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The idea that golf clubs have always been sold in the same form factor and with the same naming conventions is a broken one. Historically, there was an entire era early in the game when there was no such thing as a driver or a 4-iron. One might argue that the 4-iron (as well as its more skinny brothers the 3-iron, 2-iron and 1-iron) should die a miserable death thanks to more modern clubs like the “rescue club” which is easier to hit, goes higher in the air and lands more softly on the green in today’s golf game.

Here are some names for historical or antique clubs from the past.

Play Club – This is what we would call a driver in today’s game. The play club was used off the tee for maximum distance.

Brassie – This club got its name for the actual use of brass on the bottom of the club which unlike a Play Club made it easier to hit “off the deck” in the old game.

Putting CleekCleek – These clubs have more texture or grooves on the bottom and would match up well with today’s rescue club or more of a 5-wood.

Spoon – These clubs got their unique name in the 1700s from having a curved face. They would match up today best with 5-woods or even a 7-wood.

Mid Iron – This all metal (no wood) club was like a 2-iron

Mid Mashie – This club was a hard-to-hit version of what today we would consider a 3-iron. Also all metal.

Spade Mashie – This metal club was more of a mid-iron in the 5-iron to 6-iron range.

Mashie NiblickMashie Niblick – A more popular and more hittable club would be in the neighborhood of a 7-iron in a modern 14-club bag.

Pitching Niblick – This is more of an 8 or 9-iron and not to be confused with a more standard Niblick.

Niblick – Is what we would consider a wedge in today’s game. Because of its ease of use and high loft, these clubs were very popular with golfers at the time.

JiggerJigger – This club is more of a chipping iron that one might replace with either and 8-iron or some sort of putting motion with a rescue club.

Putting Cleek – This is what you putted with in the olden days of golf and comes with a lot more loft than today’s putters which is very useful if you are playing “stimies” on the greens which makes it so that you can actually block your competitor’s shot. Slick players could hit down on their putting cleek and get the ball to pop up in the air and fly right over the other ball and hopefully into the hole.

There are events at places like Los Angeles Country Club where today’s players use vintage clubs and balls to compete in the modern era. Different classifications of players play against each other’s. Getting access to vintage golf balls like a Balata is viewed favorably. For those who really go to the Nth degree, they procure truly vintage balls like a gutta percha. These antique balls are quite fragile and ultra-rare but take the art of antique golf to the highest levels of the sport today.