When Bobby Cruickshank, the “Wee Scot” who put Chartiersgolf on the map during his eighteen-years as club professional, announced his retirement in 1965, a great party was called for. A committee chaired by Ray Downey pulled out all stops in planning the affair, which many members today still insist was the greatest party in the club’s history. It is remembered not only as a fond farewell to a Chartiers institution but also a celebration that caused a surprise reaction from the guest of honor, who loved to party almost as much as he loved to golf.
There was no question that Cruickshank deserved a grand sendoff. When he arrived at Chartiers in 1949, he already had established himself as one of the premier players on the Professional Golf Associationtour‐ a tour that he was instrumental in starting, promoting, and developing.
Until the day he retired, he worked tirelessly at the club where he not only continued to play better golf than just about anyone else in western Pennsylvania but also became a tough, respected, and very effective teacher of the game. He taught not only Chartiers members and their families but also golfers from other clubs and courses throughout the area.
Cruickshank came by his “Wee Scot” nickname honestly. Born in Scotland in 1894, he was only about sixty-three inches tall but used a forty‐four inch driver.
He was leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1937 when he won the Los Angeles, Texas, Arkansas, and North-South opens and the National Four-Ball Tournament with teammate Tommy Armour. But it was in the United States Open tournament that Cruickshank made his reputation as a tough competitor.
In the 1923 U.S. Open Championship he tied the legendary BobbyJones on the seventy-second and final hole of regular play to force an eighteen‐hole playoff. He lost to Jones by one stroke on the last playoff hole. (It was a match many believed launched Jones’ fabulous career. Prior to the1923 Open, Jones had not had a great deal of success on the tour.)
Cruickshank tied for fourth place in the following years Open, tied for second in 1932 when he lost the Open title to Gene Sarazen who scored a double eagle in the final round, and tied for third place in 1934.
In that 1934 Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Cruickshank hit what the Sixty-Fifth USGA Open Championship program called “Cruickshank’s Lucky Shot.” But it was one that was decidedly unlucky for the Wee Scot. It occurred on the eleventh hole of the final round of the match and Cruickshank was tied for the lead with Sarazen. Cruickshank hit his approach shot into a brook that partly encircled the green. But the ball hit a rock in the brook, bounced into the air and on to the green. That was the“lucky” part of the shot. Cruickshank was so elated that he shouted, “Thank you, Lord” and threw his club high into the air. The account published in the program continues with the “unlucky” part:
Alas, the club came down and struck him on the head. He played the last seven holes in five over par and finished two strokes behind the winner, Olin Dutra.
After being named club professional at Chartiers, he won Tri-State PGA titles in 1949 and 1950. He broke the Chartiers course record with a seven-under-par sixty‐three on September 24, 1952 while playing with then‐president William O’Dell and Henry Mchaide. By doing so, he broke the previous record of sixty-four, which he held along with former Chartiers pro Dick Shoemaker and Jim Gardner, the 1951 club champion. Both The Pittsburgh Press and Port‐Gazette carried stories of the event.