This rare, antique, hand-wrought golf club was recently acquired from the estate of a gentleman who had restored and collected golf clubs for 7 decades! His family, while settling his estate, remarked that he had "paid crazy prices for some of his collection!". This prized, rare club is certain to have been included in that category!
This amazing club sports its original varnish surface and is offered in "as found" condition. The darkening of the finish results a wonderful patina. The club displays an enchanting elegance owing to the gently-sculpted angling of the face. The sole of the club shows signs of mild use with linear scuff marks beginning at the front portion of the inlaid horn. It measures a formidable 42 inches from the heel.
The skills of the craftsman are most apparent when the club is viewed from the top. While unmarked, this club displays the form of the exceptional, highly-skilled, Scottish club makers of the 19th century. The lead has been expertly applied to the back of the club, and the original twine adds to the club's character. The hickory shaft is undamaged and sports a warm, honey-colored surface. The leather grip was expertly replaced many, many years ago and has signs of gentle use.
A phenomenal, rarely-found example of 19th century craftsmanship! A tangible example of exemplary golfing history!
This club is a hard to find smooth faced example faintly stamped "WRIGHT & DITSON" on the back (otherwise unmarked) and on the shaft as noted in the photos. Smooth faced clubs fell out of favor around circa 1900 when clubs sporting grooves became more popular and by 1910 were only offered in a few catalogues.
This desirable club has a period leather grip, a straight shaft and a forged head with various leading edge small dings commensurate with a honorably but not abused club. The Boston, MA made club measures 36 inches from the heel to the end of the grip and is probably considered a mashie niblick by the angle of the face.
This club actually presents a number of qualities that indicate it may, in fact, be an example of pre-1860s craftsmanship: : LENGTH of the face is 6 inches. The DEPTH of the face is 1 1/8 inches max. The face is SMOOTH and CURVED, and the club head is shaped in the form of a TEARDROP. The club is UNMARKED. The neck is slightly thin at just over 3/4 inches--- all indicators of an early, pre-1860s club!
This amazing club sports most of its original varnish surface and is offered in "as found" condition. The darkening of the finish results in a wonderfully rich patina. The club displays an enchanting presence owing to the gently-sculpted angling of the face. The sole of the club is without the usual ram's horn which was the typical norm, making this particular club that much more intriguing and quite unusual!!! I have not been able to find reference to clubs that were made in this fashion. RARE!!!
The early golfer must have been quite robust and sturdy as this heavy club face is one that most folks today would have a difficult time keeping "square" at impact. Long spoon clubs were used off of grassy surfaces which accounts for the very nice condition of this beauty. Besides the unobtrusive, expected scuff marks on the sole, there is only one tiny, barely-noticeable chip on the leading edge of the club face at the sole, consistent with hitting something other than a grassy surface!
The lead on the back of the club has been partially removed to customize it for the golfer. The slightly warped hickory shaft is undamaged and sports a warm, honey-colored surface. The leather grip was expertly replaced many, many years ago and has signs of honorable wear.
The skills of the craftsman are most apparent when the club is viewed from the top. While unmarked, this club displays the form of the exceptional, highly-skilled, UK club makers of the 19th century. According to author and golf history expert, Jeffrey B. Ellis, unsigned, long-nosed golf clubs were the norm in the pre-1870 era.
This rare, antique, hand-wrought, golf club was recently acquired from the estate of a gentleman who had restored and collected golf clubs for 7 decades! His family, while settling his estate, remarked that he had "paid crazy prices for some of his collection!". This prized, rare club is certain to have been included in that category!
A phenomenal, rarely-found example of 19th century craftsmanship, and a tangible example of exemplary golfing history.
The first club is from George Nicolls and is stamped on back as follows: "HAND FORGED IN SCOTLAND" - '2 IRON' - 'CARRYING POWER 150/70Yds - and in a circular stamp 'NICOLLS INDICATOR'". The stamp of a hand palm also embellishes this nice Scotland created club. The INDICATOR model was introduced in 1926 and became very popular. The face is DOT stamped and there is a small ding on the leading edge close to the heel. Measures 36.5 inches from then end of shaft to the heel. There is slight gap between the hosel and shaft connection and ancient crimp marks on the hosel are noted. This may indicate that the shaft, while appearing period, may be an early replacement. The leather grip is in very good condition and overall the club sports a nice patina.
The second club is stamped on back with the following information: "Hillerick and Bradbys Co. Louisville, KY 'GRAND SLAM' and a stamp of a hand hold playing cards with an 'A' on the front. It is stamped with the number '5' on the sole. The 36.5 inch shaft is stamped "Made by Hillerick and Bradbys Co. Louisville, KY". A small gap is noted between the shaft and hosel. The club has a wonderful surface patina throughout and the grip is solid. The face sports a square stamped pattern.
Club number 3 is stamped on the back with the following: "G. Schmidt - NIBLICK - FORGED and the letter 'W'". The 'W' may be the owners mark. This 36.5 inch club sports a nice patina, and a good complete grip. The shaft has a barely noticeable split by the hosel. The large face has 'line' pattern stamping and the leading edge shows two honorable dings. A neat club to display!
The first club is an early wood head putter with a brass face and sole plate and would make a nice player club. It measures 33.5 inches from the heel to the end of the shaft and has "MADE IN ENGLAND" marked on the sole near the heel.
The second vintage club is stamped "SPALDING MEDAL 58" on the crown and has a brass sole plate and ? black horn on the leading edge. The club measures 42.5 inches from the heel to end of shaft. This BRASSIE has a fine lined face and a period lambskin grip. Looks handsome and would make a nice player club.
The third club is faintly stamped ? "THD" on the crown. The club measures 42 inches and is in nice condition. This BRASSIE may be the earliest of this group as evidenced by the following characteristics: The shaft passes through the hosel to the sole. The front sole plate appears to be horn and is attached via a middle screw and 2 wooden dowels.
This C1900 club has a faint separation of the sole plate and a very faint hairline split near the front portion of the sole.
Club 4 club is stamped "ALEC. GERARD HMC" on the crown and sports a brass sole plate and ? black horn plate on the leading edge. The club measures 41 inches from the heel to end of shaft. The club has two toned wood coloring on the crown and face once sported front decoration. The face shows moderate damage and a split to the hosel on the heel side (probably from pounding more than just the ball!). This club dates to the 1920-1930 era and has been officially retired.
The first club sports a handsome low profile design with the back marked "HOLLYWOOD" - HANDFORGED - SPECIAL and HAND FORGED. There are a few dings noted on the leading edge of the front otherwise the club is in good condition. Measures 37.5 inches from the heel to end of club.
The second vintage club is stamped "L" (denoting a ladies club) "Kroydon J7" and "FORGED" on the back and "25 Degree MidIron" on the base. The club measures 37 inches from the heel to end of shaft.
The third club is stamped "THOS. E. WILSON & SON" and "GENE SARAZEN" on the back and "MID IRON" on the base. There also is a colorful decal on the shaft just below the grip. The decal is complete and notes the "WILSON" etc., trademark. The club measures 38.5 inches and is in nice usable condition.
The first example is from the desirable UK maker Tom Stewart. The back of this lovely club has the following stamping on the back: "2 IRON" - SPECIAL HAND FORGED IN SCOTLAND, the trademark image of a 'PIPE'. Also 'T. STEWART MAKER ST ANDREWS'" (is stamped within an oval ring). The club head has minimal though appropriate small, scattered dings noted. Measures 38 inches from end of grip to heel. For reference, the 'pipe' trademark image began in 1905.
Club #2 is a handsome example of hand forged craftsmanship. The back sports the following stamping: "ED. WILLIAMS SPECIAL" inside an oval ring that is flanked by 2 'DAISIES'. The word 'ACCURATE' with an image of an 'ARROW' below it plus a trademark 'HAMMER' image near the toe." The sole is stamped "APPCH. IRON". The face has circular dot stamping in the sweet spot. The iron has a wonderful aged patina and shows age appropriate minor dings to the leading edge.
The third club exhibits the following stamping on the back of the club: "HAND FORGED - MID MASHIE - "THE LUCKY DOG KIND" and sports the image of a 'RETRIEVER DOG'. The letters 'DGM' reside inside a small angled box". The club measures about 38 inches from tip of the grip to the heel. There is minimal wear with only some very minor nicks on the leading edge.
A choice grouping.
The Play Club (wood driver) has modest finish loss, a small black colored sole plate(? material), and a lead weight in the back. Measures 42.5 inches from tip of grip to heel. A slight bend is noted from front to back of the shaft. The shaft is marked SUNNINGDALE on the top. An ancient unobtrusive irregular tiny piece of wood is missing from just below the letter "D" on the crown.
The first iron is stamped "Mashie Niblick", "Hand Forged", "SPECIAL" and "SUNNINGDALE" on the back. There is a small leading edge ding on the front left and is otherwise in good playable condition. Measures 36 inches from the heel to end of grip and sports an almost straight shaft.
The second iron, the putter, measures 33.5 inches exhibiting a nice patina on the metal. The markings on the back are the same as the Mashie Niblick except for the word "PUTTER". The shaft has an excessive-appearing bend to it which was either due to warping or was done intentionally. The clubs date to the 1910-1920 era.
Some notes: During the 1920s a number of innovations took place including the intentional excessive bending of the putter shaft. This feature improved the position of blade and its alignment with the green. Many golfers would intentionally bend their own clubs to mimic the new technology. I believe that this club was most likely a product of intentional bending by the owner.
The first putter is made of brass and sports a nice flanged back edge. The club measures 33.75 inches long from the heel to end of shaft. The leather grip is complete and in good condition. The straight shaft has a lovely patina and is solid. The back of the putter is stamped: "F. EASTMAN" perhaps an obscure UK club maker. Not sure of the origin.
The face of the club has crude circular 'dot' stampings. The rear flange gives the putter a sleek appearance. Various unobtrusive minor blemishes are noted throughout but there are no mentionable dings apparent.
The second club has a complete sheepskin grip, solid hickory shaft and a face sporting square/rectangular stamping. The back of putter is stamped "FORGED - PUTTER - 'COUNTRY CLUB' and sports 2 English hallmarks - a 'CROWN' and a 'LION'." The club measures 35 inches from the end of the shaft to the heel. Ready to use.
A nice pair!
The club on the left is stamped with the owner's initials "T.H" and "AC SPALDING & BROS MAKERS", plus "MODEL D HAND FORGED". The shaft is secure and is modestly split above the hosel. The iron has a tarnished patina and smooth surface. The grip is constructed of brushed leather and is complete. The club measures 40.5 inches from the tip of the toe to the end of the handle.
The club on the right is stamped "ST. ANDREWS" and "MAKERS" with the letter "L" denoting that it is a lady's club. The club face exhibits minor, honorable wear as well as an age-appropriate patina with some rust and pitting on the hosel. The shaft shows appropriate wear, is almost straight, and is secure. The original, smooth leather grip has what appears to be an ancient piece of tape (which can be removed) on each end. The club measures 34.25 inches from the tip of toe to the end of the handle.
Prior to 1900, the vast majority of irons were smooth-faced. During this period, it was common for caddies to use emery cloth to lightly clean off rust from the club heads. Prior to the use of grooves or hand-punched dots being applied to the club face (to enhance backspin), caddies would use the emery cloth to roughen the "sweet spot" on the club face to promote backspin.
Beginning in the 1890's, hand-punched dots on the club face appeared and by 1905, patterns such as scored lines, dots and lines, criss-cross lines with or without dots became the norm.
The end of the smooth-face era for irons occurred around 1910, though some were still offered in catalogues after that date for those who resisted change.
The club has plenty of information stamped on back as follows: "R. FORGAN" in script - "R. FORGAN & SON (then a CROWN image below) and ST ANDREWS" - 'WARRANTED HAND FORGED' "MASHIE", plus 'M.G.' (? owners initials) and finally 'VL & D N.Y.' (? US store that sold this club).
The hickory shaft retains an old darkened finish and sports the following stamp marks just below the grip: "ST ANDREWS" - "SELECTED" & "R FORGAN & SON". The shaft has a slight to mild warping and is solid. The club head has a wonderful darkened, untouched patina with some old remnants of debris within its punched holes. The leading edge of the sole and toe have evidence of honorable play sporting unobtrusive dings.
This desirable beauty measures 36 inches from heel to end of the grip. While quite playable, I would proudly display this club as a collector's item made by one of the best Scottish club makers of his time. Would date to circa 1900.
The two hickory smooth face clubs are each stamped "ST ANDREWS", "Wright Ditson & Makers". Each shaft is stamped "Wright & Ditson" just below the grip and sport a nice aged patina.
The first hickory club appears to be an unmarked putter, and the iron club head portion is in very nice condition. Measures 33.5 inches from heel to top of shaft.
The second hickory club is essentially a 5 iron (MASHIE) although it is not marked as such. There are two small leading edge dings and is otherwise a nice example.
The third club, is a steel club, is marked "5 and MASHIE" on the base and dates to the 1930 era. The painted metal shaft sports a nice dark brown leather grip. The head of the iron is stamped "PARAMOUNT REG.U.S. PAT. OFF. - GRADUATED IRONS 'WRIGHT & DITSON' U.S.A. MILD STEEL". The club head is in good condition with various mild leading edge dings.
All clubs ready to play!
The Brassie has modest finish loss, a full brass sole plate and a lead weight in the back. Measures 42.5 inches from tip of grip to heel. A modest bend is noted from front to back of the shaft. Marked "PICCADILLY" faintly on the top. The face has ancient residue as evidence of its honorable use. The shaft is solid, has an early finish and has its old underlisting as a grip.
The first forged iron is stamped "Mid Iron", and "PICCADILLY" on the back. There are a few minor small leading edge dings on the front most prominent towards the heel. Measures 37.5 inches from the heel to end of grip and sports an almost straight shaft and is missing the grip (has underlisting).
Finally, the putter, which measures 33.5 inches and has a nice patina and a small area of pitting on the face towards the heel. The markings on the back are stamped "PUTTER" and "PICCADILLY". The shaft has an old finish and complete leather grip.
The clubs date to the 1930 era.