MEMBERS
Golf Rules Brian Taylor's Life June 7, 2018 By Alyssa Haduck, USGA

Brian Taylor is not your average golfer. After years of playing, spectating and volunteering at various golf events in both the United States and the United Kingdom, the Welshman has taken his passion for the game to new heights. Not only does Taylor travel thousands of miles to volunteer at U.S. Open Championships, but he also contributes to the development of the Worldwide Handicap System from the UK.

While Taylor’s interest in golf’s rules and regulations has increased his involvement in the game’s governance, the cause of his initial attraction to the sport was common.

“Great surroundings, good exercise and great company!” Taylor explained. “Also, golf is the only sport in which I have participated where the handicap system allows players of all abilities to compete equally against both the golf course and each other.”

Like many other golf enthusiasts, Taylor has attended championship events to watch the professionals play, but at the 2018 U.S. Open - his ninth – he is also serving as a volunteer. This is Taylor’s second visit to Shinnecock after attending his first U.S. Open as a spectator in 1986.

“It's always such a great event,” Taylor said. “It’s always played on iconic courses and having lived in the United States over 30 years ago, it's another chance to return and enjoy both golf and a vacation.”

While living in the U.S., Taylor joined the USGA in 1987, and despite returning to the UK, he has remained a member for 31 years.

“I joined the USGA ‘for the good of the game,’” he said, “and because the excellent USGA communications, in a variety of forms, kept me in touch with all current affairs relating to golf, particularly satisfying my ongoing interest in the Rules of Golf, for which the USGA is, of course, responsible as the world governing body, jointly with The R&A.”

Brian Taylor stands at his volunteer post above the 17th green at Shinnecock Hills Golf Course. (Alyssa Haduck/USGA)

 

Taylor’s interest in the rules of the game soon became a fascination, leading him to pursue involvement in their development and advancement.

“I am a qualified rules official within my County Union in the UK, the Rules Official of my golf club and also past Handicap Chair of my Club,” he said. “I still sit on the Handicap Committee, and I am currently closely involved with England Golf in helping to develop the World Handicap System and its anticipated formal introduction in 2020.”

England Golf is just one of the many organizations embracing the World Handicap System, which is spearheaded by the USGA and The R&A. The new system promises increased flexibility and consistency across playing conditions, players’ skill levels and courses in various countries.

While this international project draws Taylor’s attention ahead, he occasionally reflects on standout moments that evoke national pride. Though Taylor has a few memories of securing victory for himself, he is most proud watching competitors from the UK win USGA championships.

“One great golf memory was marshalling at the Ryder Cup in 2010 at the club where I was a founding member: the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, my country of birth,” Taylor said.

“Some of my other favorite golf moments are watching firsthand my fellow Brits win U.S. Opens: Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach in 2010, Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011 and Justin Rose at Merion in 2013,” he added.

Though a loyal countryman, Taylor has learned and practiced the informal international golf code. His longtime engagement with the sport has revealed to him the importance of diversity in golf and the necessity of making its traditions and experiences appealing to all.

“Golf has taught me to be courteous and respectful to others,” he said. “We have to open golf to all ages, without any discrimination regarding gender or disability, and develop new ways of allowing the continuance of the basic principles.”

Alyssa Haduck is the content and storytelling intern for the USGA Foundation. Email her at ahaduck@usga.org.