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Antique Golf Clubs from Scotland
Tom Trapp
Tom Trapp Born in Abbot’s Langley, Hertfordshire, in 1866 Tom was the eldest son of three, with Charlie and Stanley all of whom went on to become professional golfers, Tom probably the most successful in tournament play.

Jackson’s Register has him as assistant to Charles at Clacton in between 1905 and 1907 but for me the dates do not tie up as Charlie was professional at Bushey Hall on 1906 and 1907. Either Tom was assistant to someone else or he was professional in his own right, playing in the Southern PGA championship at Totteridge in 1907 from Clacton and also in July of the following year. The announcement for this 1908 tournament shows Charles entered from Colchester but certainly by this was Tom’s club (he had played in the PGA Southern Qualifier from here in September 1907) so Charlie may have been his assistant. Dunlop advertised their Orange Spot in 1908 as the ball used when Tom broke the Colchester course record by three strokes. He was the professional in March 1908 when his boss, William Wood, the proprietor of the Colchester course, cut his throat and Tom Trapp found him bleeding to death and carried him to a doctor but to no avail. He may have been professional at both Clacton and Colchester while the latter club was closed. He was the home professional when the course reopened after refurbishment and he played with brother Charlie against Harry Vardon and William Jackson the then Clacton professional in July 1909.

He remained at Colchester until 1911 and on the 1911 census is living in Bergholt Road with wife Blanche May née Osborne, their one year old son, Reginald, and a 14 year old servant girl from Blanche’s home in Leavenheath, Suffolk. Tom’s younger brother, Stanley, already a clubmaker is visiting them at the time. He was also there at the time of the Wood suicide which may be coincidental or meant he was permanently there and learning his trade with his brother.

Tom spent some time entering competitions as ‘unattached’ in 1911 but was appointed as one of two professionals to the newly formed Croham Hurst club in South Croydon that December, to take charge of the 9 hole course when it opened the following season. It was opened on 13 April 1912 by him playing two foursomes matches with James Braid defeating Philip Wynne and James Kinnell.

Shirley Park in nearby East Croydon was a manor house converted to a residential hotel with a golf course formed in the grounds and Trapp was appointed professional when it opened in 1913. In the early part of the First World War he played in charity matches to raise money for the war effort, including one at Shirley Park in September 1915, but was then called up and the course was reduced to 9 holes in February 1917.

He was safely back at Shirley Park in 1919 though the course was not returned to its full glory until 1929. In 1923 he played an exhibition match against James Braid, and was four up at the turn, eventually winning by one hole. In 1925 he qualified for the matchplay rounds of the PGA £1040 Tournament, losing on the last green to George Duncan in the fourth round. He played in qualifying for the 1000 Guineas tournament at Gleneagles in 1926 going into a play-off over six holes with four others at the end of two rounds but retiring.

His son Reginald was his assistant at Shirley Park until taking up the post of professional at Molesey Hurst at Hampton Court in 1935.

The end at Shirley Park was a sad one. Friends went round to his house to wish him a happy Christmas on Christmas Eve 1937 and found him dead on the floor with his head in a gas oven.

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