The Evolution of the Golf Club
The golf club, now a sophisticated piece of metal, has a much cruder past than one might think. While machines and years of engineering have made them into a solid and expensive tool, its ancient counterparts had much less technology on their side. For example, metal clubs, which are the majority’s choice for swinging in today’s times, are now lightweight and come in a variety of options. Even just a few decades ago, however, wooden clubs were regularly chosen by laymen and professionals alike, lowering club face size and accuracy.
But what about the first golf clubs? With the help of Mother Nature and an imagination, these clubs were whittled, textured, and fashioned into comfortable clubs. Anyone who wanted to play the game could create their own set, and there was no standard as to what they were to look like. Early golf players (1500s) made round clubs, flat-faced clubs (similar to modern-day irons), and even versions that would look more like a hockey stick. The handles, though, seemed to fare much more universal-ness. Long, smooth grips were needed for comfort and execution – created by removing knots or knobs and tying the club face and handle together.
Later, during the 1600s, golfers began using iron clubs, as they were more powerful and accurate. However, after the invention of the feathery golf ball – made by sewing fine feathers inside a leather ball – many golfers stuck to wooden clubs, as they provided less damage to these expensive balls.
Centuries later, professional club makers began creating and selling their products – in a number of materials, including multiple types of metals and woods. At first only wealthy individuals could afford such a luxury, but over time the process would become cheaper to reproduce and more widespread.
Golf clubs have long since been a source of betterment and expansion. And while we may never return to a time of lobbing wooden balls with larger wooden clubs, knowing the history behind one’s sport is one of the best ways to completely understand its roots.
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Written by Bethaney Wallace