Golf shafts: from hickory to steel

Published 24/08/2009 18:57:02

The great Bobby Jones, and the golfers of his time, used golf clubs that were individually fashioned from wood and iron, then continually modified through use. This was done by the expert craftsmen of the day - many of them Scottish pros and clubmakers who had passed their knowledge and skill down through several generations in a tradition that dated back to the 18th century.

In the late 1920s, with the introduction of steel shafts, the modern era of mass-production started. Now, golf clubs could be stamped out in matched sets, with numbers rather than names.

The first steel shafts were made in Britain in 1912 - following experiments dating back to the 1890s - although steel did not officially replace hickory until 1929. Before that, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews - the governing body of golf in this country - had frowned on the use of steel in club-making.

Legend has it that when the Prince of Wales (who would become Edward VIII) played with a full set of steel-shafted clubs at the Old Course at St. Andrews, the R & A was forced to either legalize steel or disqualify the Prince. The R & A chose the former, ushering in a revolution in future club design.

Steel is still the choice of many golfers, whether amateur or pro, but it is increasingly being replaced by graphite and titanium.


1.  Nice article

comment by Bill - 30/10/2009 05:15

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