Brown's rake/water irons are among the most popular collectible
clubs. They have a dramatic presence, and look more prehistoric than
functional. Brown received a 1903 British patent and a 1905 US patent
to cover his irons, designed to play out of sand, grass, or water. Yes,
water. Some gutta percha balls would float, and the rules for casual
water during the early days of the game were not what they are now.
There are a few accounts of people playing balls floating in a bunker or
even a shallow pond. One account published in 1906 describes a person
who waded into water "knee deep" and then used a water iron to make "a
clean shot to the fair green." TCA2 Vol 1, p 263.
Brown's "The Major" water iron was produced by James Winton of
Montrose. This head is very attractive, and the
filigree on the prongs that make up the face is strong. The
34" shaft is an old replacement and the thin sueded leather grip appears old. The back of this head is stamped "Brown's Patent The Major." Given the short nature of this wonderful club and the thinner than normal grip, the auctioneer suspects it was reshafted years ago for use by a lady golfer.
This club is middle right in the group image that accompanies this lot.