This unmarked 45-inch play club has a 6-inch head length with a 1-inch face depth and 7-inch splice. The clubhead itself is pretty much unused in its original condition—and it is gorgeous. The black finish is original. The lead and horn are, too. The visible ends of the three wood pegs in the sole have swollen up above the level of the horn, as old dowels often do.
The auctioneer believes the shaft is a reshaft. At the end of the grip, the shaft butt is rounded unlike any other. The grip is made from a well-tanned strip of leather significantly different from the sheepskin typically used in the 1800s, but it fits the look of the club quite well. It is beautifully laid down and tightly wrapped around the shaft. Plus the grip is exceedingly long, measuring 13 3/4" (typical long nose grips are somewhere around 11 -12 inches in length, give or take), and it is also much thicker than normal.
The sole is stamped "103" and is the companion to the "104" stamp on the sole of the Tom Morris play clubs offered in the previous lot. Overall, the club is major-league heavy, but the clubhead itself has elegant lines and is supremely attractive.
This clubhead is old, dating somewhere around 1860. The neck's width and depth match up to that period much more than they do to the slender necks of the 1840s. The long neck splice (which is accomplished to perfection) was a one-off, something that was tried for the sake of experimentation or an owner's wishes to ensure that the neck would be strong (the shorter the splice, the weaker the joint). The 103 stamped on the sole is an ID number placed on the club before it was put on display, years ago, in the same display as the Tom Morris Play club stamped 104 and offered in the prior lot. It was obviously a desirable piece that has some history to it.
According to a knowledgeable long-time collector, this club and the long nose offered as
lot 34 were once part of the White Horse Whiskey
collection. They are easily identifiable by the large numbers stamped on the
sole. There were ultimately upwards of 150 clubs in this collection,
assembled beginning in 1959, and they were all stamped with inventory
numbers on their respective soles. This collection was built to promote
White Horse Scotch Whiskey, which is blended in Edinburgh, Scotland. After the collection was assembled, each club was set in a White Horse
Whiskey display case that held just 1 club and 1 ball. The displays were
given to liquor stores to promote White Horse Scotch Whiskey in
America. After a period of time passed, the displays were taken down and
the clubs were pretty much scattered to the four winds.
Everything about this unique and beautifully crafted club is done to extremes—it is exceedingly heavy, the head is about as long as they come, the splice joint is extraordinarily long, and the grip is exceedingly long and thick. Given the extreme nature of so many things on this club, it would take an exceptionally large, strong individual to use this club effectively.
Another interesting fact about these two clubs, #103 & #104, is they were consigned by two unrelated owners who collected primarily in the mid 1990s. Neither owner knew of the existence of the other "companion" club.
In the accompanying images are pictures of the sole of this club next to the sole of the Morris club offered in the prior lot. The images show the matching nature of the stamps in the sole and the oversize nature of this clubhead.
This club is the center club in the group image, which shows the amazing size of this club among other things.