The "Bobby Cruickshank Memorial" is the qualifying round played on Monday of our Championship week each July. The award is presented to the low gross winner whose name is inscribed on a permanent plaque retained at Chartiers Country Club. But who IS Bobby Cruickshank and what is his affiliation with the WGAWP?
Cruickshank was one of many talented Scottish golfers who made their way to America in the 20's and 30's in search of fame and fortune. From an impoverished childhood in rural northern Scotland, Bobby learned to play golf at a local course where he also caddied. A life-changing connection was made with a wealthy, childless widow for whom both Bobby and his brother caddied. Recognizing their potential, she offered the opportunity of a good education at her expense in the capital of Edinburgh.
After a harrowing stint with the Seaforth Highlanders during World War I during which he witnessed his brother's death and was a prisoner-of-war, Bobby returned to a successful amateur golf career in Scotland. In 1921, at the age of 26, Bobby and his wife left for America where he would become a household name and be elected to the Golf Hall of Fame.
Just over five feet tall, the "Wee Scot" won 23 titles nationally, was a two-time runner-up in the US Open and finished number one on the money list in 1927. The gallery loved the exuberant Scot who achieved a following not unlike Arnie's Army. Unfortunately, Bobby was also know for a misfortune that occured during the 1934 US Open at Merion Cricket Club. Leading in the final round with seven holes to play, a misfired shot hit a rock in a pond and rebounded onto the green. Overjoyed, Cruickshank flung his club into the air exclaiming "Thank you Lord" as the club descended directly onto his head! After receiving some stitches, he finished the round but finished third; the last of his top-three finishes in majors.
When his competitive career was over, he took on a series of pro jobs around the country including a 20-year stint at Chartiers Country Club where he was a much beloved and regarded teacher of the game.
Daughter Elsie and granddaughter Diana, both talented local amateur golfers, benefitted from Bobby's tutelage. At 15, Diana was the medalist in the West Penn Women's Open at Fox Chapel in 1957. His second wife, Lucille, wishing to support and further women's golf in the area, established an award in Bobby's name that is now given to the low medalist in the annual WGAWP Championship.
Bobby Cruickshank died in 1975 at the age of 80 at his winter home in Florida.