This is a gorgeous club! Made by George Forrester of Elie, Scotland, this circa 1875 Forrester short spoon was made during Forrester's early
years. At 5 5/8" in length, the head is nicely elongated. Its face
depth is only 1". This shallow depth is usually found on those clubs made
during the feather ball era. The width of the head is 2 1/16". The horn has pulled away from the head a little as shown in the first picture. The horn and pegs are in nice original condition.
The finish is all original, as is
the shaft, neck whipping, and grip, thought the grip is worn. The original whipping on the base of the sheepskin grip is still
in place. Top to bottom, this is a great club.
Short spoons are usually quite attractive to begin with, as they typically have a very broad head, which this club does, and a well-lofted and curved face, which this club also has. The shallow face on this Forrester club and its sleek lines, however, sets it off even more.
According to an article in the Dec 9, 1896 issue of The Golfer,
George Forrester (1847-1930) began making clubs for his own use during
the mid 1860s while working as an apprentice in the Scottish masonry
business. After finishing his apprenticeship, he left for America to
work as a stone-cutter. Once he arrived he wanted to golf, but at that
time the game was utterly unknown in North America and there was no
place to play. He eventually left the US and returned to Scotland.
In 1871, Forrester began to trade as a clubmaker for the public even
though he was primarily self taught—which is a rarity. Many people
predicted that his first year in the business would be his last. "Even
in trade processes he was occasionally at fault. The mere matter of
staining the heads was still a jealously guarded trade secret, and the
same may be said of much else (ibid)."
George Forrester proved to be skilled craftsman who knew what he
wanted. He endured and, over time, clubs made by Forrester of Elie came
to be highly regarded. His business grew and he worked as a clubmaker
well into the 20th century.
Forrester was also more than a clubmaker. He served many terms as an
Elie Town Councilor, beginning at least by 1881, and he even served as
the Provost (mayor) of Elie for three years, beginning in 1899.
By 1900, Forrester had grown to be a major player in the world of
clubmaking. This beautiful club was made when he was a young struggling
artist. Truly, Forrester's story is one
of "the little engine that could."
This club is fourth from the left in the group image that accompanies this lot. For more on Forrester, see TCA2 v2 p569.