The Evolution of the Golf Club

Golf club history timeline.

Oh how the evolution of the golf club has progressed over the years, from niblicks and mashies to cavity backs and great big bertha’s, from long-nosed putters to broom-handle putters, Below is an insight to how the Golf club has changed from early beginnings to modern day game-improvement golf clubs.

Antique Driver
Antique Driver

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Modern Driver
Modern Driver
Brassie
Brassie

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2-Wood
spoon
Spoon

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3wood
3-Wood
wooden-cleek
Baffie

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4-Wood
4-Wood
driving-iron-cleek
Cleek

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1-iron
1-Iron
mid-iron
Mid Iron

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2-Iron
mid-mashie
Mid Mashie

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3-Iron
jigger
Jigger

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4-iron
4-Iron
mashie
Mashie

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6-iron
5-Iron
spade-mashie
Spade

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5-iron
6-Iron
mashie-niblick
Mashie Niblick

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7-Iron
Lofting iron
Lofting Iron

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8-iron
8-Iron
niblick
Niblick

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9-iron
9-Iron
pitching-niblick
Pitching Niblick

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pitch-wedge
Pitch Wedge
An Early Sand Wedge
Early Sand-Wedge

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Sand Wedge
55 degree Wedge
long-nosed-putter
Long Nosed Putter

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Putter
In years gone by there were irons… just irons commonly referred to as “blades”.   These blades were forged from thin blocks of carbon steel that were hammered into shape by hand or machine, then plated with chrome. If the ball did not come off the clubface squarely the player would get a vibration through the club and into his hands that was then normally followed by a bad shot.  But irons have evolved, and the choices now are getting more and more advantageous to the player.
Golf Blades v’s Cavity Back  Design

The Original blades were made very thin and were also very hard to hit accurately, only very good players could get the ball out of the centre of the club every time, but as time evolved clubmakers realised that the head could be shaped to put more metal low and behind the hitting area making shot-making a lot easier. The blades that were made in this way became known as “muscle backs,” and were an instant success. The downside though made these blades quite expensive, because of the time and work that had to go into forging and shaping the Blades.

Cavity-Back Design

Golf manufacturers were now trying to find cheaper ways to produce irons, and also ways to make them easier to hit. One of the biggest Golf Club manufacturers “Ping” successfully made irons using a casting process—where molten metal could be formed in a mould—they had found an economical and new method of shaping irons. Cavity backs took the muscle back a step further, allowing the weight to be moved to the base of the iron or to the edges of the head with the same simplicity.

Cavity-Back Advantages

With the improvement of the design, this allowed manufacturers to create an iron that did not need a perfect hit to make an acceptable shot. These “improvement clubs” as they became known, were created by moving more weight to the periphery of the iron head, this meant that bad shots were actually hit straighter (well not so far offline), and also did not lose so much distance in comparison to the old blades. The other downside to blades in the hands of a not so useful golfer was getting the ball in the air, so to compensate this, the manufacturers moved more weight to the sole of the club, this then made it easier to get the ball off the ground. This also meant an average player could use less loft and, thus, hit the ball farther.

Blade Advantages

Although probably not used as much nowadays Blades do have advantages for the top professionals in as much that a  well-hit blade shot would provide more feedback to them with a feel of how well they would be hitting the ball through their hands. Blades would also allow the top players to shape shots better than cavity-back designs, which became more popular in part because the ball naturally went straighter. The Blade became known as  “The player’s club,” because the top professionals preferred the extra control and feedback. The other defining factor between Blade and Cavity Backed was that the blade was more aesthetic in looks, sleeker more graceful in design, but as times roll on the difference is becoming less and less. Forged Blades are now made with a shallow cavity to give a player more accuracy, whereas cavity backed are being produced to provide more feel and shape producing shots.

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