Fred Brand, Sr., Class of 2023
By Mike Dudurich • November 2, 2023
Fred Brand Sr. was a complicated man in many ways.
The native Scotsman was born in Carnoustie in 1885, who showed up on the 1891 census as a schoolboy and a 15-year-old club making apprentice on the 1901 census.
He became an outstanding player at the Carnoustie Club, and showed just how outstanding when, as the youngest player to compete in the Carnoustie tournament, he beat a well-known gentleman by the name of J.H. Taylor in the semifinals before losing in the finals to Sandy Heard.
And, along the way, he was chosen by the Duke of Fife as his private instruction.
He left his country of birth in 1905, along with Peter Robertson, on the way to his new home at Allegheny Country Club.
Brand made a big, quick impression in the U.S. winning the West Penn Open in 1905, not all that long after setting foot here.
His stay at Allegheny CC was relatively short-lived, as the club let him go at the end of the 1910 season. The reason? Excessive drinking said the club.
Brand was unattached for a year, playing in an event at Stanton Heights with that designation. He went to Butler Country Club in 2012 and by the time of the 1916 West Penn Open, which he won, he was at Bellevue.
The Open was not contested while the U.S. was involved in WWI, so Brand was still the defending champ in 1919. He finished second behind Dave McKay. He won his fourth and final Open title in 1924.
Someone once described Brand’s powerful swing in a most Scottish way.
“Blessed with a powerful physique, a broad and supple wrist, and with a free, natural swing acquired in boyhood and developed with the years,” it was said. “Brand is the typical pro of Scottish birth. He has made a reputation as a prodigious walloper from the tee. The ball leaves the clubhead like a shot and soars high and far like and eagle in its flight. There is no sudden dip, like the meadowlark, in a ball which Fred starts with wood from the tee. There is carrying power always.”
Brand was powerful off the course as well, helping to lay the groundwork in the early days of the West Penn Golf Association.
To honor his memory, his sons, Jack and Fred Jr., started the WPGA Fred Brand Foursomes Championship in 1954. The format was 36 holes of stroke play of foursomes and it had traditionally started the WPGA season and was very popular.
The event was held at Longue Vue Club since 1984, but prior had been contested at Allegheny Country Club from 1954-1983.
It didn’t take all that long for the event to become one of the WPGA’s most popular ones. It became so popular that the Century Division was spun off and now is its own event, played at Allegheny Country Club.
The most successful two-man team in the event is Sean Knapp and Jeff Schroeder. Knapp has also won with Steve Fuhrer (1987-88) and Nathan Smith in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Knapp has been on a winning team 15 times.
About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and nearly 37,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund and Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame.