What a great club! It is the only long nose duplex club known. Who has even imagined such a club? Except for its grip, which has long since left the shaft, this putter is completely original. It even appears as if nobody has ever really wiped it down or cleaned it in who knows how long, maybe since day 1? Purists will love this to pieces.
During the 1870's and 1880s, a few clubmakers began to think outside the box. In 1876, Thomas Johnston introduced long nose woods made out of Vulcanite. In 1879 W.G.Roy introduced the first water iron— the "President" or "ring mashie" which had a large hole (just smaller that a golf ball) that extended through the center of the clubhead. In 1885, James Davidson patented a golf grip that used inlaid material. In 1889 Walter Cook patented what is best described as a fiber clubhead and Willie Park Jr. patented his curved face lofter. A few other novel clubs were produced during the 1880s but with no patents issued.
The auctioneer believes the unique club offered here was produced at the end of the long nose era, when a few clubmakers began to produce creative club designs. This club has the same proportions as a long nose club, the same neck, horn, etc. The 5 1/2" head length of this club, its horn, pegs, and even its black finish are the same as on many a long nose. But there is more to help date this club.
Centrally located on the top of the head is small brownish ring, inside of which is an even smaller black ring, inside of which is a solid brown circle. This design is quite similar to a design atop a club found on page 585 in volume 2 of The Clubmaker's Art. The putter presented there was dated to the 1890s and is not a long nose, but it does, however, have a forward face much the same as this putter and a neck and that matches up well with this putter. To the auctioneer, there is no question that the same maker made both clubs.
Given the fact that so many characteristics on this duplex club match those found on a long nose club, and a club made by the same maker dates to the 1890s, the chances are high that this club was crafted at the end of the long nose era.
Because the club is a duplex long nose putter, the weight could not be located at the back of the head, so instead the lead was neatly poured into a long and wide cavity in the bottom of the sole. Note how it is rounded at each end of the cavity just like it is in the back of a long nose club. There is a small innocuous crack that runs out from the end of the lead to the end of the toe, where it ends. This was likely formed when the hot lead was poured into the head. The faces match, are parallel to each other, and are tight and untouched.
In a few of the accompanying images, the auctioneer has included the Jamie Anderson long nose putter in order to show the similarities between the two clubs. The Anderson putter is not part of this lot but is expected to be offered in the JEGA Fall 2021 auction.
This duplex putter has great presence. It will be a standout piece in any collection, and its the only one known.
Once again, What a Great Club!! Its the club on the far left of the group shot.