The first golfer? Who knows for sure. Men have been swatting balls with sticks for thousands of years. Many countries claim to be the birthplace, but the strongest claim might be in the Netherlands. An ordinance was written and recorded in Brussels prohibiting the playing of "Colf", the Dutch equivalent of golf, in the city. Fines were levied against players because of the damage to windows and houses. Certainly golf as we know it today was honed in Scotland. In 1457, the first written reference to golf in Scotland, was the famous edict issued by King James II. It banned playing golf because it was taking the soldiers away from archery practice.
The clubs were handmade entirely from wood (Irons were not commonly used until the 1860's), and the clubs were made from fruitwoods, Scottish beech, lemonwood, ash and thorn woods until the American hickory and persimmon was discovered in the late 1800's.
The balls were made from stuffing a top hat full of feathers into a leather covering. The expense in manufacturing the balls limited the playing of golf to the well to do only. The most significant development in making golf popular and affordable to the masses, was the creation of the "gutta percha" one piece rubber ball in 1849. This inexpensive ball, along with the more durable hickory shafts, moved golf into a new era.
The late 20's ushered in yet another new era as steel replaced wood for the shafts. By the 1940's, only a fraction of the old "Hickory's" survived, usually in someone's attic, displayed in public places, or in the hands of collectors. Ownership of the wooden shaft clubs is becoming quite popular as an investment, as a collector's item, or just as a great conversational piece. Collector groups are numerous with one group having over 2,500 members worldwide. Because of recent interest, the number of collectors is expected to grow substantially. There are numerous conventions and get-togethers, with almost every state having one or two a year. Most conventions include a hickory golf tournament.
Provenance and Certificate of Authenticity describing each club’s particular history, maker and circa is provided with every club purchased. A brief history of golf and instructions for care are also included.
- An investment in golf's history
- As a wonderful gift for those who are hard to buy for, i.e. bosses, customers, colleagues, etc.
- As displays in golf shops, board rooms, and restaurants
- As unique trophies
- As decorations
- As displayed, for example in old canvas golf bags or in shadow-box style racks
Antique Hickory Shaft Wood
Antique Hickory Shaft
Antique Hickory Shaft Putter
Antique Mesh Ball