The Turf Club
The Turf Club is the last remaining structure that once housed one of Springwood Avenue’s celebrated music spots. AP-AMP owns and plans to revitalize this space, and transform it into as a community venue for music and culture.
Learn more about the history of Springwood Avenue here.
Follow this page for updates on the the Turf Club preservation!
What's the Turf Club?
In the 1960s, there were dozens of music venues on the west side of Asbury Park, all along Springwood Avenue. Today, only one structure remains that was once one of these venues: The Turf Club.
The Turf Club originally opened at 1125 Springwood Avenue in 1940 and moved to 1200 Springwood Avenue in 1956, where the building remains today. It represents the last chance to preserve a physical piece of Springwood Avenue’s music history.
Icons such as Billie Holiday and Count Basie as well as local talent performed along Springwood Avenue. It was part of the Chitlin’ Circuit and lined with music venues and African American-owned businesses, many cited in the Green Book. Since the late 1950s, music was a mainstay of the Turf Club, offering local (e.g., Al Griffin, Cliff Johnson, and Dee Holland) and nationally-recognized (e.g., Clarence Clemons, who would later join Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) jazz and R&B acts. In 1970, civil unrest and a period of disinvestment devastated Springwood Avenue.
Historic Preservationist Elizabeth Rosin notes that the Turf Club “provides a unique physical connection to an important cultural context – the social and entertainment heritage of the local African-American community. Its cultural significance is enhanced by the loss of other buildings that shared its connection to the once-thriving African-American west side commercial district of Asbury Park.”
The Turf Club in the 1960s.
Photo: Joseph A. Carter Sr. (1917-1980)
© Asbury Park: A West Side Story Collection
The Turf Club in May 2019.
The building had been empty for over 15 years.
Learn more about the Turf Club
A conversation with Jennifer Souder and Yvonne Clayton of the Asbury Park African American Music Project. The two arts and historical preservation leaders talk about the role of Springwood Avenue and its importance in the foundation of blues and jazz in the cultural history of Asbury Park. The current renovation and future of the Turf Club, AP-AMP's major initiative, is highlighted.
History of the Turf Club in Photographs
Click the photos for details.
The Turf Club is on the right side of the street. Photo: Madonna Carter Jackson.
Photo credit: Joseph Carter
Illinois Jacquet performs at the Turf Club (Asbury Park Press, 1965.)
Turf Club interior, late 1960s, showing musical group "Charles and Dave." (photo credit: Bob Lee)
Ben Dinkins (in white), c. 1970s. (photo courtesy Greg Bouie)
Turf Club - Minda Browning, c. 1970s. (photo courtesy Greg Bouie)
(photo courtesy Greg Bouie)
The Turf Club, mid 1970s.(photo courtesy Greg Bouie)
Turf before cleanout (July 2020). (photo credit: Conni Freestone)
Turf Club clean-up (October 2020)
Turf Club side entrance, with murals by Larry Walker (2021) (photo cred Conni Freestone)
TuesdaysAtTheTurf AP-AMP event, summer 2021 (photo credit: Conni Freestone)
Tuesdays at the Turf concert, July 2021 (photo cred Conni Freestone)
Photo credit: Conni Freestone
Tuesdays at the Turf, summer 2022 (photo credit: Conni Freestone)
We are very excited that construction of the Turf Club roof is underway! We so appreciate all who have been on this journey with us. A long way to go, but we're grateful to hit this milestone and can't wait until there's music flowing out those doors again.
This project was funded in part by a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation with support from the JPB Foundation.
The installation of two new exterior doors and related work was completed in early June 2023.
We are celebrating a fantastic 2022! Among many highlights in 2022, we are especially thrilled to have been able to present our second Tuesdays at the Turf concert series.
We’re looking forward to the music that’s coming our way in the Turf Club in 2023 – and we need your help to keep the Turf Club renovation moving. How can you help? We always need AP-AMP volunteers and we always accept donations to support our cause. Please email us if you’re interested in volunteering with us!
This summer, AP-AMP hosted a free concert series called "Tuesdays at the Turf." This marks the first time that there has been live music inside the club in over 20 years! Thank you for coming out and supporting our organization and local musicians!
In preparation for Tuesdays at the Turf and next steps, the AP-AMP team cleaned out additional items, added a new (temporary) corner door for easier access, and have been working with our design team to identify and plan for addressing the Turf Club’s most urgent needs for rehabilitation. You can help with a donation today!
Huge thank you to this efficient crew for a speedy record-breaking clean out of the legendary Turf Club!
– Asbury Park Environmental and Shade Tree Commission
– Asbury Park Department of Public Works
– Asbury Park Quality of Life Committee
– Springwood Avenue Rising
– and ALL the volunteers!
Come help the Asbury Park African-American Music Project clean out the interior of the historic Turf Club on Saturday, September 26 between 9am and 12pm. Please wear long sleeves, pants and a mask. Tools will be provided.
AP-AMP is working to preserve this important part of AP’s history. It’s a community effort and that means you! Thank you in advance for your time, your passion and your dollars – any amount will help!
AP-AMP is happy to collaborate with Springwood Avenue Rising on a beautiful mural on the Turf Club, painted by Mr. Larry Walker. The artwork, painted on the Springwood Avenue and Atkins Avenue exterior walls, celebrates the music and history of Springwood Avenue.
This is what the Turf Club currently looks like.