Golf Planner Trivia
- Numbering Golf Clubs
- Did you know that it wasn't until the 1930's when manufacturers
began building matched sets of clubs that this practice became popular.
Prior to this, clubs were sold individually and mostly with
wooden shafts (usually hickory). With the advent of
steel shafts, creation of the matched set was possible
and the beginning of manufacturers numbering the individual
clubs amoung the set.
- An Old Game
- The Romans played a game called paganica
that was reputed to have been played with a bent stick and a ball
which may have been made of wood or animal skin stuffed with
some kind of material. They played "through" as they expanded
their empire into western Europe.
Scotland has the earliest written evidence of the existence of golf
due to the fact that King James II in 1457 proclaimed that the game
be banned. The Kings reason was that Golf was taking up valuable
time that should have been spent practicing archery, swordsmanship, and
other defensive skills.
Many historians believe that the coastal areas of eastern Scotland
contained the first courses. These courses, continuously eroded by
tide and wind were structured by mother nature.
With the removal of offending pieces of scrub and weed,
and 'holing out' areas were formed. The 'holing out' areas were
formed with a hole in the center cut out with a knife and marked
with a large white sea-bird's feather. Later the feather was pushed
into a piece of stick in the hole.
- The Best of the First Laws for Golf (circa 1897)
- Rule 2
- You must tee the ball on the ground.
- Rule 4
- You are not to move stones, bones or any breakclub for the
sake of playing your ball upon the fair green, and that only within
a club's length of your ball.
- Rule 7
- At holing you are to play the ball honestly for the hole,
and not to play on your adversary's ball, not lying on your way to the
- Rule 10
- If a ball be stopped by any person, horse, dog, or
anything else the ball so stopped must be played where it lies.
- Rule 13
- Neither trench, ditch nor dyke made for the preservation
of the links, nor the scholars' holes or the soldier's lines,
shall be accounted a hazard, but the ball is to be taken out, teed
and played with any iron club.
Earliest Golf in the USA
- Scottish regiments who took part in the War of Independence
had with them, or had fashioned, a few clubs to
"knock a ball about& in periods of relaxation. The sport
lay dormant until the mid 1850's when the sport was resurrected in
Savannah and Philadelphia with the introduction of the
Cricket Clubs (18th hole golf course)
Early Golf Clubs
- Designed with a long supple shaft and a head with a straight
face, was ment for striking the ball long distances. Later known
as 1 wood.
- A slightly shorter and stiffer shaft and bevelled back face,
assisted the ball into the air but allowd less run. Later known
as 2 wood.
- Similar but shorter, stiffer and with geater loft of face.
Later known as 3 wood.
- A small round-headed club with generous loft, was loved for moving
the ball from semi-rough, divot marks and rabbit scrapes or for
playing shorter holes which required little movement from the ball
when it landed. Later known as a 4 wood.
Early Golf Balls
- Feather Ball
- By 1630 the golf ball had been perfected to a leather pouch
filled almost exclusively with a top hat full of down feathers
from duck or geese. The feathers were boiled to soften and shrink
them prior to insertion into the leather skin that had been soaked
in alum and water. The feathers were then stuffed into the leather
ball. After drying out, the leather cover contracted while the
feathers expanded, leaving a solid sphere with faint seams.
The making of a Feather Ball was a tedious task and so
time consuming that a days work yielded only 4 or 5 balls. The
ball when new and hard enabled long hitters to hit the
featheries as far as 350 yards.
The featheries suffered
from two important problems. If the ball became wet, the ball became
very heavy and distance was greatly reduced. Second, one topped
shot with the blade of an iron and the seams of the ball would give,
resulting in a premature moult.
- Gutta Ball
- A ball of solid gutta-percha - a milky substance derived from the latex
of Maylayan and Indian rubber tree was fashioned in 1845 by Rev
Dr. Patterson. Although, Dr. Patterson applied for the first
patent for making the gutta ball, there are still many historians who
claim that the balls were being made prior to Dr. Patterson claim.
New balls were somewhat unstable after manufactor and its erratic
flight through air caused problems for many. Later it become
apparent to its users that its very smooth surface was the culprit
for the problems and allowing the ball to season through use corrected
many of the flight problems. It then became custom to correct this
problem by marking the surface of the ball with a hammer and chisel.
These "hand-hammered" balls resulted in vastly greater
performance then the smooth version. Further improvement resulted
from this method when it was discovered that underspin rotation
kept the ball aloft much better when it was indented or grooved.
The gutta ball suffered from fragmentation which explains this
early rule: "if a ball splits into separate pieces,
another ball may be laid down where the largest portion lies".
- Rubber Core Ball
- During the turn of the century, Coburn Haskell with the aid
of the Goodrich Tire & Rubber Company created the rubber core ball
constructed by winding many yards of strip rubber around a marble-size
central core. This elastic-made ball was then covered with a skin of
gutta percha. Eventually the material covering the balls were
changed with the gutta percha being replaced by balata,
the sap from a tropical tree which yieled a tough non-elastic gum.
The one fault this new ball brought was its effect on the golf
courses. Holes had to be lengthened, or tees put back, and numerous
hazards, principally bunkers, were advanced to catch the shots which
strayed from the straight and narrow.
Irons, Mashies and Cleeks
- The early makers of iron clubs were called Cleek makers.
These craftsmen whose tools included tongs, heavy and light hammer,
forge, and anvil; put two flat pieces of malleable iron togeather by
shaping and fusing. The face was then filed and a tapered socket was
created ready to accept a straight-grained wooden shaft. The club
was then fitted with it wooden shaft complete with animal skin
grip padded up to a thickness as specified by the player. The
demand for the cleek club increased with the arrival of the
gutty ball in 1948. Each club contained a logo or
"cleek mark" stamped on the back of the blade of
After the cleeks came the irons and mashies. An assortment of
clubs with distinctive names including the driving iron, mid-iron,
push iron, loft iron, mashie iron, pitching iron, mashie niblick,
niblick and rut niblick. The niblicks were designed with oval or
near-round heads. The mashie family was made up by a
driving mashie(1), mashie iron (2/3), mashie cleek (3), standard (5),
long-face mashies (4/5), deep and spade mashies (5/6),
mashie niblick (7), water mashie (7), niblick, and putter.