Due to their smooth surface, the earliest gutty balls, produced in 1845 and a few years thereafter, 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 one who (at 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)."
Made by Alex Patrick, this circa 1870 hand-hammered gutta percha ball is cut to the Forgan pattern. Stamped "A. Patrick 27 1/2," this ball is in gem-mint condition, nary a scratch or
blemish and a beautiful luster to the original paint. Talk about
otherworldly.... To this ball the auctioneer simply says, "Wow!" And the amazing part about that is the auctioneer says the same thing to many of the balls in this auction. WOW!
Born in 1847, Alex Patrick grew up in Leven, Scotland where he was not only a talented
amateur golfer but also an apprentice in his family's clubmaking
business. Upon his father's death in 1866, Alex took over the business
and built a reputation as a fine club and ball maker. The Patrick family was the second-oldest Scottish family firm in the clubmaking business, behind the McEwans.
This ball is at the back right corner of the group shot in the accompanying images.