Lot # 26: Tom Morris c. 1870 Play Club

Starting Bid: $600.00

Bids: 8 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Fall 2023",
which ran from 11/2/2023 12:00 PM to
11/18/2023 8:00 PM

This c. 1870 Tom Morris play club has a wonderfully long, shallow, and graceful head shape. Head length is 5 3/4", face depth is 1 1/16", and width is 2".  The hickory shaft and sheepskin grip are original.  The finish has been lightly reworked. The face, horn, and lead are original.  The "T. Morris" stamp on the top of the head is faint in places, but enough of the stamp remains to make a positive ID.  The club is also stamped "H.L," which are the initials of a former owner. There is also an old paper label on the shaft that identifies a later owner.

To the world he lived in, Tom Morris was more than a gifted clubmaker, a talented player, and a respected professional—he epitomized the game.  In print he was accorded such affectionate titles as “The High Priest of the Hierarchy of Golf,” “The Father of Golf,” “The Nestor of Golf,” and The Grand Old Man of Golf.” Yet, through all the accolades and fame, he remained a kind, honest, and simple man.  To those with whom he worked, golfed, and lived, he was simply “Old Tom.”

Because of his personal character, Tom Morris changed the public perception of a professional golfer from that of a rogue without a real occupation to someone worthy of society’s respect.  He did this while working in the world of golf during the feather ball era, through the gutty ball era, and into the rubber core era.  When Tom Morris died in 1908 at 87 years of age, the entire town of St. Andrews shut down on the day of his funeral. 

The June 5, 1908 issue of Golf Illustrated reported on Tom’s passing and concluded an absolutely wonderful article with these words.  “His achievements in the golfing world were great, and will be handed down from time to time, but the great moral of his life was that, no matter in what sphere, it is character that achieves the greatest victories.  Old Tom was great as a golfer, but greater still as a man.“

For more on Tom Morris, see TCA2 volume 1 pages 62-65 & volume 2 pages 564-565.

Club is fifth from the left in the accompanying group photo



Views: 535