Lot # 8: Unknown Maker 45" Play Club

Starting Bid: $750.00

Bids: 4 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Fall 2021",
which ran from 11/4/2021 11:00 AM to
11/21/2021 1:35 AM

This unmarked 45-inch play club has a 6-inch head length with a 1-inch face depth and 7-inch splice. The clubhead itself is pretty much unused—and it is gorgeous.  The black finish may or may not be original. The lead and horn are definitely original. The visible ends of the three wood pegs in the sole have swollen up above the level of the horn, as old dowels often do.

The auctioneer believes the shaft is the original shaft, but with an extension under the grip. Turning the shaft with one hand while holding the shaft under the grip reveals an asymmetrical hand split shaft, but the shaft butt is rounded unlike anything made in the 19th century.  The grip is made from a well-tanned strip of leather significantly different from the sheepskin typically used in the 1800s, but it fits the look of the club quite well. It is beautifully laid down and tightly wrapped around the shaft.  Plus the grip is exceedingly long, measuring 13 3/4" (typical long nose grips are somewhere around 11 -12 inches in length, give or take), and it is also much thicker than normal. If the shaft was extended under the grip, this would explain the replacement grip, its extra long length, and the rounded shaft butt.

The sole is stamped "103." Overall, the club is major-league heavy but the head has elegant lines and is supremely attractive.

This clubhead is old, possibly dating to the 1850s or before.  The shallow 1" face of this club matches up to that time frame. The neck's width and depth is a little more beefy than typical 1840s fare, but could be necessitated by the extreme length of the head and the neck.  The long neck splice (which is accomplished to perfection) was a one-off, something that was tried for the sake of experimentation or an owner's wishes to ensure that the neck would be strong (the shorter the splice, the weaker the joint). 

The 103 stamped on the sole is an ID number placed on the club before it was put on display, years ago, as part of the White Horse Whiskey collection. They are easily identifiable by the large numbers stamped on the sole. There were ultimately upwards of 150 clubs in this collection, assembled beginning in 1959, and they were all stamped with inventory numbers on their respective soles. This collection was built to promote White Horse Scotch Whiskey, which is blended in Edinburgh, Scotland. After the collection was assembled, each club was set in a White Horse Whiskey display case that held just 1 club and 1 ball. The displays were given to liquor stores to promote White Horse Scotch Whiskey in America. After a period of time passed, the displays were taken down and the clubs were pretty much scattered to the four winds. A White Horse Whiskey golf ad with antique clubs on display is shown in the images that accompany this lot.  Most likely, this club had the end of its shaft lengthen/restored when it was acquired for display by the White Horse Whiskey company.

Everything about this unique and beautifully crafted club is done to extremes—it is exceedingly heavy, the head is about as long as they come, the splice joint is extraordinarily long, and the grip is exceedingly long and thick.  Given the extreme nature of so many things on this club, it would take an exceptionally large, strong individual to use this club effectively.

In the accompanying images are three images that show this club next to the Philp long spoon offered in this auction as lot #1.  One of the images shows the sole of this club next to the sole of the Philp.  Given the matching nature of the file marks on the soles, along with the shallow face depths and graceful lines of both heads, this club was quite possibly made when Philp was alive.  (Note that Philp clubs typically have a 1" face depth but the one shown is 29/32" which is exceptionally shallow.)

A very interesting club with many great characteristics.

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