- The past -
The original equipment was based on wood. The heads were made of hard woods such as beech or holly with ash or hazel used for the shafts. At some point sheep skin was added to the holding end. Earliest balls were made of wood until a leather version packed with goose feathers and stitched was used to reduce club head breakage.
Irons were limited to the rut iron, an implement for hacking out of cart tracks, until the much harder gutty ball came along and made it necessary to change the make-up of a set. The wooden heads shrunk in length to resist cracking and the new convex faces gave rise to the name Bulger.
In the meantime the most used wood for shafts had become hickory imported from America. Hickory was ideal in weight, resistant to breakage and easy to work with. Only with the advent of steel shafts in the mid nineteen twenties was hickory replaced as the main shaft material after a worldwide shortage of trees.
- The manufacturing years -
Like all other fields once America joined the golf revolution a business attitude took over. The long and slow labour intensive processes were replaced by machines. Large companies such as Wilson, Macgregor and Hillerich and Bradsby replaced the smaller family owned workshops of Scotland. Forging processes, copy lathes and cutting machines replaced all the hand work.
The companies handled the boom years easily and churned out sets according to demand. By the twenties the clubmaker on the golf course had all but disappeared and been replaced with the pro-shop,a premise for the selling of all equipment and mostly run by the golf professional attached to the club.
The final development happened when the air space industry created light materials which were perfect for making golf clubs. Along with the new ball improvements a huge jump was made in creating equipment that allowed golfers with lesser strength such as ladies and juniors to play to a much higher level.