The Golf Innovators
Ben Sayers was formed as a company in 1873 and is thought to be the oldest golf company in the world. Ben Sayers started from humble beginnings, carrying out club repairs and making golf balls by hand from a lean-to shed adjacent to the 18th tee at North Berwick Golf Club, which was to become Ben’s first shop. It was from this shed that he started to acquire a reputation as a golf club manufacturer and innovator, even making a set of clubs for King Edward VII in 1902!
Ben was also a highly acclaimed golfer himself and was particularly renowned for his match play abilities. Throughout the late 1800s he was involved in many high-stakes matches against the best golfers of his day with each match attracting thousands of spectators.
Ben played in 33 British Open Championships from 1880 to 1923 and although he never managed to secure the coveted Claret Jug, he came close on many occasions, finishing in the top 10 on 12 occasions and finishing as runner up in 1888. Ben played his last Open at the age of 67 and in the following year, his final round of golf.
In 1913, Ben Sayers Junior joined the business. Young Ben was a very good golfer himself and played matches alongside his father on many occasions, most famously when representing Scotland in international matches against England.
By 1934, the demand for the Ben Sayers brand was growing and so the business moved to a new factory in North Berwick. From this factory Ben Sayers established a worldwide reputation for producing high-quality, custom-made clubs, with clubs exported to all corners of the globe, including America, South Africa, India, Canada and Japan.
By the mid-1970s, production had risen from a few hundred clubs per week to 5,000 per week and the Ben Sayers & Son factory had become renowned for creating revolutionary pieces of golfing equipment, from gutta-percha balls and the “Benny” putter (the first to have a square-edged handgrip) to, in later years, the first set of carbon-shafted clubs and the first “oversized” driver. During this time Ben Sayers even made a specially commissioned putter for Jack Nicklaus.
Today, Ben Sayers continues to offer a range of high-quality clubs, golf bags, trolleys and accessories and supplies them all over the world. Wherever a game of golf is being played you can guarantee a Ben Sayers club will be present. How Ben would have enjoyed that, and the fact that over 148 years after he first got to work on those hickory shafted clubs, his name is more prominent than ever in the world of golf.