Due to their smooth surface, the
earliest gutty balls had difficulties flying. Golfers figured out that a
cut-up ball flew better than a smooth ball, so ballmakers began to mark
up the surface of the gutta percha balls they produced.
In the December 27, 1907 issue of Golf Illustrated, Robert
Forgan is credited with being the individual who (by some point in the 1860s)
was the first to form a regular pattern on hand-hammered balls, "and the
same pattern has now continued ever since (13)."
This c. 1860s ball offered here bears Forgan's hammering pattern. It remains in good condition, the hammering pattern still distinct and present throughout the entire ball. Furthermore, the ball bears just a few minor strike marks. Overall, this ball is an amazing game-used piece of history!
This hand hammered gutty ball is the second ball in the first row of the golf ball group shot in the accompanying images. This group shot includes many other golf balls lots in this auction and demonstrates the remarkable evolutionary story of the golf ball, from feather ball to hand-hammered gutty, lathe line-cut red gutty, molded gutty, the Haskell and early rubber core balls.