Made by Walter "Wattie" MacDonald, this club is a fascinating study in the craftsmanship of a highly skilled 19th century clubmaker. Once upon a round of golf, the head incurred a bit of damage high on the face. but rather than cut out the entire mid section of the face an install a leather insert, which was the typical repair material, the clubmaker located a piece of wood that matched up extremely well in color and grain with the original wood and simply cut out the area high on the face and inlaid—to perfection—a new piece of wood. The three nails in the face are the real give-aways of the repair. Otherwise, things blend amazingly well, especially when the golfer adresses the ball and looks down at the clubhead. Plus the club itself is brilliant.
The slender neck, slender shaft, the 5" splice, and elegant shape of the
head speak to a club made in the featherball era. Alas, MacDonald
was not born until 1836 and did not take his first post as a professional until 1867, when he went to work at Perth. But he proved to be an exceptional clubmaker as this club well demonstrates.
MacDonald's name is stamped on the head but most of the letters are too faint to read. The initial "W and the ending "D" are the strongest letters, but enough enough of the letters remain to make a clear ID of the maker.
Slender 44" shaft appears original with an unusual leather wrap grip that might or might not be original. The neck whipping is old and is missing from the top and bottom of the neck splice.
The head measures 5 3/4" in length, 1" in face depth, and 2" in width. It has the complete sleek look and elegance of a featherball club. Most likely a customer asked MacDonald to make a copy of an old favorite and MacDonald executed the job to perfection, even saving the club and making it "good as new" once it had incurred a damaged face. This play club is another exceptionally rare work of art.
This club is fourth from the left in the accompanying group image.