A fine example of a late Brown-Vardon shallow faced mallet style putter with a sloping back in superb condition with good name stamps to the head. This club was supplied to Willie Fernie at Troon who won the Open Championship at Musselburgh in 1883. His name is stamped within an oval circle to the crown of the head. The sole is stamped Medium Lie and also the registration No. 593863. This club has been restored for play. The length is 34.25” (87cm).
The club was designed by both Harry Vardon and his friend Arthur Brown, their names are also stamped to the head. William Gibson of Kinghorn was commissioned to make the club, his famous ‘Star’ cleekmark is also stamped to the crown of the head. So this club has wonderful provenance.
The head has been cleaned and polished. The face is stamped with a diamond shaped dot punched pattern normally associated with this make of putter.
The straight shaft is tight within the ‘oval hosel’ and has been fitted with a traditional old grip in keeping with the period.
Born in Jersey, The Channel Islands in 1870, Harry Vardon was to become one of the most successful golfers ever to play the game winning the Open Chamionship 6 times, a record that still remains in place, plus the US Open in 1900.
He became a professional when he moved to Ripon, Yorkshire in 1890 to take up the position of greenkeeper. He then moved to Bury in 1893 where he stayed for two years before taking up the position of professional/clubmaker at the Scarborough Golf Club, Ganton where he stayed until 1903. It was during his time at Ganton that his rise to fame began winning the Open Championship in 1896, 98 and 99, plus the US Open in 1900.
He also started a moderate club making business at Ganton but due to his success on the course his main attention lay with playing the game.
In 1903 he made his last move when he became the professional/club maker at the South Hertfordshire Golf Club, Totteridge where he remained until his death in 1937 at the age of 66. His other three Open Championships were won in 1903, 11 and 14. He won a total of 62 tournaments including the Scottish Open in 1897 and the German Open in 1911. He also developed the ‘overlapping grip’ which became known as the Vardon Grip which is still used by 90% of golfers nowadays, however the grip was actually invented by Johnny Laidlay who was a Scottish amateur champion.
Unfortunately in later years Vardon suffered from tuberculosis which affected his game, especially his putting stroke due to nerve damage in his right hand. Many experts say that if he had not suffered this ailment then he would have certainly won more major tournaments. Because of his illness he spent more time writing books on the game and also became a course architect helping to plan numerous courses in the UK. In 1974 he was nominated to be one of the first inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Arthur Brown was a successful American timber merchant and amateur golfer who helped to design the putter for his friend Harry Vardon who at the time was searching for a putter to improve his game.
William Gibson & Company.
William Gibson was born in 1868 and began his working career as a blacksmith’s apprentice working for James Anderson in Anstruther during the late 1880’s. However in 1897 he started his own becoming a principle partner of the firm Stirling and Gibson based in Edinburgh. When Stirling passed away in 1899 he changed the company name to Wm Gibson & Co and from there on the company grew to become the largest club making business in the world with all his products easily recognizable by the famous 5 pointed Star cleek mark.
He moved the business to Kinghorn, Fife in 1903 having opened a large factory in order to cope with the expanding business. Initially he kept to only producing cleeks but by 1905 he had launched into full club making producing both irons and woods sporting the star cleek mark. One of his most popular clubs and largest sellers for a number of years was the Hugh Logan patent iron called the Genii model. This club could be customized to suit most players requirements. His other very successful iron was the Star Maxwell which had been patented by Robert Maxwell. These clubs are easily recognizable by the holes in the hosel designed for weight reduction. Most of these irons were produced using stainless steel from around 1910 onwards.
His huge success was due to him being very broad minded regarding club production and new design ideas which lead him to produce many different ranges at various price levels in order to attract sales. He died in 1921 leaving his son George to continue running the business.
Buying Hickory Clubs for Play
This club(s) has been carefully inspected and sympathetically restored to a condition suitable for playing hickory golf. However it is important to remember that the average age of a hickory club is between 80 to 100 years and even older in some cases so you are purchasing an item of golf history, i.e. a golfing antique.
The majority of hickory clubs will be fine for play when handled with care but there are a few that even after being restored can have problems. For example iron heads become loose, shafts can split and socket joints do sometimes break down under the stress of the golf swing, the impact of hitting a golf ball or another hard object such as a stone or practice mat. These are the risks that you must be prepared to accept when playing with hickory clubs and therefore we cannot be held responsible should such damage occur.
GOLF BALLS – Important Advice.
It is always advisable to use a ‘soft feel’ ball when playing hickory golf to help prevent damaging the clubs. Most modern balls have a hard outer coating that can damage the face of a wood and put unnecessary strain on the socket joint. Hard balls can also cause an iron head/hosel to become loose from the wooden shaft. Driving range balls also invariably have a hard outer coating, plus hitting off rubber practice mats can sometimes loosen iron heads. Always practice on a grass surface.
Please refer to New Mesh & Dimple Balls for Hickory Play (see main menu) to view our replica 1920’s style soft feel balls.
Keeping Your Club(s) In Good Condition:
After a round of golf, should your clubs have become wet during play please ensure that you thoroughly clean and dry the heads when arriving home. Applying a thin coat of ‘gun oil’ to the iron heads helps protect against rust forming.
It is advisable to store your hickory clubs in a cool dry place. Too much moisture or heat can affect the hickory shafts, for example the shaft can shrink within the hosel causing the head to become loose. The cooler the environment - the better.
Please refer to the Postal Prices, Payments & Returns page. Orders consisting of more than one club will significantly reduce the postal charge for the added club(s) or other items, i.e. the cost to send 6 or even 8 clubs is virtually the same as for one club so should a friend also wish to make a purchase then combine the orders and save money. Should you wish to take advantage of this saving then please contact me for a postal quote before placing your order on the website.
When the courier arrives please check the condition of the parcel before signing for the delivery. This is most important because the courier will not accept liability for damage if the parcel is signed for in good condition and then a complaint is lodged at a later date.