The Turf Club

Help AP-AMP Preserve the Legendary
in Asbury Park, New Jersey

The TURF CLUB is the last remaining structure that housed one of Springwood Avenue’s celebrated music spots. We hope to revitalize this space, and transform it into as a community venue for music and culture.

The Turf Club, c. 1960s
Photo: Joseph A. Carter Sr. (1917-1980)
© Asbury Park: A West Side Story Collection
The Turf Club, May 2019

Download the Turf Club booklet below:
Published by the Asbury Park African-American Music Project

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 … now remains the only reminder of the old glory days of the great music that was once very much alive on Springwood Avenue.”

– Cliff Johnson, extraordinary local musician, born in 1925, who shared with AP-AMP that he performed in every venue on Springwood Avenue
Tuesdays at the Turf – Beginning July 2021

The Turf Club – Preservation Updates

Update: January 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!

Update: August 2021
“Tuesdays at the Turf music series helping to reclaim Asbury Park’s music legacy” article was published in the Asbury Park Press. Read it on our Articles page!

Update: August 2021
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! 

Tuesday at the Turf (July 2021)
Photo: Conni Freestone

Update: September 2020
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!

Turf Club clean-out (September 2020)

Update: September 2020
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!

Interior of the Turf Club, August 2020
Photo: Conni Freestone

Update: July 2020
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.

The Turf Club exterior. Mural by Larry Walker, 2020.