This shapely c. 1875 putter was made by James Anderson. Anderson was
once the best golfer in the world, winning the British Open 3 times in
succession, in 1877, 1878, and 1879. He was also a talented clubmaker
as can be seen in this shapely example of his work. Notice how the
lines of the face, the crown, the toe, the neck, and the entire
perimeter of the head are all graceful and balanced.
This club has been used but remains solid and attractive in its
original finish with its original horn and lead. The 37 1/2" shaft is
stamped "Forgan and Son, St. Andrews" and has an old sheepskin grip.
This is likely a reshaft that occurred when the club was in use. The
head measures 5 3/8" long, 1 15/16" wide, and 1" in face depth. Such a
shallow face depth is a nice feature more often found on featherball
clubs made prior to the early 1850s.
In addition to being an outstanding golfer, Anderson was a skilled
club and ball maker. He was the first apprentice/assistant Robert
Forgan employed after taking over Hugh Philp's business in 1856. When
Tom Morris moved from Prestwick to St. Andrews in 1864, Anderson had
also learned to make golf balls working with his father, Old Daw.
Anderson was working for Tom Morris when the Royal Perth Golfing
Society offered him the professional job in 1865. Royal Perth, however,
did not hire him at that time because Anderson's price was too high.
Nevertheless, Anderson struck out on his own and established a
clubmaking business in St. Andrews. Two-time Open champ Bob Martin went
to work for Anderson at some point in the late 1860s/early 1870s.
Martin, born in 1852, served his full clubmaking apprenticeship under
Anderson. Leaving St. Andrews for a brief period, Jamie took a job
working for Ardeer Golf Club in Ayrshire in 1882 before he wound up
working briefly at Royal Perth in 1883. By 1890, Anderson was back
working for Robert Forgan. By 1898, he was working for R.B. Wilson.
Towards the end of his life, Anderson's health became an issue and he
died in a poor house in 1905.
For more on Anderson, see TCA2 V1 p82-83. (The auctioneer confesses
his own deep appreciation for the fact that the man who made this club
also scored an eagle and a
hole-in-one across the
last 4 holes of the British Open over 140 years ago, to win by two, plus
he won the Open three times in succession. Amazing! I hope you enjoy viewing the
c.1877 picture of Anderson included in the images that accompany this lot.)
This putter is second from the left in the group shot.