frequently. "I followed him at Fox Chapel the year he won the West Penn Amateur," recalled Brand in the USGA oral history. "He was a wonderful guy. Then he turned professional and ended up in Hawaii, married to one of the Dole Pineapple girls."

For one son of a Carnoustie man, courage without the timidity, it would seem.

The Carnoustie Swing

Among the ideas Scotland exported to America was a technique called the "Carnoustie swing," also known as the "free pivot." To perform it properly, the player turned his head during the takeaway to follow the clubhead back, then kept his gaze turned until he saw the clubhead returning, so as to follow the path of it all the way to impact. This quirk distinguished the Carnoustie swing from its St. Andrews counterpart and "got [the] shoulders through grandly," as one proponent of the technique claimed.


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