John Abercromby

Full Name
John Frederick Abercromby
Year of Birth
1861
Year of Death
1935 (aged 73)
Place Born
Cape Town, South Africa
Place Died
Addington, Surrey, England

Abercromby was a totally free-hand artist, who shunned the practice of working from measured distances or drawings. Instead, he preferred to place his trust on feel and intuition. His conviction was that design work was completed on-site, and he was always present to supervise the construction of his projects. The Evolution of Golf Course Design by Keith Cutten

John Abercromby was the son of a medical doctor, James Abercromby, who died very young at the age of 40 in Cape Town, South Africa, when John was only ten years old. His widowed mother Johanna moved the family to Britain soon after her husband passed away, settling in Felixstowe on the coast of Suffolk.

Abercromby worked as a clerk in a stockbroker’s firm before going on to operate within London’s Stock Exchange. Around the turn of the century, he was employed as a private secretary to a financier at Bridley Manor in Surrey who had visions of building a golf course to compete against the likes of nearby Walton Heath and Woking.

Authors Geoff Cornish and Ron Whitten take up the story in their book The Golf Course: “Somewhat audaciously, ‘Aber’ decided to lay out the course himself. He consulted Willie Park Jr. and Jack White during the initial stages, but the final product, Worlplesdon GC, was basically Abercromby’s design.”

He was then offered a commission to create a new course for Coombe Hill Golf Club and he again called in Willie Park Jr. for advice. Unfortunately, The Great War was about to intervene, but not before he had fashioned perhaps his most notable layout at The Addington in Croydon, where it’s been suggested that he also consulted Harry Colt during its design.

Further biography details to follow…

Extracts:

The Golf Courses of Great Britain by Bernard Darwin: “A stands for Addington, and also for Mr. Abercromby, who was the ‘only begetter’ of it. So let us start there.”

Golf Between Two Wars by Bernard Darwin: “When we turn inland we find several truly excellent English courses which belong wholly ...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by John Abercromby

Bovey Castle

5th Devon - Best in Area

Bovey Castle golf course is set magically in the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. It's an English treasure originally laid out by J.F. Abercromby.

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Coombe Hill

16th Surrey - Best in Area 61st England Ranking

Coombe Hill Golf Club is one of the few courses designed by J.F. “Aber” Abercromby and the heavily wooded layout is quintessentially English.

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Cowdray Park

18th Sussex - Best in Area

Originally designed by Herbert Fowler and J. F. Abercromby, the course at Cowdray Park is set in a massive 16,500-acre estate where golfers enjoy wonderful views across the South Downs National Park.

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Knole Park

5th Kent - Best in Area 90th England Ranking

Designed by the great architect J.F. Abercromby in 1924, the unique Knole Park Golf Club has been described as an inland links.

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Mill Hill

6th Middlesex - Best in Area

John Abercromby designed the course at Mill Hill Golf Club in 1923 and it’s set in 145 acres of the Mote Mount Estate which borders Hertfordshire.

The Addington

13th Surrey - Best in Area 35th England Ranking 83rd Britain & Ireland Ranking

The Addington Golf Club is a natural inland golfing paradise, with plenty of heather, pine, bracken and silver birch. Very little has changed since the club was founded in 1914.

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West Kent

23rd Kent - Best in Area

Founded in 1916, West Kent Golf Club is set between the village of Downe and Biggin Hill Airport and the undulating downland cum parkland course in play today is a Herbert Fowler and John Abercromby design from 1925.

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Worplesdon

9th Surrey - Best in Area 30th England Ranking 71st Britain & Ireland Ranking

Worplesdon Golf Club is one of the prettiest and most delightful of Surrey’s many heath and heather courses and it’s arguably the best of the trinity of “Ws”...

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