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Famous North Berwick Golfers
Willie Dunn Jnr.    Seymour G. Dunn    Isabella M.G.Dunn    Remaking Golf Balls    William G. Dunn

Thomas Dunn
Golf Club Maker
Born 29th December 1849, Musselburgh.
Died: 1902, Blagdon, Somerset
[Tom Dunn]
Tom Dunn © Debenham and Gould

[13th on the West
No.8 Vanburgh Place, Leith
© Digitalsport UK

[15th on West Links]

15th West Links, North Berwick
© Digitalsport UK

[13th on East
North Berwick East Links
© Digitalsport UK

 West Links
 East Course

[13th on the West
13th West Links, North Berwick
© Digitalsport UK

  The Dunn's were more than
just a family story......

By Douglas Seaton
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.

Tom Dunn was born 29th December 1849 at Millhill, Musselburgh son of Willie Dunn Snr. golf ballmaker and his wife Rebecca Duncan. They 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. His daughter Catherine Dunn (below) married William H. Tucker and they had four sons who were golf professionals in America. 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 on 14 February 1878 at No.8, Millhill, Musselburgh and is buried in Inveresk Parish Church graveyard.

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.

In May 1883 Tom Dunn purchased the house and workshop at Dunedin Lodge, 60 Forth Street. 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 greens 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.'

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 final 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 Tooting Bec.

" Willie Dunn Jnr. was one of the most influential people in the first quarter century of American golf as a club designer and marketer"

Sir your 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 Hood Pendrigh is listed as a domestic servant living with Tom Dunn and his family in Windmill Cottage, Wimbledon. Mary was born in Inveresk, niece of Tom Hood a clubmaker. 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, 60 Forth Street, 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 the Bridge Hotel, St Neots, Huntingdon in 1933.

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 1893. Tom Dunn would often conclude his inspection of the site by saying 'One would almost think God had intended this for 18 holes as there is just sufficient ground and no more'.

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. The tournaments were held at Tampa Bay, Magnolia Springs, Kissinuee, Orlando, Jacksonville and Belle Air. 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 GOURLAY DUNN born 11th March 1882, in North Berwick, son of Thomas Dunn and Isabella Gourlay. The Dunn family resided in Dunedin Lodge, 60, Forth Street, North Berwick. Seymour was described as 5'11", with fair hair, blue eyes, and a thistle tattooed on his forearm. He resided with his parents at The Brook, Coombe Hill Road, East Grinstead and 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).

In 1904 Seymour was pro at Royal County Down, Nothern Ireland and in 1906 he sailed to America from Liverpool on the S.S.Cedric and arrived in New York on 13th July. He spent the summer at Stevens House Hotel 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. He joined his uncle Willie Dunn Jnr. at Van Cortlandt Park Golf Club. In 1907, Seymour was appointed Professional and Clubmaker at the Wykagyl Golf Club, New Rochelle, NY and in 1909 he took charge of the Stevens House links at the Lake Placid Resort and he laid out the Lake Placid Links course. 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 wrote a popular golf instruction book 'Golf Fundamentals' which was very popular. He also had a regular radio programme on WNYC giving golf lessons.

Seymour wrote a monthly article in the American 'Golf' magazine under the pseudonym 'Tantallon'.

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. Seymour Dunn died in 1959 at Lake Placid, NY.


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 D. 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 D. 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 Duncan Dunn had charge of the largest and best patronised indoor golf school in the world, at Wanamaker's New York. He had twenty-four instructors including an Open Champion. The school often gave one hundred and fifty lessons a day. Dunn himself was usually booked three months ahead and had a long waiting list. He gave up the school in 1918 as he had reported for service with his old regiment, the London Scottish and had also signed up for for the American draft.

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 January 1900 John Duncan Dunn travelled to Southern California as the agent for the Bridgeport Gun Implement Company with a view to increase their business. He was invited by the Los Angeles Herald to write an article on the Southern California Open at Coronado Golf Club, San Diego. The field included Willie Anderson and David Stephenson from North Berwick who Dunn had not seen for over ten years. Willie Anderson won by one stroke from Alex Smith, despite Anderson being unfamiliar with the 'skin' greens of oilsand.

John Duncan Dunn reported "One of the most successful golf tournaments ever witnessed in California was held on the Coronado golf links. The six professionals who entered were Horace Rawlins and Willie Anderson instructors at Oakland, Alex Smith (Hotel de Coronado). David Stephenson (San Francisco), T.W Tefley (San Rafael) and Jim Melville (Del Monte). The winner was Willie Anderson 95 and 85, 180, Alex Smith 90 and 91, 181. Such scores indicate wonderfully fine golf for the kind of courses you get in the south. I presume that eventually they will grow Bermuda grass in the southern golf courses similar to the ones in Florida. Cocoanut mat tees would also be great improvement."

"Anderson's long driving was one of the features of the day. Once he drove clear past the ninth hole 250 yards from the tee and over 200 yards of carry. Two of his other drives to this hole were hole high. Rawlins made a phenomenal approach shot from the beach up over a 30-foot cliff on to the green. On coming to the last green Alex Smith was told he had two more shots to tie with Willie Anderson. His tee shot landed in a bunker and he took his mashie and laid his approach almost dead amid great applause from the gallery. His approach unfortunately rimmed the cup. The players were unanimous in their praise of the orderly gallery. The professionals travel to Los Angeles tomorrow for an exhibition match at the country club."

In March 1900 it was announced in the Los Angeles Herald that John D. Dunn had married Norah Wilshire the daughter and heiress of Gaylord Wilshire one of the wealthiest land developers and publishers in Los Angeles. 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. That year John D. Dunn 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 D. 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 'California Golf' and 'The County Club', Natural Golf - A Book Of Fundamentals (1931).

In November 1918, Dunn wintered in Los Angeles and made his headquarters at the Hotel Maryland where he was in charge of golf. In February 1919, John D. Dunn signed a contract to handle the golf activities at the Los Angeles Country Club. For many years Dunn was in charge of Wanamaker's golf store in Philadelphia where he had 24 instructors under him. Dunn's intention was to send to Wanamaker's to get his former golf club maker to act as his assistant at the Los Angeles County Club. It was reported that Edward B. Tufts president of the Southern California Golf Association had been working on this deal for several weeks to bring John D. Dunn to Los Angeles. John Duncan Dunn died at his home in Los Angeles on 19th January 1951, aged 77 years.


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 Brockenhurst.

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 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. In 1917 'Queenie' and her sister, Norah designed the Reno Golf Club, now the Washoe Country Golf Course. The following year ‘Queenie’ designed what was then known as Tahoe Tavern Links which eventually became Tahoe City Golf Course. At this time she was also affiliated to Hotel Huntington and Hotel Green in Pasadena. Her brother John D. Dunn designed the near by course at Old Brockway Golf Club in 1926.

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. In March 1921 Dunn-Webb was in charge of the indoor net on the 5th floor of the Dyas Company building in Pasadena. 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.


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.

Willie Dunn won the first Championship of America in 1894 and was runner-up in the first official Championship in 1895.

In 1893, Willie Dunn was invited to America to layout a golf course for the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Willie Dunn's layout was over the original 9-hole course designed by Willie Davis in 1891. It has been agreed that Willie Dunn extended the course to 18-holes in 1895. Samuel L. Parrish a former lawyer in Philadelphia and later a permanent resident of Southampton was for years President of the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. In a letter to Samuel L. Parrish in 1891 from his friend Edward Mead who was visiting Biarritz in France accompanied by Duncan Cryer and W.K.Vanderbilt, when they witnessed a new game called golf. When they met in Southampton that summer Mead communicated his enthusiasm for the game. While in France, Vanderbilt and Mead were introduced to Willie Dunn who was assistant to his brother Tom Dunn at Biarritz. The three Americans invited Willie Dunn to New York in the spring of 1893 when Dunn extended the course to 18-holes.

Dunn was appointed professional at Ardsley-On-The-Hudson where he laid out one of the first courses in America. In 1894 Willie Dunn was the first unofficial champion of America when he defeated another Musselburgh boy Willie Campbell. In 1895 Dunn was runner-up in the first official US Open Championship representing Shinnecock Hills, NY. 1895; then at Ardsley Casino, NY. 1896; New York City Store 1897-98; MacGregor Co. Dayton OH. 1898; and Inns Arden NY 1901.

In January 1899 golf schools were growing in popularity during the winter. Willie Dunn was giving lessons on Forty-Second Street, New York and the Patrick Brothers on Fifty-Eighth. The later is close to the Fifth Avenue entrance to Central Park and classes were given in the evenings. At Boston Gilbert Nichols was giving indoor instruction in the store of Noyes Brothers.

The Patrick Brothers John, Alex and David came from Leven in Fife, Scotland and emigrated to America in 1895. John and Alex joined Tuxedo GC, New York and David travelled to Memphis. Alexander Patrick Jnr. remained in Scotland and opened a workshop at 123 Rose Street, Edinburgh.

In an interview Willie Dunn remembered he was the first to play with the rubber-cored ball which had just been invented. Dunn was on a train traveling from Chicago to New York when he received a telegram asking him to stop over in Cincinnatl, where he found a man named Haskell waiting for him. The gentleman told Willie Dunn he had invented a new golf ball and he told Dunn that he would give him $500 If he would try it and pass favourably upon it. Dunn stopped off and tried the ball, he just teed up the rubber core and was charmed by the sweet way it left the club. He just signed the recommendation and was the first pro to play the Haskell ball. In 1909 Willie Dunn was based in Forest Park, New York City where he made the Park his temporary business address.


Tom Dunn's sister Catherine Dunn born 26th December 1841 at Mill Hill, Inveresk, daughter of Willie Dunn, golf ball maker and his wife Rebecca Duncan. Catherine married William Henry Tucker from Chudleigh, Devon in the Dunn family home at 7 Vanburgh Place, Leith links. Will Tucker was a gardener working in Bromley, Middlesex. Their sons William (b.1872 Redhill), Samuel (b.1875 Chelsea), John (b.1876 Chelsea) and Thomas (b.1880 Brixton, Devon). In 1879 the Tucker family resided at 30, Lifford Street, Putney, Surrey.

Will Tucker went to Biarritz as assistant to Willie Dunn, while there he defeated Arnaud Massy in a money match for two hundred franc's. He returned to London and worked as a clubmaker with Slazenger and in 1891 he became professional at the Redhill and Reigate Golf Club where he remained for five years. Will was taught to play golf by his father, a green-keeper at Wimbledon Common Golf Club while the family resided in 95, Pelham Road, South Wimbledon. He employed a number of club makers and had a special department to model and copy clubs and among his clubmakers was Jimmie Gow son of the head green keeper at North Berwick.

Will Tucker received a cable from John Reid inviting him to emigrate to America and join his brother Samuel E. Tucker then professional at the St Andrews Club, Yonkers. Will accepted and went into business with his brother under the title of 'Tucker Bros. Makers of the Defiance Clubs and Balls'. Soon after his arrival the St Andrews Club moved to its present site at Mount Hope and Willie constructed the new course with fescue and bent greens used for the first time in the United States. He had already laid out courses at Tunbridge Wells, Reigate and Brighton Downs. Will often caddied for John Reid and played in the 1896 US Open, finishing in 7th place. He moved to Washington DC and was appointed professional and greenkeeper to the Chevy Chase Club (1899).

While at Chevy Chase he laid out the old Columbia course and also designed the Bannockburn course at Chevy Chase. Leaving Washington he accepted his last position as a professional at Ardsley-on-Hudson where he remained for fourteen years. He advertised his business as a Grass and Turf Specialist working from 35, Nassau Street, New York. He was joined by clubmakers John Irving from Surrey and Keith Thorburn from Forfar. Willie designed 121 golf courses and travelled the country constructing, remodelling and giving advice. Willie and his son constructed polo fields, football pitches and tennis courts for national tournaments at Newport, Rhode Island, West Side Tennis Club and the Germantown Cricket Club. Will Tucker died in 1905 in Kingston, Surrey aged 65 years and his widow Catherine emigrated to America to live with her son Willie and his wife Annie Ada Jeal on Maple Street and then at 15, Sherman Avenue, Dobbs Ferry, Westchester, New York. In 1921, W. H. Tucker was commissioned to write a series of articles on green keeping for the magazine American Golfer. The courses designed by Will Tucker are listed on other sites.


Will's younger brother John Dunn Tucker emigrated to America in 1897 and was engaged as professional at Stockbridge Golf Club, Massachusetts. He was also associated with Jefferson County Golf Club in the District of Columbia and Syracuse Golf Club of New York. In 1899 Tucker was persuaded to move to North Carolina as the first professional at Pinehurst when he extended the course to create Pinehurst's first 18-hole layout. In 1936 John D. Tucker was employed by S. G. Leoffler & Co. operator of the municipal East Potomac Park Golf Course and resided on 14th Street, NW District of Columbia, Washington. John Dunn Tucker died on 4th March 1960 in Gaston, North Carolina at the age of 84 years.


Samuel E. Tucker (1876-1946) was born in Chelsea and resided with his parents at 30 Lifford Street, Putney. Sam emigrated to America and was appointed to the St Andrews Golf Club in Yonkers, New York. He played in the famous US Open Championship in 1894 at Shinnecock Hills Club, when Willie Dunn the local professional defeated Willie Campbell of Boston. Tucker of St Andrews Club at Yonkers was beaten by Campbell in the semi-final. Willie Dunn won the final by two holes and carried off the $100 first prize. Sammy entered the US Open in 1895 and finished 9th. In 1898 he moved to Dyker Meadow Golf Club in Brooklyn, New York and was later attached to Allegheny Country Club. His brother Thomas Tucker assisted at Dyker Meadow and Allegheny.

[West Links]
Dunedin Lodge, Forth Street, North Berwick where Tom Dunn and Family resided © Digitalsport UK

[Golfer] [Golfer]

Left: John D. Dunn (1901), Top Right: Tom Dunn at Meyrick Park (1894), Centre: Advertisment for Seymour Dunn (1907) and Willie Dunn (1899) © Golf Bulletin

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