Made by George Strath, this is a truly rare putter in beautiful original condition. The original sheepskin grip still has its original whipping top and bottom. The shaft, neck whipping, horn, lead, and finish are all original. The head itself is quite stylish, with graceful lines. It is also a wonderfully early Strath club, most likely made when working at his first professional position in Glasgow in the mid 1870s. The head measures 5 3/8" in length, 1 3/4" in width, and only 15/16" in face depth.
George Strath was part if a well-respected St. Andrews golfing family. He and two of his three brothers learned the game and worked as clubmakers. In 1878 George finished 14th in the British Open. Strath first worked as a professional/greenskeeper at the Glasgow Golf Club. He was there by 1875 and quickly gained a fine reputation. A member of the Glasgow Club sent in a letter that was published in the local paper that speaks of George Strath as follows:
"I may here state that the club has always had a professional, and I am proud to say that I have only to mention the name of our present one (George Strath) to show that in his appointment the club had been looking to their own interests, and had taken a step in the right direction, when they went to the fountain-head of golf (st. Andrews) and selected one of her hardy sons. He is always to be found at the club-house, ever ready to accompany any gentleman who may wish a round of the green, or to give a lesson to any novice who may wish to be initiated into the game."
Strath left Glasgow to become the first professional at Troon, working there from 1881 to 1888. He then worked at Stinchcombe and North Manchester.
In 1895 he immigrated to the US. When he died in 1919, he was the oldest professional in America. His obituary published in The Evening Telegraph and Post on Feb 14, 1919, touched briefly on his family and his history:
"George Strath, the eldest professional golfer in the United States, who died at Brooklyn, New York, was born in St. Andrews in 1843, and was one of four brothers, three of whom became well known as exponents of the Royal and ancient game. So closely associated with the golfing life of Scotland were these three brothers that a famous hazard at St. Andrews is called the Strath bunker, after Andrew.
George's first appointment was as professional to the Glasgow Golf club. He went to Troon and then to England, and 24 years ago crossed to America. He laid out a number of golf courses in America, and had been professional at crescent Links, Brooklyn, for 17 years."
Clubs by any of the Strath brothers--George, Andrew, or David--are highly desirable and seldom seen.
For more on George Strath, see TCA2 V1 p98.