Golf Course Architecture - Issue 64, April 2021

England’s first municipal course was at Meyrick Park in Bournemouth, where Tom Dunn laid out an 18-hole course and nine-hole ‘Ladies Links’ in 1894 49 they did not cater for this new game. By the end of the year, the council had employed Tom Dunn to report on the suitability of the ground for golf, and early in 1894, Dunn was hired to lay out the new facility – the main 18-hole course, and shorter nine-hole ‘Ladies Links’ – which was formally opened for play on 28 November of the same year, the first, it would appear, specially created municipally-owned golf course in the world. There was water piped to every tee and green (very unusual at the time) and 95 men had been employed for three months in building the course. To the west of the ocean, America was less than a year behind. In 1888, the city of New York had taken title to 4,000 acres of land in the Bronx. This acquisition led to the formation of Bronx, Claremont, Crotona, St Mary’s, Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay parks, and in 1895, a group of Riverdale businessmen, who had been trying, unsuccessfully, to find a site to build a private golf course, hit upon the Van Cortlandt site as their best opportunity. The group developed a nine-hole course, but the Board of Parks Commissioners concluded that it could not allow a municipally-owned asset to fall into private hands. Hence the group – by now known as the ‘Mosholu Golf Club’ – gained exclusive rights to use the course for two afternoons a week, but it remained publicly-owned, the first municipal golf course in the United States (with a finishing hole, the ninth, that was more than 700 yards long). Image: Flickr/Alwyn Ladell, 2011