For more than 100 years, the Simpsons Golf Shop in Carnoustie – a stone’s throw from the 18th green at this week’s Open – has been a must-visit for all of its golfing visitors.
But this week, it promises to be busier than ever as fans pile into the shop to get their hands on some Simpsons-themed Carnoustie goodies and experience its heritage.
So, what's it like inside? We paid a visit to find out...
What’s in the name?
The Simpsons Golf Shop was founded in 1883 by golfer and pioneering club-maker Robert Simpson, making it the world’s second oldest golf shop. Simpson was one of six brothers: Alex, David, Charles, Jack, Robert and Archie.
Jack won The Open in 1884 and Robert finished runner-up and fourth on two occasions. Archie, meanwhile, was arguably the most proficient of the brothers, finishing runner-up in The Open twice, while David also competed in golf’s oldest major.
Where is it?
Simpsons is on Links Parade, right next to the entrance to The Open by the 18th green – and you can’t miss it. The historic building has a dome painted in a vivid red, blue, green and white, which is reminiscent of the original 1920s cotton golf umbrella.
What does it all sell?
Firstly, it sells its own Carnoustie apparel equipped with the Simpsons logo. As you can see, the logo features the Simpsons dome and the year 1883 - when the shop was founded.
The apparel is produced by Ping… and for good reason. “We’re a heritage shop and, among all of the modern-day brands, Ping has heritage at the core of its business so it was obvious for us to choose them,” said shop owner Dave Valentine.
Visitors can also find Simpsons-crested accessories, Scottish tartan collections and traditional Scottish souvenirs.
What we didn’t mention just above is that, given Robert’s reputation as a pioneering club-maker, Simpsons is also one of the biggest sellers of hickory clubs in Scotland.
Brassies, mashies, mashie niblicks, putters… you name them, Simpsons sells them. The club below - The Perfect Balance - was designed by Robert Simpson and, as you can see by its design at the back of the clubhead, offers a cool glimpse into early golf club technology.
Even in the 19th century it was all about squeezing an extra few yards out of your game!
There is also this collection of six vintage balls for sale, with their dates ranging from circa 1400 to circa 1920.
A Guinness World Record?!
Look up to the ceiling inside Simpsons and the beams are stacked with bag tags from golf clubs all over the world – 2,500 to give it a rough estimate.
But that estimate will soon give a concrete answer when the Guinness World Records team pays a visit in the coming months to verify the collection as the largest in the world.
“It is the largest in the world... we know it is. We just need to get it validated,” added Dave. “We have duplicates in the sense that they’re from the same club, but they have different people’s names on. So they’re all unique.”
Before you head into The Open or before you head home, make sure you check out this Aladdin’s Cave on your way.