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Artefact: Golf Club - Driver
Accession #: 99.17.01
Year: 1920s


The origins of golf can be traced back to late medieval Scotland. The game rose in popularity throughout the 16th century and the first golf association, The Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, was formed in 1744. Early golf clubs were made entirely of wood with a flat faced design. There was some experimentation with iron clubs throughout the 19th century but these designs proved too heavy and would damage the leather golf balls of the time. In 1908 manufacturers discovered that a grooved surface on the club face would cause more backspin to be placed on the ball. By 1930 steel shafts began to emerge, and in 1939 the standard numbering system for clubs developed. The first graphite shaft was introduced in the 1970’s and club technology has been increasing ever since, with wood clubs becoming all but obsolete.

The 2019 Open Championship will be played this July at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, marking the 148th time the tournament has been held.