Having a thick hosel that measures a full 5 1/4 inches in length,
this iron was forged by Robert Wilson—a man with a major
connection to St. Andrews. Just as Hugh Philp was the first to set up
shop and make wooden clubs in St. Andrews, Robert Wilson was the first
St. Andrews cleekmaker. In a March 9, 1906, Golf Illustrated
article, Willie Aucterlonie, the 1893 Open champion, states that Robert
Wilson "was the first man to make iron club-heads here in St. Andrews,
and these heads of his make are valuable yet, both for playing with and
The 5 1/4 -inch length of the hosel, its healthy saw-tooth nicking,
and the slightly dished face help date this club to circa 1875. The
head is not quite as small as those found on circa 1850 and earlier
track irons, but it is eminently more "golfer friendly" and less likely
to shank given a full swing.
While the auctioneer terms this club a track iron, one can begin to see the coming of the mashie in this club. The blade is just a little more elongated and a little less round. Robert Forgan wrote of "The Mashy" in 1881, noting it was invented in "recent years" but was entirely unnecessary in the golfers set!
The back of the head bears a strong "Robert Wilson, Maker, St.
Andrews" stamp. The shaft and grip are original. A wonderful example of
an early iron made by the first St. Andrews cleekmaker.