| || |
Thomas Dunn |
Golf Club Maker
1850, Blackheath, London.
Died: 1902, Blagdon, Somerset
| Tom Dunn © Debenham and Gould |
No.8 Vanburgh Place, Leith
© Digitalsport UK
| 15th West Links,
North Berwick |
© Digitalsport UK
13th East Course, North
© Digitalsport UK
13th West Links, North
© Digitalsport UK
| || The Dunn's were more than a family business |
North Berwick Factfile
WILLIE DUNN SNR. was born in Musselburgh in 1821 and along with his twin brother Jamie, played in many challenge matches between
1840-1860. Willie Dunn Snr. apprenticed under the Gourlay family, and was keeper of the green at Blackheath until 1864 when he
returned to the Thistle Golf Club at Leith Links. Willie worked as a club and ball maker from his house at Primrose Cottage,
Lochend, Leith. In 1867 the Thistle Club leased No.8 Vanburgh Place as their clubhouse where Willie Dunn resided with his
workshop situated behind in Vanburgh Place Lane.
Dunn had two sons Thomas who apprenticed as a club maker under his father at Musselburgh and Willie Dunn Jnr. who trained under
his older brother from the age of thirteen. Tom Dunn started his professional career at North Berwick in 1869. The following
year he moved to Wimbledon and later joined his father at Leith Links where they lived and worked at No.7 Vanburgh Place. Willie
Dunn Snr remained at Leith Links for ten years before settling at North Berwick. He died at Millhill, Inveresk in 1878 at the age
of 59 years.
Tom Dunn married Isabella Gourlay and they moved to Royal Wimbledon Golf Club living in Windmill Cottage where John Duncan Dunn
(1872), William Gourlay Dunn (1874) and Isabella May Gourlay Dunn (1880) were born. Tom Dunn employed two men as club makers and
his 17 year old brother Willie Dunn was his apprentice. Tom Dunn and his family returned to North Berwick in 1882 where Norah
Eleanor Dunn (1886) and Seymour Dunn (1882) were born.
According to his birth certificate Seymour was born on the West Links, and as the only building on the golf course was his
father's club makers workshop we can only assume he was born in the timber building beside the first tee. Dunn purchased the
property at Dunedin Lodge, 60 Forth Street in May 1883 and his children attended North Berwick Public School until the age of
twelve when John and Seymour were sent to Clydesdale College in Hamilton to continue their private education. John studied up
to the age of 15 years with a view to becoming a doctor and sat the entrance examine for Edinburgh University.
In 'The Golf Book of East Lothian' published in 1896, Rev.John Kerr wrote. 'When Thomas Dunn entered on his duties in November
1881, he found the green very much cut up with iron marks and holes all over the place, and the putting-greens and teeing grounds
in very bad order. Having got a sum of between two and three hundred pounds raised by subscription, he set to work with a gang of
men to get things put right, and by next season the condition of the course was the admiration of all who played over it.' It was
at this time Tom Dunn extended the 16th green with its unique deep swale bisecting the middle.
Tom was diagnosed with blood poisoning and advised to recuperate in the South of France while his son John looked after the business
in North Berwick. In the winter of 1887 Tom Dunn joined his brother Willie at Biarritz Golf Club in France where they laid out the
Le Phare course.
Tom Dunn was employed by the West Links Green Committee as Keeper Of The Green and by the North Berwick New Club as their Clubmaster.
When the members complained that he was not carrying out his duties in the clubhouse and this was followed by Dunn's request to
have his house completely redecorated, this was the last straw and his employment as Clubmaster was terminated in September 1886.
He received ten pounds to soften the blow and continued to be employed by the Green Committee as Keeper of The Green.
Seymour's instruction methods were used by the top pro's
including Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Jim Barnes.
On a Saturday
morning Tom Dunn stood at the first tee where he would dispose of two big sacks of remade 'six pennies' to trainloads of golfing
youth out for a day from Edinburgh. The timber club makers workshop on the West Links, North Berwick was taken down in 1887 and a
new building designed by Tom Dunn erected. It had a workshop and a large ajoining room with lockers for rent which Tantallon Golf
Club used for their meetings. This building remains as the present professional's shop beside the first tee.
In 1889, Dunn left for France without informing the Greens Committee and his employment was terminated by letter. The club thanked
him for his service and gave him £20 extra in his final wages. On 8th November 1889 Tom Dunn replied (below). That year
Dunn was appointed greenkeeper and clubmaker to the Tooting Bec G.C. where he laid out the Furzedown course which stretched from
Tooting Junction to the parkland of the former Furzedown House. Philip Wynn, a clubmaker from North Berwick later joined Dunn at
" Willie Dunn Jnr. was one of the most influential
people in the first quarter century of American golf as a club designer and marketer" |
letter of the 4th I duly received. I understand from it my services as Custodian of the Private Golfing Links were terminated
when I left North Berwick. I wish to state that my having left in the manner I did, although it was wrong on my part, was not
from any discourtesy to the Leases it was quite unintentional. I was very ill and was advised by some gentlemen to get off at
once. I did so thinking that a change of air for a week would put me right, but instead of getting better I got worse. When I
did begin to recover the doctor told me I must stay till I was better. However as the Leases have decided to accept my departure
from North Berwick as an abandonment of my position of green-keeper it is of course no use my saying anything more.|
At that time Tom and his family resided at 35 Fernlea Road, Streatham. Tom Dunn taught Arthur J. Balfour (Prime Minister 1902-05)
to play golf at North Berwick and while Parliament was sitting Balfour golfed at Tooting Bec. The ground there was later developed
for house building and in 1906 was the site of the famous Tooting Bec Lido.
In the 1881 census, Mary Pendrigh is listed as a domestic servant living with Tom Dunn and his family in Windmill Cottage,
Wimbledon. Mary was born in Musselburgh and Isabella Dunn would have known the Pendrigh family. In 1882 Mary returned to Scotland
with the Dunn family and when Tom Dunn moved to Tooting Bec in 1889, Mary remained in North Berwick. In 1891 Tom Dunn transferred
the ownership of Dunedin Lodge in North Berwick to Mary Pendrigh who ran it as a Boarding House for the next thirty-four years. Mary
Hood Pendrigh remained single and died in 1928.
Tom Dunn moved to London Scottish G.C where he extended the course to eighteen holes on Wimbledon Common. A founder member of that
club was Lord Elcho, 10th Earl of Wemyss and March, also a member at North Berwick G.C. London Scottish shared the course with Royal
Wimbledon G.C. where Ben Sayers Jnr was later the professional.
In 1891, Tom Dunn laid out the Sheffield & District nine-hole course, later to be called Lindrick G.C. where Johnny Forrest from
North Berwick was appointed the first professional and greenkeeper. It was noted in the club minutes that during a competition the
professional holed his tee shot in one at the 130yard 7th hole using a slazenger ball and a hammer headed club patented by Sir
Walter Hamilton-Dalrymple and made by James Hutchison at North Berwick.
Tom Dunn's courses were rudimentary given the lack of earth moving equipment available at that time. His standard design feature was
to lay out a ditch or bunker on the near side of the green, often right across the course which had to be carried from the tee. It
was the same kind of carry for the second shot and if the player had to hack out of the first bunker the next hazard was in reach.
A fine example of a Dunn layout can be seen on the Par-3, 155 yard, 5th hole at Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Club laid out
In 1894 Tom Dunn left the London Scottish G.C and laid out the Meyrick Park golf course in Bournemouth where he was appointed
professional. It was at the Corporation Golf Links of Bournemouth that Tom Dunn & Son, the 'son' being John D. Dunn expanded
their business. John was responsible for the club making while Tom concentrated on designing golf courses. The clubs were stamped
with a lion rampant, surrounded by the lettering 'T. Dunn & Son, Bournemouth'.
In 1894, John patented a 'one-piece' club made from a single piece of wood and introduced it to America when managing the golf
division of the Bridgeport Gun Implement Co. in 1898. Tom Dunn sailed for America in 1899 and was signed up by the Oriental and
Manhattan Hotel group to supervise their golf courses in Florida. He also assisted his son John D. Dunn as manager of the West
Florida Golf Association. Tom Dunn returned from America and laid out the course at Hanger Hill where he was the professional
and greenkeeper until bad health forced him into retirement. He died at the Blagdon Sanatorium near Bristol in 1902 aged 52 years.
His wife Isabella lived at The Brook, Coombe Hill Road, East Grinstead.
SEYMOUR G. DUNN
SEYMOUR GOURLAY DUNN described as 5'11", with fair hair, blue eyes, and a thistle tattooed on his forearm. He was 15 years old
when he first visited the USA in June 1897. During that vacation he laid out a nine-hole course at Lawrenceville School in New
Jersey. The first indoor golf school was instigated by Seymour Dunn in the Bourne Hall Hotel, Bournemouth. In 1899 Seymour was
appointed pro at the Societe Golf de Paris and laid out several courses in Europe including the first golf course in Belgium at
Royal Ostend G.C. (1903); Royal Golf Club de Belgique (1906) for King Leopold of Belgium; a course in the Rothschild Estate, France
(1908); a course for King Emmanuel of Italy (1908) and another course at Royal Zoute G.C in Belgium (1909). Seymour wrote a monthly article in the American
'Golf' magazine under the pseudonym 'Tantallon'.
In 1904 Seymour was pro at Royal County Down, Nothern Ireland and in 1906 he spent the summer at Lake Placid, New York, an area he
would be associated with for the remainder of his career and where he would later meet his wife Elizabeth Maxwell. The following
year he emigrated to the USA permanently and joined his uncle Willie Dunn Jnr. at Van Cortlandt Park G.C. In 1907, Seymour was
appointed pro at the Wykagyl G.C, Rochelle, NY and in 1909 he laid out the course at Lake Placid Resort G.C. where he moved the
following year. Seymour set up a mail order company distributing golf equipment all over the States stamped with his trade mark
of a 'Crown and Banner' bearing the legend 'Vi et Arte'.
Seymour made his reputation as a golf guru with many of the top pro's using his instruction methods including Jim Barnes, Walter
Hagen and Gene Sarazen. Dunn would demonstrate the correct swing plane by using an imaginary pane of glass. This was copied by Ben
Hogan in his book 'Five Lessons' with no mention of the source. Later Hogan did acknowledged he was inspired to adopt many of
Dunn's swing theories. Seymour wrote the Golf Fundamentals - Orthodoxy Of Style which Golf Digest included in a list of classic
instruction books. He wrote articles for the golf magazines and designed many courses around New York including Tuscarora (1923);
Rochester (1925); Suneagles now Monmouth C.C (NJ) (1926); Craig Wood Golf and Country Club (1926); Locust Hill (1927); Ticonderoga
(1929); Lake Placid Links Course. He also laid out the course at Saranac Inn Golf and Country Club with his uncle Willie Dunn Jnr.
which he considered to be his best work.
In 1928 he was associated with A.G. Spalding & Brothers in New York and in 1929 set up an Indoor Golf School in Madison Square
Gardens with thirty instructors and eighteen pitch and putt holes. Seymour Dunn's contribution to the evolution of the game
continues to be acknowledged.
JOHN D. DUNN
JOHN DUNCAN DUNN attended Peckham Rye School in London before being enrolled at North Berwick Public School in October 1884. He
learned to play golf at North Berwick and was a proficient swimmer and could handle a yacht. He was a particularly good all round
sportsman, a strong runner and played for a Scottish team against England at football. He was selected to play in the Celtic Roller
Skating team, when they won the championship, and he beat Mr. Steele, a former one-mile roller-skating champion of Great Britain.
John played for the Bournemouth Rovers Rugby team, and was a marksman in the London Scottish Riffle Volunteers. Among John Dunn's
early pupils was Miss Amy Pascoe who was British Lady Golf Champion in 1896. John laid out several rudimentary courses in Holland
including, The Hague, Doornse, Haarlem and Arnheim.
At the age of 24 years, John Dunn sailed from Southampton to America on the S.S. New York arriving at Ellis Island on 27th March
1897. He was appointed assistant pro to his uncle Willie Dunn Jnr. at Ardsley C.C. His uncle opened a retail shop in New York
where John assembled the golf clubs imported from Scotland. Later he started his own business at 17 West, 42 Street, New York
(1898-1904) and played in the 1898 US Open. That year John Dunn was manager of the golf department of Overman Wheel Company of
Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. In 1899 he laid out the Columbia course in South Carolina and in 1900 he replaced his uncle at the
Bridgeport Gun Implement Co. supervising the design and manufacture of golf clubs.
| John Dunn was the first to go to Holland to teach the Dutch how to
play the game of golf.
During the winter months Dunn would organise golf instruction lectures and club making demonstrations and often appeared at the
end of the evening in full highland dress playing the bag-pipes, which he learned to play during his teenage years at
North Berwick and later in the London Scottish Pipe Band. Dunn played the bag-pipes for US President William McKinley in
1898 at the Lake Champlain Hotel in Vermont. That year his cousin John Dunn Tucker extended the Number One course at
Pinehurst to 18 holes, which was the start of an amazing golfing heritage in North Carolina. |
In 1900, John D. Dunn and Walter Travis laid out the course at Ekwanok Country Club, Manchester, Vermont, one of the first courses
in America to be compared favourably with some of the famous courses in the United Kingdom. John married Norah Wilshire in Los
Angeles in 1900, and that year he was employed by the Florida East Coast Railroad Company to develop their golfing hotels. The
courses included Belleair, Tampa, Kissimmee, Winter Park, Ocala, Ormond, Miami Golf Links, Palm Beach and St Augustine. Dunn
encouraged the top pros to winter in Florida and be identified with his hotel group, instructing and playing golf with the guests.
He also organised tournaments among the professionals which were popular with the spectators and a lucrative venture during the
quiet winter months for the pro's. After two weeks in December skating in Central Park, John Dunn would take the Clyde Line steamer
from New York to Jacksonville in Florida where the heat was oppressive. To reach the other courses the golfers boarded a steamer
to Key West and then another steamer to Miami.
In 1902, Dunn moved to California where he applied to be re-instated as an amateur and was appointed secretary of Ocean
Park Country Club in Santa Monica. In 1906-08, he was working in France at the Societe d' Hardelot G.C near Boulogne as
secretary and manager. Dunn returned to the USA and was associated with Pasadena G.C in 1919, and designed golf courses at Old
Brockway, Lake Tahoe (1922) and Los Serranos (1925), He managed Bullock's Golf Shop, Los Angeles (1924-26), wrote magazine
articles and instruction books such as Natural Golf - A Book Of Fundamentals (1931). John Duncan Dunn died at his home in Los
Angeles on 19th January 1951, aged 77 years.
WILLIAM G. DUNN
WILLIAM GOURLAY DUNN, born 18th February 1874 at Windmill Cottage, Wimbledon. He attended Manilla College in Camberwell and at
the age of 17 years he was appointed manager of the Richmond Golf Course designed by his father Tom Dunn. In October that year
he was engaged as professional at Sherringham Golf Club, Norfolk.
In 1893 William laid out the original course at Northampton Golf Club, and in 1894 he was the first pro to be appointed to the
Prince's Club at Mitcham where he held the course record 79. That year he entered the Open Championship at St George's Golf Club,
Sandwich as Gourlay Dunn. In 1897 Dunn equalled J.H. Taylor's course record of 80 at Lyndhurst and set a course record 71 at
In 1897 William was working from the Golf Pavilion, Bournemouth and that year he married Nina Grace Chambers and subsequently
adopted the surname Chambers being thereafter known as William Chambers. His wife was the daughter of Robert Chambers Jnr. publisher
in Edinburgh and Nina and her sister Violet were members of North Berwick Ladies Golf Club. In 1911 William and his family emigrated
to Vancouver Island, Canada and in 1913 William and A.V.Macan designed the Royal Colwood Golf Course on Vancouver Island. The family
returned to Britain in 1914 when William enlisted in the Royal Air Force. He died in France in December 1920 aged 46 years.
ISABELLA. M. G. DUNN
ISABELLA MAY GOURLAY DUNN born 12th May 1880 at Windmill Cottage, Wimbledon Common. Known as 'Queenie' she learned to play golf
on the Ladies course at North Berwick laid out by her father Tom Dunn. She attended North Berwick public school before the family
moved to 55 Fernlea Road, Streatham, London. In 1897 Queenie worked in Germany as a governess before returning to England the
following year. She lived with her parents in the stable block at Hanger Hill House, Ealing where her father had his club and ball
making workshop. Also living with the family was William H. Webb a club maker with Tom Dunn who Queenie would later marry.
Willie Webb was known as the 'Professor' as he wrote the book 'Lessons on Golf' and was also well known as the maker of the
all-in-one piece Driver and Brassie. Willie was a founder member of the PGA in 1902 and was appointed pro at the nine-hole
Frinton-on-Sea golf course in Essex (1901-1914), laid out by Tom Dunn.
During this period Queenie was gaining a reputation as a golf teacher for women and in 1904 she joined Helen Anderson from
North Berwick, the first lady professional in Great Britain in giving lessons to the members of Princes' Ladies Golf Club
on Mitcham Common. In 1914 Willie Webb sailed for America and was appointed to the Brae Burn Country Club near Boston.
Queenie emigrated in September 1915 giving her brother John D. Dunn as her contact in America with his address as c/o Rodman
J. Wanamaker, 9 Broadway, New York. On her arrival she landed a job writing a series of golf instruction articles for the
New York Herald under the name Mrs Gourlay Dunn-Webb. She managed Wentworth Hall Golf Club in New Hampshire for a time and
taught golf to the girls at Wellesley College in Massachusetts during the winter months.
While visiting Aiken Golf Club in South Carolina, Queenie was instrumental in making it the first course in America to
feature tees especially for women. In December 1916 she moved to the west coast with her sister Norah Dunn and laid out the
course at Reno Golf Club. The following year she designed a nine-hole course at the Tahoe Tavern resort at Lake Tahoe in
California, (now called Tahoe City Golf Course) where the caddy programme continues to hire local youths in keeping with Queenie's
request. Her brother John D. Dunn designed the near by course at Old Brockway Golf Club in 1926. Queenie served as manager at
Reno and Tahoe and her sister Norah Dunn worked as professional at Reno Golf Club.
In 1920 her mother Isabella Dunn at the age of 60 years visited her daughters in Reno where they were joined by her son John
Dunn for a family reunion. Queenie worked as Director of Golf at the Linnard Hotel in Pasadena California and retired from
professional golf in 1923 when she married her second husband Adolf Hupfel. Isabella May Gourlay Hupfel resided at 10 Gracie
Square, New York City and died 18th December 1948 in Lenox Hill Hospital aged 68 years.
WILLIE DUNN JNR
WILLIAM DUNN JNR. born 1865 in the Borough of Blackheath in the suburbs of London where his father was the greenkeeper and club
maker. That year the family returned to Leith Thistle G.C and were living at 7 Vanburgh Place, Leith Links, Edinburgh. In 1881,
Willie Dunn Jnr. moved to North Berwick where his older brother Tom Dunn was appointed Keeper of the Green. Willie Dunn Jnr. was
15 years old when he played his first match against Ben Sayers at North Berwick and won. Although Sayers won the return match it
brought Willie Dunn to prominence. In 1881 he partnered Sayers in a money match against the two Fernies at St Andrews. The first
day was halved but the second day Dunn and Sayers won the match by five holes. Willie entered the Open Championship for the first
time from North Berwick in 1883 and again in 1884, and 1886.
In 1886, Willie Dunn Jnr. was asked by Horace Hutchinson to take charge of the links of the Royal North Devon Golf Club at
Westward Ho!. Dunn remained there for a year and laid out the present course. In 1888, he moved to Royal Epping Forrest in
Chingford and laid out their 18 hole course. He spent several winters at Biarritz in France where his brother Tom designed the
course while still engaged at North Berwick. Willie Dunn Jnr. remained at Biarritz for six years.
In the winter of 1890 while on vacation in the south of France, William K. Vanderbilt and two friends from Southampton (LI).
Duncan Cryden and Edward S. Mead of Dodd, Mead & Co. persuaded Willie Dunn Jnr. to come to America. He arrived in March 1891
and accepted the post of professional instructor at Shinnecock Hills during the summer months. Willie extended the existing
twelve hole course at Shinnecock Hills as well as laying out the nine-hole ladies course. Four years later a combination of
the two courses were used to host the 1896 US Open. Willie Dunn Jnr. was the first unofficial champion of America in 1894 by
defeating another Musselburgh boy Willie Campbell. In 1895, Dunn was runner-up in the first official US Open Championship.
By 1896, after flying visits to Biarritz in the winter, Willie Dunn with his wife and son Norman William Dunn Jnr settled at the
links of Ardsley Country Club in New York. It was here he set up a club manufacturing business and was joined by his nephew John D.
Dunn in 1897. Willie opened a retail shop in New York and began experimenting with steel shafted clubs and was the first to use a
tee peg. In 1895, he established the first Indoor Golf Centre in America and he continued this facility when his business moved to
9 East, 42 Street New York in 1898, a few blocks away from John D. Dunn's premises. In 1900, Willie Dunn Jnr laid out a private
nine-hole course for John D Rockefeller on his Tarrytown Estate, NY.
When Dunn left the Royal North Devon Golf Club he recommended Charles Gibson from North Berwick as his replacement. Bert Way was
Dunn's apprentice at North Devon and when he left Shinnecock Hills, Dunn recommended W.H. 'Bert' Way as his replacement. John
Forman the Musselburgh 'caddie' followed Willie Dunn at Ardsley (1898-1901).
Most historians agree that Willie Dunn's influence on the development of the sport in the USA during the early part of the
twentieth century was considerable. In the 1920s Willie Dunn Jnr. moved to San Jose in California and continued to design clubs.
Willie Dunn died in Putney, Wandsworth, South West London in 1952 and is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery with a headstone inscribed
"Willie Dunn Champion of America 1894". He died living off a pension provided by his son Norman W. Dunn who was also a fine golfer,
winning the Yorkshire (1926) and Lincolnshire (1934) County Championships and played for England v. Ireland in 1928.
The Remaking of Golf Balls - John D. Dunn (Sept.1900)
First purchase a can of lye, costing fifteen cents. Half a can of lye in a pail of water will take the paint off six dozen balls in
about six hours. Ball-makers use a very strong solution of lye, which they put in an apparatus similar to a washing- machine. This
brings off the paint in short order and does not injure the gutta-percha. Amateurs should stir the balls up in the lye occasionally.
After the balls have been in the lye about six hours, take them out with a vegetable strainer. Place them in some lukewarm water,
and then brush off the old paint with a nail-brush. The balls must now be placed in a pot of water that is almost on the boil.
Don't have more or less than half a dozen balls in the pot at one time, and always keep replacing them by others. It is not
necessary to let the balls get heated right through.
Take a ball out of the pot with a table-spoon and work out the cuts, if any, with your thumb. Roll the ball around in your palms
until it is slightly egg-shaped. Do not keep the ball so long in your hands that the outer surface gets cold, or the gutta-percha
will not take the impression of the marking. Should the balls be sticky in the hands a little water or linseed oil may be used
as a preventive.
When the ball is in the mould squeeze it up in a press. It is not absolutely necessary to have a regular ball press. A book press
or vise will do almost as well, and the expedient brings the cost down considerably.
A ball press costs $12 and a mould costs $15. If you can purchase only one mould, size 27 is the one you will find most useful.
That size will remake any high-grade ball. Of course if you are going into the work extensively you will purchase four moulds,
sizes 26, 26.5, 27, and 27.5.
People in the remaking business have them also in the quarters. This not only makes less waste of gutta-percha, but you can turn
out a better ball when you don't have to crowd a large piece of gutta-percha into a small mould. Besides you can remake the balls
oftener. I should advise amateurs to purchase a mould with Ocobo marking, as it seems to be the most popular nowadays, For very
little additional cost you can have your initials on the mould. This will save you the trouble of marking your ball before playmg
in a match, and settles all disputes about ownership.
Allow the ball to remain in the mould about a minute, then put it in a pail of cold water. You can afterwards cut off the " fin"
with a sharp knife. On a large scale this is turned off on a machine
somewhat like a lathe. The same machine also makes an impression similar to the rest of the marking on the ball. This is not necessary,
although it looks better. The next operation is to paint the balls. This is best done by putting some paint in the palms of one's hands.
Rubber gloves may be bought for this work, although they are not nearly so good for the work as the bare skin. The paint does not do
any harm and it will wash off easily in warm water. The paint should be put on in four very thin coats. Only the second coat should
be rubbed into the marking. After painting, the balls they should be stood on a wooden frame to dry. At some of the large factories,
when balls are remade, the old balls are run into a lump and then into a rod. In other words, they are put through part
of the process of making new balls.
| Copyright © Douglas Seaton 2015,
All Rights Reserved. |