For All Hickory Play
The following names and numbers apply to wooden shafted golf clubs, both pre-1900 and post-1900:
Modern Equivalent Club
Lie, Loft and Length
|1||Wood||Driver (or Play Club)||Driver|
|1||Iron||Driving iron or Cleek||3-iron|
|4||Iron||Mashie Iron **||6-iron|
|6||Iron||Spade Mashie ***||8-iron|
|8||Iron||Pitching Niblick||Pitching Wedge|
|S||Iron||Sand Iron||Sand Wedge|
Wood shafts were generally made from hickory wood. In addition, bamboo was also used.
* A wood of similar loft but with a “stubby” face was known as a “Bulldog.”
** There was also a club with a similar loft but smaller clubhead known as a “Jigger.” This was often used for run-up shots and chipping. Some variations had longer shafts and were therefore used for longer shots, often where a low trajectory was desired. A variation on the Jigger was the “Sammy” which had rounded edges.
*** According to Louisville Golf, Ben Sayers did not like the shape of the Mashie Niblick , so he asked Tom Stewart to make him a club that looked like a mashie but had the loft of the mashie niblick. This club became know as the Benny and ended up as a club of 38 degrees to replace the Spade Mashie and fill the gap between the mashie and the mashie niblick.
Note: For more information about the how and why of the various clubs listed above, you are directed to read H.G. Hutchinson’s 28-page mini-book, “The Early Days of Golf – Clubs and Balls” circa 1900. See our Recommended Reading list.
For Pre-1900 Hickory Play
Long-nose wooden clubs consisted of Driver/Play Club, Brassie, Long Spoon, Short Spoon and Baffing Spoon. Some of these clubs had brass plates. Pre-1900 irons are sometimes called “smoothies” since they had no scoring or marks on the club faces. These hand-forged clubs were usually heavier and thicker than their post-1900 equivalents. Most smoothie sets are short sets with only 3-4 irons, so loft gapping tends to be wider (e.g. 20, 25, 35, 45 and 55 degrees).