In the world of 19th century clubmakers, some are better known than others, and some are lost to history. Offered here is a longnose club made by a clubmaker unknown to the golf world today. Fortunately this example of his work tells the world that Js (Joseph?) Beck was a clubmaker in the 1860s to judge by this club.
This Beck play club has an exceptionally thin 43" shaft like those often found on clubs made toward the end of the feather ball era. The whipping in the middle of the shaft was likely part of a glue & whip repair made to the shaft. Such repairs were standard procedure to keep a club in the game. The grip has lost almost all of its sheepskin but the underlisting remains.
The head dimensions—1 1/16" face depth, 5 1/2 head length, 1 3/4" in width—plus the hooked face and shape of the head date this play club to somewhere around 1860.
There is significant discoloration and distress to the wood face towards the toe. There is also a bit of damage to the horn under the toe. The face could be repaired by installing a leather insert. No real need to replace the horn. It is mostly all there and still has all three original pegs. If a collector wanted to clean the club up a bit, that could be
done by having somebody who knew what they were doing simply remove the
top layer of discoloration on the toe. Then again, because this is possibly the only Js Beck club that remains, one cannot go wrong by leaving the club alone. It's an important and valuable piece of history exactly as is.
This club is second from the right in the accompanying group image.