Auguste Boyer: Bio of French Golfer

French golfer Auguste Boyer
Auguste Boyer was a French golfer who, from the late 1920s until the onset of World War II, wracked up more than a dozen national titles across European. While he never won the British Open, he was one of the best Continental golfers of that era.

Date of birth: March 13, 1896

Place of birth: Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

Date and place of death: October 21, 1956 in Nice, France

Boyer's Biggest Tournament Wins

  • 1926 Italian Open
  • 1928 Italian Open
  • 1930 German Open
  • 1930 Italian Open
  • 1930 Swiss Open
  • 1931 Italian Open
  • 1931 French Close
  • 1932 Dutch Open
  • 1932 German Open
  • 1933 Belgian Open
  • 1933 French PGA Championship
  • 1933 French Close
  • 1934 Swiss Open
  • 1934 French Close
  • 1935 German Open
  • 1935 Swiss Open
  • 1935 Addington Foursomes (partnered by Francis Francis)
  • 1936 Belgian Open
  • 1936 German Open
  • 1936 French Close

In the Majors

Boyer played in a total of nine major championships, eight of them British Opens from 1928 to 1937. The other was the 1931 U.S. Open, in which he finished tied for 29th.

Boyer's best showing in a major was tying for ninth place in the 1930 British Open. Following a 70 in the third round, Boyer was tied for fourth place. But an 80 in the final round dropped him down the leaderboard. That was his only Top 10 finish in a major. He was 11th in 1935, and tied for 14th in 1933.

More About Auguste Boyer

The French Golf Federation has called Auguste Boyer "the most prolific French golfer of the interwar period." Peter Alliss described him as "outstanding in the short game" and called Boyer "the leading Continental European between the wars." In The Encyclopedia of Golf (affiliate link), published in 1975, the authors note Boyer's "rhythmic, fluid swing was of no great length, but he was diabolically accurate around the greens."

It was Boyer's short game, particularly his wedge play, that helped him to the heights he achieved in golf. Writing in 1946, Australian professional Charles Jackson referred to Boyer's "wizard-like mastery of the shorter irons." Boyer, Jackson claimed, would place a man's handkerchief on the ground and then practice "for hours on end dropping his short irons" onto it with "alarming accuracy."

Ten years earlier, Boyer's contemporary and one of the top instructors of the era, Aubrey Boomer, compared Boyer's swing to those of Henry Cotton and Bobby Jones, writing:

"All three have one thing in common. Their timing is identical. They are all three exceedingly lazy swingers. ... This lazy swing, with the head of the club only working up to its highest speed at the moment of impact, is a thing for every golfer to cultivate."
Boyer was born in the French Riviera town of Cagnes-sur-Mer, just outside Nice, and he got into golf when he started caddying at Nice Golf Club in 1910. World War I interrupted, and Boyer served and earned a medal (an older brother was killed).

After the war, he returned to Nice Golf Club. In 1923, at age 27, he became the club's caddie master (he was also playing tournaments and teaching golf by this point). Two years later he became one of the club's golf professionals, and he worked as a pro at Nice Golf Club from then until 1938, when World War II arrived.

By the early 1920s Boyer had begun competing in local-level golf tournaments. He made his debut at the national level by finishing 16th in the 1924 French PGA Championship.

By 1925 Boyer was regularly playing tournament golf around Continental Europe and occasionally in Great Britain. That same year he became one of the initial members of the Assocation of French Golf Teachers.

His victory in the 1926 Italian Open began his great run of national championship titles over the following 10 years. From 1926 through 1936 he won the Italian Open four times (and was runner-up four times); won the German Open four times (and was runner-up once); won the Swiss Open three times; won the Belgian Open twice (and was runner-up once); and won the Dutch Open once.

He never won the British Open. But the one that really got away, from Boyer's perspective, was the Open de France (called in France, at the time, the International Omnium or Omnium Grand Championship). He finished second in 1930, 1933 and 1934, but never won it. He did win the French Close Championship (called in France at the time the National Omnium), open only to French golfers, four times.

Boyer had no more wins after 1936 in big Continential tournaments, but came close a few times in 1937. At the 1937 German Open, trying to win his third-consecutive title there, Boyer was runner-up to Henry Cotton. But Cotton won by 17 strokes — one of the largest margins-of-victory ever in top-level professional golf.

Boyer's days as a top tournament player ended with the outbreak of World War II, which also put his teaching career on hiatus when Nice Golf Club was damaged by the fighting. When golf began picking up in France again post-war, Boyer went back to work as a "professeurs du golf" (teaching pro) at both Cannes Golf Club and Lyon Golf Club. He worked at both clubs the rest of his life.

During Boyer's lifetime Continental Europeans were not part of the Ryder Cup — they didn't join Great Britain & Ireland golfers to form Team Europe until the 1979 Ryder Cup. But there was a preview of sorts around the 1953 Ryder Cup.

The Ryder Cup that year was played at Wentworth Club near London. Three days after the Ryder Cup ended, Team USA was in Paris to play a Ryder Cup-style match against a team of pros from Continental Europe. The European Golf Association and French Golf Federation organized the match, and the esteem in which Auguste Boyer was held is seen in the fact that he was chosen as Europe's team captain. (Team USA won, 12-3.)

In September 1956, Boyer suffered a heart attack and died several weeks later. He was 60 years old.

A 1930 instructional book by Boyer, written in French and published in Paris, was called Le Golf. Today original copies are considered a rare collectible.

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