The Old and the Beautiful

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On September 27-28, Sotheby's auctioned off some 800 antique clubs from collector Jeffrey B. Ellis. Here are some of the choicest offerings, along with our advice on how the winners can find other ways to get more bang for their buck. Square-toe light iron Behold what may be the world's oldest club. Made circa 1600 and boasting a unique square toe, it was designed for use from sandy or stony lies. Alternate uses: Garden hoe for mansion lawn maze; Moses' staff for grade-school production of The Ten Commandments.
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Long-nose putter Dating to 1750, the ash-shafted club features a broad, rounded head, and may have been used by the Duke of York. Alternate use: Muddling an Old Fashioned.
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Currie metalwood The first patented metalwood (1891), Currie's design features a hollow brass head filled with a mixture of gutta percha, the natural latex that had earlier revolutionized the golf ball. This is the only example known to exist. Alternate use: Personalized stamp (just add ink).
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Spring-face metalwood This state-of-the-art (for 1896) Edward Slate creation features an aluminum head and a wooden-block face that springs forward at impact. Alternate use: The world's least effective walnut cracker.
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Left-Handed long-nosed short spoon Records from the late 19th century compare the novelty (and oddity) of a left-handed golfer to that of a "bearded lady" or "dog-faced man". The lack of left-handed golfers makes this Old Tom Morris product even more unusual, special and valuable. Alternate use: Right-handed juicer.
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Square toe heavy iron Sometimes referred to as a "second generation" (circa 1700) iron, this club is made of wrought iron, and its smooth lines and squared toe were clearly sculpted by a master blacksmith. Alternate use: 41-inch-long backscratcher.
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The Whistler Iron This one-piece iron designed by Robert Cowdery in the 1920's never took off-it was too heavy and it made a unique whistling sound as it came down at the ball. But Cowdery and his successors considered it a step towards success converting their American Fork and Hoe company into the True Temper Corporation. Alternative use: Super-classy crowbar Related Galleries Evolution of equipment Failed equipment innovations