Lot # 48: Willie Dunn Jr's Indestructible Driver

Starting Bid: $500.00

Bids: 1 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Fall 2020",
which ran from 11/4/2020 12:00 PM to
11/21/2020 8:00 PM

Produced by 1899 in America by Willie Dunn Jr, his Indestructible driver is an early attempt to provide a driver with the durability of metal and the feel of wood.  To this end, the head is composed of an aluminum frame that holds a block of wood, visible only on the face and crown. Five screws extend through the aluminum sole to secure the wood block, which is stamped "Willie Dunn's, Pat Appd For, Indestructible." 

In his advertising, Dunn noted that his club had four additional advantages. The short cleek socket provided the desired spring close to the head. Second, there was no horn or lead that could work loose. Third, elasticity was gained by removing the lead and leaving 2 1/2 inches of solid wood behind the striking face. Fourth, the grain of the wood ran directly with the blow.  

This is a nice example of this rarely seen club. The slender shaft and sheepskin grip are original.  The block of wood in the head is solid. The stamp is all there.  There is a short crack in the shaft down near the hosel, as shown in one of the accompanying images, but this crack appears solid and does not open at all when gently twisting/torquing the head with one hand while holding the shaft firm with the other.  For more information on Dunn's Indestructible driver, see The Clubmaker's Art 2nd Edition, v1 p355.

The son of famed mid-19th century club and ball maker Willie Dunn Sr., Willie Jr. was one of the most influential golf personalities in America during the early 20th century. He was prominent as a player, businessman, club designer, course architect, and golf instructor among other things. A good portion of his career is covered in TCA2 v1 p309-311.

In 1896, Dunn established his club and ball making operation as well as a "golf gymnasium" in New York City.  Inside a room in what is now the old Madison Square Gardens in New York City he gave golf lessons.  1898, Dunn, after laying out a golf course in Dayton, Ohio, was hired to a supervisory position by a young clubmaking company—The Dayton Last Works.  The Dayton Last Works had changed its name to Crawford, McGregor & Canby by 1900, when he was released from the company.  

Prior to coming to America, Dunn was also involved in British golf in the 1880s and 1890s both as a player, a clubmaker, and as a course manager/green keeper.  He went on to split time in America and the UK during the 20th century, returning to the UK for good in 1940.



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