James Foulis
— Golfer —
Foulis with the U.S. Open trophy, and wearing the winner's medal.
Personal information
Born (1870-12-11)11 December 1870
St Andrews, Scotland
Died 31 October 1928(1928-10-31) (aged 57)
Nationality  Scotland
 United States
Status Professional
Professional wins 1
Best results in major championships
(Wins: 1)
U.S. Open Won: 1896
The Open Championship DNP
PGA Championship DNP

James Foulis (11 December 1870 – 31 October 1928) was a Scottish professional golfer who won the second U.S. Open.

Foulis was born in the "Home of Golf", St Andrews in Scotland. His father was foreman at Old Tom Morris's golf shop and clubmaking business, and Foulis spent some time working at the shop. In 1895 he travelled to the United States to take up a job as golf professional at Chicago Golf Club, which was the first club in the United States to have an eighteen hole course. He was the first golf professional in the western States.

Foulis was one of the eleven players who took part in the first U.S. Open in 1895, and he came third. The following year he won the tournament at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island. He was representing the Chicago Golf Club and he won $200. He was helped out by the fact that twice British Open champion Willie Park, Jnr, who would have been odds-on favourite if he had reached the United States in time to play, did not arrive in America until the day after the tournament. The following year the Open was played at Foulis's home club, and he finished third. The most notable aspect of his game was his driving; it is said that he often drove over three hundred yards using the relatively primitive clubs of his day. He continued to compete in the U.S. Open until 1906, but did not win again.

Jim Foulis and his brother Dave ran a golf shop at the Chicago Golf Club, and were played a significant part in the evolution of golf equipment. They invented the bramble patterning for Coburn Haskell's new rubber-cored ball. In response to the demands of the new ball the developed the "mashie-niblick", the modern seven iron, which fell between the traditional mashie (5-iron) and niblick (9-iron), and patented the design. Jim Foulis also worked as a golf course designer from 1896 until his death, designing the first golf courses in many communities across the Midwest.


Foulis had four brothers, all of whom also moved to the United States. Robert and Dave were also golf professionals, Simpson was a fine amateur golfer, and John was an expert ballmaker who also worked as a bookkeeper at Chicago golf from 1901 to his untimely death in 1907. All five brothers are buried in Wheaton Cemetery, adjacent to Chicago Golf Club. His nephew, Jim, son of brother David, also a professional golfer, won the 1933 St. Paul Open.

Major championships

Wins (1)

Year Championship 18 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1896 U.S. Open 2 shot deficit (78-74=152) 3 strokes Horace Rawlins

Results timeline

Foulis played only in the U.S. Open.
Tournament 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911
U.S. Open T3 1 T3 WD T18 T14 11 T20 WD 9 T32 T22 DNP DNP DNP DNP 47

DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10

External links

  • James Foulis at Find a Grave
  • Feature Interview with Jim Healey