JOHN, JAMES, ARCHIBALD, ANDREW THORBURN Kilmacolm Golf Club, Scotland, UK
John Thorburn born 19th December 1875, Forth Street Lane, son of Archibald Thorburn, fisherman and his wife Mary Ann Hepburn. John Thorburn apprenticed as a clubmaker with Ben Sayers and was promoted to First-Class caddie on the West Links, North Berwick on 17th September 1895. He was appointed assistant to Tom Fernie at Cambuslang Golf Club (1905-07). John was appointed head pro at Kilmacolm Golf Club (1907-1917) where he was joined by his sister Isabella as club manageress. In 1929 John Thorburn was appointed pro at Peebles Golf Club when it was reported that over fifty applications were received for the position. During Thorburn’s tenure he assisted Harry Colt to revamp the course in 1934 and coached club member Alex Kyle, three times Walker Cup player and winner of the Amateur Championship in 1939.
In 1939, John Thorburn left Peebles to join his son Archie Thorburn the professional at Peterborough Milton Golf Club. During WW2 Archie enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was killed in action in April 1942, four months after his father John Thorburn died at Longthorpe, Peterborough while working as his stand-in-pro. The sixth hole at Peterborough still bears the name ‘Thorburn’ in their memory. Archie was buried in Marham Cemetery, Norfolk.
John’s brother James Thorburn (b.1879) was appointed professional at Lenzie Golf Club (1905-1911), Branstone Golf Club, Burton-on-Trent, Staffs (1911-1914), and then Sutton Coldfield Golf Club (1919-1925). Their younger brother Archibald Thorburn (b.1890) was a licensed caddie on the West Links, North Berwick before being appointed head pro at Baberton Golf Club, Edinburgh when he assisted James Braid to reconstruct the course during the 1920s.