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LATE 17TH AND EARLY 18TH CENTURY GOLF CLUBS
The early game was played mainly with long slender wooden clubs and with feather-filled golf balls. The early 'long nosed' clubs were made with a hard fruitwood head, apple, holly, thorn or beech and the head was then spliced onto an ash or hazel shaft or later a hickory shaft with a 'scared join' and finished with a sheepskin grip. The scared head join was adapted from a technique used by early shipwrights to repair a mast. The early clubs were 'tailored' to suit the swing and stance of the owner. They were craftsman-made with great care and attention to detail. The heads had a horn inset to the front of the face on the sole, with lead weighting to the back and the wooden heads were lofted to give different degrees of elevation and therefore producing a different ball flight.
As in every form of production there were varying degrees of craftsmanship and design. The early clubmakers were no exception. 17th, 18th and early 19th Century iron clubs are extremely rare as the game was being played with a feather-filled golf ball and playing an iron shot badly meant the risk of exploding the golf ball which, considering the cost of a featherie, could be an expense best avoided. Early iron clubs were made by blacksmiths and then shafted with a nail through the head with the heavily knopped or toothed hozel, gripped by a club maker.