Andrew Strath, the 1865 Champion Golfer, was one of three golfing brothers, while a fourth, Mad Willie, was better known for home invasions in which he broke into people’s houses at dinner time and stole whatever he could find of value.
The family was from St Andrews but Andrew took over as greenkeeper at Prestwick when Old Tom Morris returned to St Andrews in 1864.
Strath was runner-up to Morris in the 1864 Open and a year later rallied from one behind Willie Park Snr with a last round of 53 on the 12-hole Prestwick course to win by two from Park. He was the first Champion Golfer not named Park or Morris.
A fine club maker, three years later he died of consumption at the age of 32. His brother Davie was great friends with Young Tommy Morris and was runner-up in The Open three times, including in 1876 when he tied with Bob Martin but was accused of hitting onto the green at the 17th when the players ahead were still putting out.
Davie was unaware of this due to the great crush of spectators but his ball hit a player on the green and was stopped from going onto the road. The committee declined to rule on a possible disqualification until after the play-off but Strath objected to playing without knowing one way or the other, so Martin was declared the winner in a walk-over.
Davie, too, died young of consumption, on a voyage to Australia intended to improve his health in 1879. George Strath was the first professional at Troon and later emigrated to America. The family was honoured with the naming of Strath bunker on the right-hand side of the 11th green on the Old Course.