Tom Dunn

Full Name
Thomas Dunn
Year of Birth
1849
Year of Death
1902 (aged 53)
Place Born
Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland
Place Died
Blagdon, Somerset, England

Tom Dunn was the most prolific course designer of his day. He produced layouts that were inexpensive and serviceable, making it possible for increasing numbers of golfers from all social classes to take up the game. A great salesman, he was quoted as telling each of his clients: “God meant this site to be a golf course” – from The Golf Course by Geoff Cornish and Ron Whitten.

Tom was born into a well-respected East Lothian golfing family. His father and uncle Jamie – Willie Dunn Sr.’s twin brother – were fine golfers and famous for indulging in big money matches against the likes of Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris.

Dunn spent his early years at Blackheath in London, where his father was the professional, before the family moved back to Scotland in 1864, with Willie Dunn Sr. taking up an appointment at the Thistle Golf Club which played out of Leith Links [NLE].

Tom started his professional career as a club maker at North Berwick in 1869 but moved the following year to the London Scottish Golf Club in Wimbledon. He remained as the club’s professional for twelve years, employing two men as club makers and his younger brother Willie Dunn as an apprentice during that time.

Tom married Isabella May Gourlay who, according to the book The Golf Course by Geoff Cornish and Ron Whitten, was a “descendant of the Gourlays of Musselburgh (renowned golf instructors to the Kings of Scotland and ball makers to the Royal Family of Great Britain).”

While Tom and his wife were in England, John Duncan Dunn, William Gourlay Dunn and Isabella May Gourlay Dunn were all born there. The family returned to North Berwick in 1881, with Norah Eleanor Dunn and Seymour Dunn arriving a few years later.

In The Golf Book of East Lothian (published in 1896), the author 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 ...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Tom Dunn

Bath

2nd Somerset - Best in Area

Set out on a former stone quarry that operated on high ground overlooking the town, Bath Golf Club is blessed with free-draining soil...

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Biarritz Le Phare

8th South West France - Best in Area 47th France Ranking

The original course at Golf de Biarritz Le Phare, which was laid out by Tom and Willie Dunn in 1888, was one of the oldest on the European continent that was subsequently redesigned by Harry Colt in the 1920s...

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Broadstone

1st Dorset - Best in Area 31st England Ranking 73rd Britain & Ireland Ranking

Broadstone Golf Club is laid out on glorious rolling terrain. The elevated homeward nine provides panoramic views of the Purbeck Hills and Poole Harbour.

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Bude & North Cornwall

5th Cornwall - Best in Area

Bude & North Cornwall Golf Club extends to just over 6,000 yards from the back markers but its modest overall length packs a punch late in the round...

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Came Down

Gem England - Best in Area

With stunning panoramic views, a tough but fair course and a great deal of history, the J.H. Taylor and Harry Colt-designed Came Down Golf Club is a quintessential gem.

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Dinard

4th North West France - Best in Area 27th France Ranking

Situated four miles to the west of Dinard, along the sandy shoreline of Brittany’s Emerald Coast at Saint-Briac-sur-Mer, the fairways of Dinard Golf Club date back to the late 1880s...

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Goring & Streatley

14th Berkshire - Best in Area

Goring & Streatley Golf Club was founded in 1895 and the course was originally designed by Tom Dunn. With fine turf, topographical variation and expansive views of the Thames Valley, it’s an engaging golfing experience.

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Great Yarmouth & Caister

7th Norfolk - Best in Area

Great Yarmouth & Caister Golf Club is the Home of Bogey and the oldest golf club in Norfolk, founded in 1882. Unusually, this North Sea links layout features the Great Yarmouth racecourse as a hazard.

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Hampstead

Gem England - Best in Area

A tranquil and traditional 9-hole golf course lies in wait for unsuspecting golfers at Hampstead Golf Club, just a few miles from central London.

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Huddersfield

8th Yorkshire - Best in Area

With Fixby Hall as the magnificent clubhouse, it's no surprise that Huddersfield is one of Yorkshire's finest and most respected golf clubs.

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