Archie Compston was born in Wolverhampton and was a contemporary of former Wentworth Club Professional George Duncan; indeed, the pair were team mates in the Ryder Cup. [Note this information about his birth place now looks to be incorrect. See page 2 for Edna's update]
Compston was a fine player in his day and made a big impact at Wentworth. 1945 - 1948. However, after just three short years he left the Club to redefine his uncompromising personality and volatile temper amid the balmy weather and tinkling sophistication of the Mid-Ocean Club in Bermuda.
1925 – Open Championship Runner-up
1925 & 1927 – PGA Champion
1926 – GB vs USA at Wentworth
1927, 1929 & 1931 – Ryder Cup Player
The first photograph opposite is of Archie Compston with his caddie at the 1946 British Open, St Andrews. The second photograph is of Archie in 1925 at the British Open Prestwick.
Scran ID: 000-000-201-775-C Resource Rights Holder: Hulton Getty
'Next to sunburn, a visit to the dentist, or a wasp sting on the privates, nothing gives a man more masochistic satisfaction than a round of golf.' Archie Compston
Exciting news 4th February 2010. Edna appears to have solved the problem of where Archie was born.
Golf - with Peter Ricketts Feb 22 2008
'TWO of the most colourful characters ever to grace English golf played their first tentative shots at Penn, the Staffordshire club who this year celebrate their centenary.
One was Archie Compston, who rose to be a leading professional and friend and tutor of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII and then Duke of Windsor when he gave up the throne for love of American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The other was from the other extreme of the social spectrum - Charlie Stowe, a Black Country miner who crashed through the class barrier to reach the highest peaks of amateur golf.
In their early days these illustrious golfers needed on occasion to shoo away horses and cattle to play their shots because the course winds around the pleasant heathland of ancient Penn Common which gave locals grazing rights. Thankfully, all that became history when members bought the land from the Duke of Sutherland in 1955 and the mooing of cows has given way only to the occasional angry bellow of frustrated golfers as their shots go astray.
Archie Compston (sacked by Kidderminster at 16 for idleness) was one of Britain’s leading pros from 1925 to the early 1930’s and came close to winning the Open, being runner-up in 1925 and 3rd in 1928. But he was best known for his close association with the Prince of Wales, a keen golfer, and also for his incredible 18 up with 17 to play victory in a challenge match against the mighty Walter Hagen.
Penn, nowadays a thriving private members’ club, can look back with pride on two outstanding golfers who cut their first divots on the common.'
On Saturday, April 26, 1930 an exhibition match was played at Moseley between two Ryder Cup players, Abe Mitchell, who was Samual Ryder's teacher, and Archie Compston, who played in the inaugural Ryder Cup Matches at the Worcester Country Club, Massachusetts, in 1927.
Mitchell won the morning matchplay round 2 and 1. Mitchell also won the afternoon medal round by one shot. 71 to Compston's 72.
Archie Compston was one of Britain's leading pros from 1925 to the early 1930's and came close to winning the Open, being runner-up in 1925 and 3rd in 1928.
I found details of a record which had been for sale on Ebay made by Archie. Sadly it was already sold.
Record. Silver King Golfing Hints, four talks by Archie Compston: "The Drive, The Iron, Approaching, Putting", c. 1930's, two 78rpm records in original decorated sleeves, slightly rubbed. See photograph 4 opposite.
COMPSTON, Archie, LONGHURST, Henry Carpenter, WHITE, Jack
GOLFING IN SCOTLAND AT 100 HOLIDAY RESORTS
This book includes a full list of Scottish golf courses on the L.M.S. and L.N.E.R. railway lines, plus information and descriptions of selected courses in one hundred Scottish resorts with 22 plans of courses and a fold-out map at the back showing the situation of the principle courses.
Small 8vo. 124pp. 11 plates. 22 plans, fold-out map. Some cracking to internal joints. Turquoise cloth, gilt and black lettering to spine and front. [D&M, 18860]
Publisher Cheltenham/London: Burrows Ed, J & Co. Date [c.1936] Code: 3871 £145.00
See photograph 3 opposite
In the winter of 1925 Massy visited the USA with Archie Compston the British PGA Champion. They played a number of matches in Florida and the Southern States.
There is a wonderful piece of film reel at http://www.bufvc.ac.uk/davidlean/video/i82-25091930.html
Gaumont Sound News Issue 82, released 25/9/1930 which shows Archie Compston and Sandy Herd competing for a £1,000 prize
'Many of the members and guests who've played at Coombe Hill could equally be described as flamboyant characters. None more so than Edward VIII who knew how to live the 'the good life'. Golf was one of his passions and he forged a long friendship with another Coombe Hill Pro, Archie Compston. While on a Mediterranean cruise together, the pair of them drove 3,000 balls into the sea. History does not recall whether or not royalty 'ruled the waves' in that particular driving contest.'
The Prince of Wales was at St Andrews that week and he joined the gallery to watch the first round match of Henry Cotton and Archie Compston, who was pro at the famous Coombe Hill club where the Prince was a member. Archie was five under fours on the 15th tee, but when Prince Edward appeared he began playing to the gallery even asking a small boy to advise him on the choice of club for his second. He fluffed the shot into a bunker and went on to finish with a 72 before making a furious exit from the last green.
See photograph on the right.
See photograph on the right comparing the swings of Compston and Bert Gadd
'Amongst the famous golfers featured in the book were Harry Vardon, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Henry Cotton, Alf Padgham, Alf Perry and. Jimmy Adams. He chose to compare a picture of my back-swing position with one of Archie Compston “---A position worth practising in front of a mirror”, he wrote. There was another aspect of the swing that Archie and I had in common, which appeared in newspaper extracts from a short book written by Archie and Henry at that time. Henry asked Archie to name the main fault that prevented handicap golfers from progressing. He said that the most important factor was control of the club by the left hand and arm, which form the radius of your swing and the arm should remain straight at and through the ball. It was this, more than anything else, that most of his pupils did not do. This corresponded with my own view and it formed the basis of my teaching.'
'Archibald Edward Wones Compston was a very tall striking man and one of the outstanding personalities of our era. He is most famous for his defeat of Walter Hagen by 18 & 17 in 1928, in a £500 72-hole challenge match at Moor Park. Two weeks later Hagen won his third Open at Sandwich by two shots from Sarazen and Archie was third a further shot adrift. Like Hagen he was fond of a wager and, when pro at Coombe Hill, was reckoned to make around a couple of thousand a year from betting on his own matches. The typical stake was £50 for which he would play anyone off handicap and giving them a two-hole start. In the winter of 1931 Henry Longhurst, then Captain of Cambridge University, took a team to play the Coombe Hill club. After the match Archie told them in his typically blunt manner that they were “just a bunch of lousy golfers”, “I could beat any three of you”, he said. Henry and two of the undergraduates thought they were on to a good thing and placed heavy bets on their better ball. Archie accepted, but insisted on playing off the very back tees. In winter conditions six holes were out of range in regulation for the amateurs, but not for the big hitting pro, who shot 68 and won on the last green. The result came under the heading of “Learning the lessons of life the hard way”, wrote Longhurst, who had to sell his car to settle his percentage of the wager. '
Leeds Cup winners and Ryder Cup players George Duncan, Archie Compston and Abe Mitchell were part of the historic 1929 team who played at Moortown Golf Club. Bill Davies, Ted Jarman, Jack Busson, John Fallon, Eric Green, Syd Scott, Alec Caygill, Gordon J. Brand and Howard Clark were all Leeds Cup winners and played in the Ryder Cup in later years.
1925/26 Archie Compston
ARCHIE COMPSTON SIGNED ALBUM PAGE - see photograph
Autograph album page signed by the vintage Ryder cup player
This was for sale for £25 at
In addition, in 2006 there was for sale a 1930s autograph book, including all members of the US 1937 Ryder Cup team at Southport & Ainsdale and other notable players of the time, signatures comprising: Denny Shute, Henry Picard, Archie Compston, Arthur Havers, Ed Jarman, W J (Bill) Cox, Gene Sarazen, John Revolta, Alf Perry, Byron Nelson, Ed Dudley, Sam Snead, Tony Manero, Ralph Guldahl, Horton Smith (the first winner of The Masters) & Walter Hagen, all in pencil
Walter Hagen, 1922 and 1928
Hagen won four Opens, two at Royal St George's. In 1922 he became the first American-born winner of the Open and the Guardian observed of him: "He has a style entirely his own and one that would be dangerous to copy ... in spite of that he sends the ball great distances and on the green he is a master." The week before the 1928 Open Hagen played a scheduled 36-hole exhibition match against Archie Compston at Moor Park and was thrashed 18 & 17. "When you're laid out good and flat," he said afterwards, "you mustn't squawk." But he determined on revenge, not just on Compston but on the entire nation. His next bit of business was the Open, which, of course, he won. Compston finished third, three shots behind.
WHAT THE BEST OF BRITISH PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS LOOKED LIKE 80 YEARS AGO .
The Professional Golfers' Association has chosen a very distinctive Christmas Card for 2007 in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Ryder Cup matches which began in June 1927 at the Worcester Country Club, Massachusetts. The Americans, captained by Walter Hagen, won by 9 1/2 to 2 1/2 points. The cover picture of the card shows the British team of 1927 preparing for departure from Waterloo Station in London on "The Boat Train" to join the SS Aquitania at Southampton.
Pictured is the back cover illustration of the PGA's Christmas Card. It shows the team departing on the SS Aquitania for New York, posing with its captain Abe Mitchell for a photograph on deck. Mr Mitchell was unable to travel, having been diagnosed with a grumbling appendix. His role as team captain was taken by Ted Ray.
Caption for the above picture reads: Left to right: George Philpott (team manager), Sam Ryder (the donor of the trophy), George Gadd, Arthur Havers, George Duncan, Ted Ray, Fred Robson, Archie Compston, Charles Whitcombe and Abe Mitchell.
BBC Television Programme Schedules - October 1936
Archie also made television programmes:
October 5, 1936 11.00 - 12.00
Archie Compston - Golf demonstration
Alexandra Palace Television Society
Marriage Sep 1885 Compston Edward Wones Dudley 6c 85 Is this Archie's father?
Died August 8th 1962 age 69 London. See page 2. See Shropshire page for more information.
See also the WONES / CUMPSTON pages
"I was only a kid and went for interview with the pro Archie Compston," recalled Faulkner. "He sent a letter to my mother agreeing to take me on as an assistant, but on three conditions - 'I didn't associate with the caddies, I had nothing to do with women and I kept my motions regular!'"
IGB 17 AYRES, F H, LONDON, ENGLAND: An outstanding "Deep Face Mashie" with the "Maltese Cross" mark at the toe. "Archie Compston" and "Staynorus" also on the back. Shaft is a replacement. G-7+ $70
October 1925. Article on 'Fashioning the Golf Swing - Temperament and Physique by Archie Compston.
[Archie is Britain's new 'star' and unless all evidence is untrustworth, destined in the next few years to become a world's champion. He is 6 ft 3 inches in height, very powerful and magnificently proprtioned physically. If he had not been a golfer Compston would have made an ideal boxer, for he has the heart and courage of a lion. ]
From Golf Illunstrated.
Compston Rates Bobby Jones As Foremost Golfer in America; British Star Ranks Armour Next, Followed by Cruickshank, Hagen and Farrell -- 140 Prizes, Valued at $30,000, Put Up by Westchester Biltmore Club --
By WILLIAM D. RICHARDSON.
April 30, 1926, Friday
Golf's Most Wanted by Floyd Connor.
Archie Compston was an outstanding English golfer in the 1920s. He had the eccentric habit of having three caddies accompany him during a round. One caddie performed the normal duties of carrying his clubs. A second caddie's only job was to carry Compston's apparel. And the third caddie brought along cigarettes, cigars and pipes for the chainsmoking golfer.
London 19th March 1937. The Age. CABLED SPORTING NEWS: GOLFER'S WAGERS: NOT LIABLE TO TAXATION: COMPSTON WINS CASE.
Archie Compston figured in a case in the law courts when the judge decided he was not liable to pay income tax on his winnings from golfing bets. Counsel for the Revenue department said Compston in the past ten years had derived substantial sums from this source, sometimes amounting to approximately £1000 a year after deductions of losses. His wagers sometimes amounted to £50 and £100. Counsel admitted that an ordinary person's winnings were not taxable, but he argued that Compston's were made in the course of his vocation.
Many of the members and guests who've played at Coombe Hill could equally be described as flamboyant characters. None more so than Edward VIII who knew how to live the 'the good life'. Golf was one of his passions and he forged a long friendship with another Coombe Hill Pro, Archie Compston. While on a Mediterranean crusie together, the pair of them drove 3,000 balls into the sea. History does not recall whether or not royalty 'ruled the waves' in that particular driving contest.