Specializing in Fine Antique Golf Clubs and Historic Memorabilia

Lot # 33: Novakclub Adjustable Iron From The 1930s Fred X, Fry Collection

Starting Bid: $500.00

Bids: 2 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Summer Golf Auction 2019",
which ran from 7/3/2019 12:00 PM to
7/20/2019 8:00 PM

It was a Catholic priest—Father Alphonso Gavin— who designed the most refined adjustable iron produced in the wood shaft era.  The mechanism in Gavin's club is located in the hosel and adds little extra weight.  The blade has a normal profile and provides a playable head not matter which loft is selected. 

The clubhead has three basic sections: the hosel, the blade, and the mechanism.  The mechanism consists of two pieces: a base piece that extends down out of the hosel and attaches to the heel of the blade; and a lock pin, the bottom of which is serrated, that runs down through the center of the base piece and interlocks with the top of the blade.  The base piece is marked "P-1-2-3-4-5" to indicate the loft selections.  Holding the blade in one hand and turning the shaft/hosel clockwise with the other hand loosens the lock pin inside the mechanism and unlocks the blade so it can be adjusted.  Rotating the shaft a few revolution in the opposite direction tightens the blade to the hosel.

Gavin filed for a US patent to cover his adjustable iron in February of 1926.  Joseph Novak, a professional golfer in California and State Open champ at the time, tried the club early on and liked it so much that he connected himself with Gavin's venture. The parties involved decided to use Novak's name for the club. Novak was soon involved with additional adjustable iron patents.

The shaft of this club is stamped "Fred X Fry" with Fry's personal stamp.  Fry was a golf professional in Pacific Grove, California, and the preeminent golf club collector in the western US during the 1930s, when he did the bulk of his collecting.  Fry and his collection were photographed and documented in a number of magazines during his life. 

The auctioneer has included the images of the first page from three different national golf magazine articles that covered Fred X. Fry.  Fry was one of the first American golf collectors, and certainly the most prominent judging the press he received back in the 1930s -1950s.  While Fry collected mostly putters. He picked up a few other items as this iron testifies.

Novakclub—TCA 2, V2: p 457-458

Fred X Fry—TCA2 V1. p231


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