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As you would expect of a club that is over 125 years old, there are plenty of interesting stories to be told – a course laid out by one of the most prolific architects of the Victorian era, two Professionals who served the club (each for over 40 years) and an Assistant Professional who went on to play for and captain the Ryder Cup Team. 


The idea of a golf course on our current land was solely due to Mr A H Lisner, who was the lessee of the Waffrons Farm, which lies within the boundaries of the current course. He was keen to get the prospect of a new Surrey golf club underway as soon as possible, as new courses were springing up locally, including Claygate Common Golf Club on land nearby.

Lisner placed an advert in the Surrey Comet announcing a meeting to be held at The Southampton Hotel in Surbiton on 29 March 1895. Mr Bulmer Howell was elected Captain, a provisional Committee formed, and seventy members signed up.

Surbiton Golf Club history, Surrey Golf Course


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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.


Perhaps the most famous professional golfer associated with Surbiton Golf Club was Dai Rees, who was the assistant to our Club Professional Jim Coleman from 1935–1938. Having turned professional in 1929, Dai had forty-three professional wins and was one of the British Isles leading golfers before and after the Second World War.

Leaving Surbiton in 1938, he became Club Professional at Hindhead Golf Club, moving on to South Herts Golf Club in 1946, remaining there until he died in 1983 after a long illness following a car crash, aged 70.

Dai Rees played in nine Great Britain Ryder Cups, five as Captain, with the memorable 7 1⁄2 – 4 1⁄2 victory in 1957 at Lindrick, South Yorkshire.

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No accurate record exists of the precise length of tenure of various professionals and the following, certainly for the early years, is an approximation.

1895 – 1896

W. Buckle (also the Club’s green keeper)

1897 – 1900

George Founds

1900 – ? 

James Hepburn

? – 1914

G. Doughty

1914 – 1962

Jim Coleman

1962 – 1971

Peter Gill

1971 – 1973

Brian Purdie

1973 – 1978

J.A. Sandy Meadon

1978 – 2019

Paul Milton

PICTURED: Jim Coleman at Surbiton with three other legendary players, prior to their Exhibition Match 1923. Left to right: Jim Coleman, Ted Ray, George Duncan Arthur Havers

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