Who's who: Willie Dunn Sr

  • Photo of Willie Dunn Sr
  • scotland.png
  • Photo of Willie Dunn Sr
  • scotland.png

Who's who: Willie Dunn Sr

  • Name:

    William "Willie" Dunn Sr
  • Country:

  • Lived:

    [1821-1878]. Born on Aug 19, 1821 in Musselburgh, East lothian. Died on Feb 14, 1878 at Millhill, Inveresk, nr Musselburgh (aged 56).
  • Original/Home Club:

    Musselburgh Links (Old course)
  • Occupation:

    Professional golfer, greenkeeper, club & ball maker, golf instructor.
  • Turned Pro:

  • Website:


Roll of Honour

Played in many challenge matches between 1840 and 1865. Came seventh in the second Open Championship in 1861.

Did you know?

Willie Dunn (Sr) is best remembered as a leading golf professional, greenkeeper, club and ball maker, and most notably, head of a famous golfing family. After serving an apprenticeship to John Gourlay, ball maker of Musselburgh in East Lothian, Willie Dunn and his twin brother James ("Jamie") played in many challenge matches between 1840 and 1860. The Dunns (and Parks) from Musselburgh, frequently pitted their skills against the might of St Andrews, most notably the Morris's and Allan Robertson. In 1843, Willie Dunn and Allan Robertson played a 20-round Grand Challenge match over 10 days, to establish who was the top golfer of that time; Robertson came out the winner.

Willie Dunn became the greenkeeper, club maker and professional at Royal Blackheath GC in London from 1851 until 1864 when he returned to the Thistle GC at Leith Links, nr Edinburgh. His club and ball-making business was located in his house, Primrose Cottage, Lochend, Leith. Willie Dunn Snr remained at Leith Links for ten years before returning to North Berwick.

The Dunn golfing dynasty continued on with Willie Dunn's two sons: Tom learned his trade as a club maker as an apprentice to his father, while Willie Jr trained under his brother Tom (who was 15 years older than Willie Jr). Tom's children included Seymour Dunn, John Duncan Dunn and Isabella May Gourlay Dunn ("Queenie"), all of whom had distinguished careers in golf course design, club making and golf instruction. Willie Jr's son, Norman, was also an accomplished golfer.

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