This circa 1880 Charlie Hunter play club remains much the same as Hunter made it. The 44 1/2" original shaft still retains its sheepskin grip. The head is all original in all respects—from its finish to its components. The head itself measures 5 1/2" in length, 1 15/16" in width, and 1 1/8" in face depth. There are, what appears to be, a few light scratches to the top of the head just behind the face and minor checking to the topline of the face. Also a small amount of relatively insignificant grain separation on the face.
If a person stares at a blemish on a golf club long enough, that is all they see no matter how insignificant or sever it might be. When viewed in context with the rest of a club, however, light wear and evidence of age (which are different from abuse) is to be expected and adds a very real element of personality and authenticity to a great antique golf club. While this all original club has its minor blemishes, it is still an outstanding club—there is still a great deal that is right about it. After all, wood-shafted golf clubs were used to play the game one hundred or more years ago.
Charlie Hunter, the "Grand Old Man of the West," was revered and respected during his day. As young man, Hunter had learned to make clubs while working as an apprentice for Tom Morris at Prestwick. He then served as
the professional at Prestwick for over 50 years. He worked there from
Sept of 1864—when he took over after Tom Morris left Prestwick for St
Andrews—to the middle of 1865, and then again from 1868 until his death
in 1921. Much like his mentor Old Tom, Hunter enjoyed the deep affection of those who knew him.
This club is third from the left in the group image that accompanies this lot. For more on Charlie Hunter see TCA2 v1 p86