DESIGNER OF 137 GOLF COURSES
The land on which Surbiton Golf Club lies was owned by the Countess of Lovelace and there was a rudimentary golf course laid out for the residents of the Waffrons Farm. When the land that is now Surbiton Golf Club was leased from the Countess in 1895, the Club employed Tom Dunn to design the course. At the time Tom Dunn was the Professional at Tooting Bec Golf Club.
Dunn was born in Musselburgh, in Scotland. His first job as a golf professional was at North Berwick. He competed in four Open Championships with a best finish of 6th place in 1868.
He moved south in 1870 to be the Professional at London Scottish Golf Club on Wimbledon Common before returning to Scotland in 1880. He then moved around, including a spell in France, before being appointed Professional at Tooting Bec in 1890.
It was common in those days for Golf Professionals to have many roles including greenkeeping, club making and to earn extra money, golf course design.
Tom Dunn was a prolific course designer particularly in the south of England. Many of the courses he designed sadly no longer exist including Raynes Park and Walton on Thames. He claimed to have designed no fewer that 137 courses of all types. Some of his more famous courses include Broadstone in Dorset which he regarded as his best design and Littlestone in Kent, which is used for Open Championship final qualifying. Other courses include Woking, Richmond, Seaford and Hayling.
Tom moved to Florida in 1899, returning in 1901 before dying in Somerset in 1902 aged 52.
The original design for Surbiton was for 9 holes and the course was extended to 18 holes in 1897 with a total length of 4,541 yards.
The other major influence on the course was James Braid, who as well as five times Open Champion, was the Professional at Walton Heath. When the Kingston by-pass was built in 1924 the Club lost the land beyond what is currently the 5th green. Braid was commissioned to design what is now the 6th and 7th holes.