In 1856, when Robert Forgan first began
making his own clubs, he
stamped the top of each head "R. Forgan" in large block letters. In 1863, after
he was appointed clubmaker to H.R.H the Prince of Wales, Forgan began
to stamp each of his clubs with the Prince of Wales plume directly below
his name. The example here has the large letter stamp and the POW plume.
These two elements together identify this club as made between 1863 and
approximately 1870, when Forgan left his large name behind for a
smaller "R. Forgan stamp. The vast bulk of the Forgan long nose clubs
made have the smaller stamp.
Early large-letter/POW Forgan clubs are hard to come by and
This 43 3/4 inch long spoon looks much like a Hugh Philp club. The head is long and graceful, reminiscent of those made
by Philp, and the face measures only 1 inch in depth. The similarities
between Philp's work and Forgan's work are not surprising. In 1852
Forgan went to work for Philp and had the opportunity to learn from the
master clubmaker. After Philp died in 1856, Forgan took over Philp's
business and made clubs under his own name.
This long spoon has a nicely hooked, lofted face. It has its original thin shaft with its original sheepskin grip. The finish is original, the face is clean, the horn and lead are original. The neck whipping is period if not original. Because the club was used, however, briefly, it suffered a crack in the back of the neck and has a hairline that extend onto the sole and to top of the head. These imperfections are certainly there, but it is not the end of the world. They are only noticeable if you shine a light directly on them, otherwise they fade into the background of a marvelous club hand-crafted by its maker over 150 years ago.
There are so many things that are right about this club—it is old than most, original, made by one of the greatest clubmakers of the 19 century and still presents extremely well—that one can still own it and enjoy the fine workmanship of the maker as well as the "full experience" of a golf club in the 1800s. If you are looking for a "perfect" example of am 1863-1870 Large Letter Forgan long nose and money is no object, wait until you find it. Otherwise this one will work well and be much easier on the pocketbook.
on Robert Forgan and his early long nose clubs, see TCA2 Vol 1, p 70-73.
A group shot that shows many of the long nose clubs in this auction is
included with the images that accompany this lot. This Forgan long spoon is the
fourth club from the right.