Made by Walter Day, this circa 1875 wooden niblick is a great example of a rarely seen club devised to tackle trouble. It has a short, compact head with a brass plate on the sole.
In 1917, Horace Hutchinson described wooden niblicks as follows: "I can remember that about this day [early 1870s] I became the proud owner of a club then coming into vogue under the name of the wood niblick. Its head, made of wood, was very short, like that of an iron niblick, for the purpose of fitting into ruts. It was the original of the "brassey," for the idea of a rut suggested the idea of a road... and the purpose of the brass on the club's sole was to protect it from the stones, etc., of the road when used for play off such unfriendly surface.
Occasionally transitional woods from the 1880s or brassies
from the early1890s are incorrectly referred to as "wooden niblicks." The true wooden niblick came from an earlier period. The misidentified
clubs usually have somewhat elongated heads, certainly longer than those
made in the 1900s. True wooden niblicks, however, have more defining
traits than just an intermediate size and a brass soleplate. They are
also crafted in the same style as a long nose. The face is curved, and
the head is shaped like a full-size long nose head, only shorter. Just like this club.
Walter Day, born in 1837, worked as a clubmaker in Edinburgh and Musselburgh during the gutty ball era. He was also a professional golfer of some ability and played in the occasional professional competition. His clubs are well made, but few remain. This circa 1875 Walter Day 42-inch-long wooden niblick is the actual club pictured and discussed in TCA2 V1 p 91. Everything is original except the sheepskin grip, which is no longer
on the club. Some of the old underlisting remains. The club could be
easily regripped. Given that so few collections have a wooden niblick, a replacement grip would not be a big deal.