Offered are two, very-hard-to-find, antique, Smooth-Face, Wood Shaft, Golf Clubs. Both hand-forged irons are circa 1900 and sport hickory shafts and original leather grips. Each club exhibits a rarely found smooth-face surface.
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.