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Simpson Foulis

Full name: Simpson Jamieson Foulis
Gender: Male
Born: January 24, 1884 in St. Andrews, Fife, Great Britain
Died: November 19, 1951 in Wheaton, Illinois, United States
Affiliations: Western Golf Association / Chicago Golf Club
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Golf


Simpson Foulis was one of five pioneering St.Andrews-born brothers who emigrated to the United States in the 1890s and became founding fathers of the game of golf in the midwest of America.

The five brothers consisted of David, John, James, Robert and Simpson. Jim was the first to make the trip across the Atlantic, arriving in March 1895, when he was appointed the first professional at Chicago Golf Club, one of the oldest golf courses in the United States. Robert soon followed a few months later after obtaining a contract to design a new golf course. Dave arrived the following year and in 1899 James senior arrived with the rest of the family including 14-year-old Simpson.

James Foulis senior was the foreman in Old Tom Morris’s shop at St. Andrews and the boys all worked for their father in the shop at some time or other. James senior was recognised as one of the best club makers of the day. All brothers, except John, were golfers although he was involved in ball making and was an accountant at Chicago golf club. Jim, Robert and Dave were all involved in golf course design.

Simpson was the youngest of the five brothers and whilst at Madras College, St Andrews, he won a scratch tournament at an early age. He was the only one of the brothers not to turn professional and consequently competed in the individual match-play event at the 1904 St Louis Olympics, which was held at Glen Echo Country Club, at which his brother Robert was the professional. After two medal rounds Simpson qualified for the match-play element and in the first round beat the American [Harry Potter] before being eliminated in the next round by another American, [Ned Sawyer].

The most successful of the four brothers was Jim who finished joint-third in the inaugural US Open in 1895, and the following year captured the title at Shinnecock Hills and with it the winner’s cheque for $150. Jim and Dave were the most innovative of the five brothers. They modified the new Haskell golf ball in 1903 and invented a new club to be used with the modified ball, and so they created the mashie-niblick, equivalent to a modern-day 7–iron. They patented the club, a patent they held until 1920. They also brought the first metal hole cup liners to the United States in 1902 and as a result, they designed ‘The Foulis Flag’ which would stand upright in the new metal container.

Simpson Foulis died in 1951 and like his four brothers is buried at Wheaton, Illinois.


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1904 Summer 20 St. Louis Golf Men's Individual Great Britain GBR 9T

Men's Individual

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank HU/TP S
1904 Summer 20 St. Louis Golf Great Britain Qualifying 16T 174
1904 Summer 20 St. Louis Golf Great Britain Qualifying Round One 22T 89
1904 Summer 20 St. Louis Golf Great Britain Qualifying Round Two 13T 85
1904 Summer 20 St. Louis Golf Great Britain Round One Match #3 1 5 & 3
1904 Summer 20 St. Louis Golf Great Britain Round Two Match #2 2
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