Tom Dunn (golf course architect)

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Thomas Dunn
— Golfer —
Personal information
Born 1849
Musselburgh, Midlothian
Died 1902 (aged 52–53)
Bristol
Nationality  Scotland
Spouse Isabella Gourlay
Children Isabella May Gourlay Dunn
John Duncan Dunn
Seymour Dunn
Norah Eleanor
Career
Turned professional 1869
Best results in Major Championships
The Open Championship 6th: 1868

Thomas 'Tom' Dunn (1849–1902) was a golfer, golf club maker and prolific architect of many golf courses in the early 20th century. Less celebrated than his contemporary, Old Tom Morris, Dunn created many functional layouts and helped lead the development of courses away from the coast into inland heathland locations, notably many around London.[1]

Family background[edit]

Thomas Dunn was born in Musselburgh, the son of Willie Dunn senior (1821–1878).[2]

Willie Dunn Snr and his twin brother, Jamie, were notable golfers of their time, playing against Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris. Willie was apprenticed under the Gourlay family. At the time of Tom's birth, Willie Dunn Snr was greenkeeper at Blackheath where he remained until 1864.[3]

Tom learned the game and family business of golf, including club manufacture and groundsmanship, from his father. Tom also had an elder sister; Catherine (b. 1842 also in Musselburgh), and four younger sisters; Rebecca (b. 1852), Janet (b. 1854), Jemima (b. 1856) and Sarah (b. 1858).[4] His younger brother, William (b. 1864), like his younger sisters, was also born at Blackheath.[5]

In 1864 the Dunn family moved back to Scotland and Willie Dunn Snr. was employed at Leith Links.[3]

Early career[edit]

Tom Dunn competed in the Open in 1868 finishing in 6th place. He competed a further seven times until 1886 but never improved his position.[6]

Tom Dunn's professional career started at North Berwick in 1869. Soon after, in 1870, he moved to the London Scottish Golf Club at Wimbledon and was formally the club's professional until 1880.[6] In 1871, he extended the course to eighteen holes.[3][6] Years later, Tom revealed that this was initially 19 holes![7][8] Also in 1871, he joined his father at Leith Links.[3]

Following marriage to Isabella May Gourlay, Tom established a golf club making business at his home on Wimbledon Common. His two sons, John Duncan (b. 1873) and Charles (b. 1874) were born here. Tom's first daughter, Isabella May Gourlay Dunn, was born in early 1880.[9][10][11] Tom's younger brother, Willie Dunn Jnr, was apprenticed to him whilst at Wimbledon.

During this period, Tom's father, Willie Dunn senior, died in Millhill, Inveresk in 1878 aged 59.[3]

Tom and family returned to North Berwick in 1882 and Tom became father to a third son; Seymour in 1882 and a second daughter, Norah Eleanor, in 1886.[3][11]

Dunn left North Berwick for France during 1889 without informing his employer. Complaints were received that he was failing to attend his duties. Dunn subsequently wrote to the club explaining that he had been advised to head south for the good of his health and had been taken more ill whilst away. The club discharged him but made him a final payment.[3]

In 1889, he was appointed greenkeeper and club maker to the Tooting Bec Golf Club where he laid out the Furzedown course. Tom Dunn had taught prime minister, Arthur Balfour, to play golf at North Berwick and while Parliament was sitting Balfour golfed at Tooting Bec.[3]

The popularity of golf exploded during this period and demand for Dunn's services to lay out new courses was high.[2]

Meyrick Park[edit]

In 1895 Dunn was approached to lay out a new course in Bournemouth. Given a choice of three locations, Tom selected the Meyrick Park site and remained as professional for five years.[2] His son, John, continued the club-making while Tom concentrated on designing golf courses.[3]

USA[edit]

John emigrated to the USA and was appointed manager of the West Florida Golf Association. At the end of five years in Bournemouth, Tom's health began to fail. Tom also emigrated to America in 1899 and assisted his son. Tom was employed by Oriental and Manhattan Hotel group to supervise their Florida golf courses.[3]

Tom Dunn returned from America[when?] and, in 1901, was living in Hangar Lane.[12] He became professional and greenkeeper at Hanger Hill where he laid out the course.[3][8]

Tom Dunn died at the Blagdon Sanatorium near Bristol in 1902 aged 52 years.[3][13]

After his death, but not before, critics derided his predictable use of hazards and his 'hit and run' staking-out methods. However, he provided a service at a time when very few people understood the basic architectural principles required for a functional layout, and Dunn had the skill and experience to deliver to order. Dunn himself claimed to have laid out a total of 137 courses, and, although some have closed and many since been further embellished and developed, the basic underlying layouts of many of Dunn's courses remain.

(Although Beckenham, now Beckenham Place Park Golf Club, is sometimes attributed to Dunn,[8] it was laid out c. 1907 after Dunn's death.)[14]

List of courses[edit]

List of golf courses attributed to Tom Dunn
Location Year Notes References
Ashley Park, Walton-on-Thames closed before World War I [2][15]
Babraham [2]
Balham since closed[when?] [2][8]
Bedstone Court [2]
Brighton extended [2]
Broadstone, Dorset 1898 [2][16]
Bromley [2][8]
Brooke [2]
Bude [2]
Bullwell Forest [2]
Buscot Park [2]
Chorleywood [2]
Cork [2]
Coubert, France [2]
Deal
Dinard, France 1887 [2][17]
Dorchester, Dorset 1896 9 holes extended to 18 by J. H. Taylor in 1904 [18]
Eltham [2][8]
Enfield [2][8]
Fan Court[where?] [2]
Felixstowe [2]
Fonthill[where?] [2]
Frinton-on-Sea [2]
Furzedown since closed - redeveloped as Tooting Bec Lido 1907 [3]
Ganton reconstructed [2]
Great Yarmouth [2]
Hampstead 1893 9 holes [8][19]
Hanger Hill since closed[when?] [3][8]
Hastings [2]
Hayling redeveloped by J. H. Taylor, 1905 and Tom Simpson 1933 [2][20]
Hincksey Marsh, Oxford [2]
Hurlingham Club 9 holes until closure in 1899 [2][21]
Kingsdown[where?] [2]
Lansdown, Bath [2]
La Orotava, Tenerife [2]
Littlestone-on-Sea reconstruction [2]
Meyrick Park 1895 [2][3]
Mitcham [2][8]
Norbury since closed[when?] [2][8]
Northwood [2][8]
Old Deer Park, Richmond [2]
Petworth [2]
Raynes Park since closed[when?] [2][8]
Seaford, East Sussex [2]
Sheffield & District 9 hole course [3]
Sheringham [2]
Shireoaks [2]
Skegness [2]
Soham, Newmarket [2]
Stanmore [2][8]
Staunton Harold [2]
Steningford[where?] [2]
Sudbrook Park, Petersham 1891 [2][8][22]
Surbiton 1895 original layout of 9 holes [2][8]
Taplow [2]
Ventnor [2]
Walton-on-Thames since closed[when?] [2][8]
Wanstead Park 1893 [8][23]
Welbeck Abbey [2]
Weston-super-Mare [2]
Wimbledon, (London Scottish Golf Club) 1871 extended to 18 holes [3][6][7]
Woking [2][8]
Woodford 1890 9 holes [8][24]
Worlington, Suffolk early 1890's 9 holes. Lengthened by Harry Colt [2][25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Graves, Robert Muir; Cornish, Geoffrey S. (23 Jul 1998). Golf Course Design. John Wiley & Sons. p. 4. ISBN 9780471137849. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf Macwood, Tom. "The Early Golf Architects: Beyond Old Tom". Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Seaton, Douglas (2012). "Dunn Family". Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  4. ^ United Kingdom Census 1861 Class: RG 9; Piece: 400; Folio: 71; Page: 32; GSU roll: 542631
  5. ^ United Kingdom Census 1881 Class: RG11; Piece: 829; Folio: 13; Page: 19; GSU roll: 1341196
  6. ^ a b c d "History". London Scottish Golf Club. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Leach, Henry (1914). The Happy Golfer — Being Some Experiences, Reflections, and a Few Deductions of a Wandering Golfer at Project Gutenberg
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Tom Dunn". Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  11. ^ a b United Kingdom Census 1891 Class: RG12; Piece: 455; Folio: 90; Page: 18; GSU roll: 6095565
  12. ^ United Kingdom Census 1901 Class: RG13; Piece: 1190; Folio: 107; Page: 44
  13. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  14. ^ Bolter, Jon (July 2009). "BECKENHAM PLACE CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT PLAN" (pdf). p. 25. 
  15. ^ "Golf's missing links". Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "Broadstone Golf Club". Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "Golf de Dinard". Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  18. ^ South Central Golf Guide. September 2012. p. 22. 
  19. ^ "Hampstead Golf Club". Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "Fine Golf at Hayling golf club". Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  21. ^ Laffaye, Horace A. (2012). Polo in Britain: A History. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. pp. 47–50. ASIN B00873K336. ISBN 9780786465118. 
  22. ^ "The Course". The Richmond Golf Club. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "Club History". Wanstead Golf Club. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  24. ^ "Woodford golf club: Club History". Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  25. ^ "http://www.top100golfcourses.co.uk/htmlsite/productdetails.asp?id=38". Retrieved 26 November 2012.