Angus golfer was a wizard in ‘Oz’

Doug Ford.
Doug Ford.

It has come to light that the golfer who conquered the Australian game in the early 20th century had strong Angus roots.

Ernie Bisset was born in 1905 in Carnoustie and learned his craft on the Carnoustie Links while occasionally caddying for legendary clubmaker Robert Simpson.

He was apprenticed to Simpson at the age of 16 and also saw his handicap plummet from 16 to one.

Considered one of Scotland’s best young golfers, in 1925 he came to the attention of two visiting Australian golf champions, Fred Popplewell and Carnegie Clark, who offered him a job at the Rose Bay Golf Club in Sydney.

Ernie soon added a score of Australian championships to his Scottish titles.

This remarkable history was uncovered by his nephew Doug Ford from Arbroath. He said: “It always struck me that my uncle, Ernie Bissett, who was one of Australia’s top golfers, had never received the recognition he deserved so it’s wonderful that his story can now be told.”

In 1932 he won the prestigious Open Championship of West Australia. Doug said: “Winning this tournament was the equivalent of winning the Open and, according to family legend, brought with it a $500 prize.”

Ernie returned to Scotland in 1938 and married Doug’s Aunt Zena, but the advent of war interrupted his career and it wasn’t until 1946 that he was able to stage a comeback.

Doug added: “However, after a few more years, it appears my uncle fell out of love with golf. Ernie moved to Arbroath with Zena, where he found a job in a local engineering firm and, as far as I know, never played golf again.

“I’ve played golf since I was young but, unfortunately, my uncle didn’t share any of his golfing tips with me! In fact, it was only recently that I read through this scrapbook and realised just how famous a golfer my uncle was.”