One of golf’s greatest career amateurs, Joe Carr possessed a swashbuckling playing style and a poetic Irish soul.
During a prime that lasted from the end of World War II to the 1960s, Carr was a dashing figure. Tall and lean, he was an exceptionally long hitter with an ability to recover from trouble with winning strokes. As a competitor, he cut a wide swath. At the top of the list of more than three dozen significant victories were three British Amateur championships (1953, 1958 and 1960), and four Irish Open Amateurs (1946, 1950, 1954 and 1956). Carr was also a Walker Cup stalwart, playing on 10 teams from 1947 to 1965, the most by any player from either side in the biennial matches.
“Stroke play is a better test of golf,” said Carr, who also captained two Walker Cup sides, “but match play is a better test of character.”
As an ambassador, his impact was even greater. In 1961 he became the first non-American to receive the USGA’s Bob Jones Award for distinguished sportsmanship. In 1967, the same year he became the first native Irishman to play in the Masters, he was given the Hagen Trophy for his contribution to Anglo-American goodwill. In 1991, he was chosen the captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the first Irishman to hold the post.