Names of Old Golf Clubs and Their Modern-Day Equivalents

As a golf enthusiast, or just a curious person in general, finding out the strange, traditional names of old golf clubs is fun because one simply cannot predict what they used to be. I have tried to compile a complete list of these historical, antique, archaic, or obsolete golf clubs – from drivers and irons all the way down to putters even!

Back then, clubs weren’t identified through numbers (for example, 5-wood). Rather they were referred to by their names, which, at this point, sounds like such a great idea. A few of those quirky names include baffie, spoon, mashie, jigger, niblick, and so many more.

Also, back then, golf clubs were all wood-shafted (hickory wood to be more specific) cause steel and graphite came much later.

It was only during the ‘30s and ‘40s that ‘modern’ clubs entered the scene of golf. And around the same time when sets began to become more standardized, hence numbers replaced names. But up until then, there was no uniformity or consistency between different golf clubs designed by the same brand.

Whatever the history, here are all the fun, unusual names of traditional golf clubs. To be honest, not one of them took me by surprise because these terms actually imply specific common characteristics.

Old Names of Old Golf Clubs

The names/golf clubs have been listed in their proper order, meaning I’m working my way through a whole set. So that’s starting from the longest club all the way down to the putter. After all, that’s how you organize your golf clubs in the golf bag too!

PLAY CLUB (LONG CLUB, GRASS CLUB) – Needless to say, this is the historical term for your modern golf driver, the longest golf club in your set indeed. ‘Play Club’ because you “play away” off the tee.

BRASSIE – The modern equivalent to 2-wood or 3-wood, brassie had that brass plate installed on the sole.

WOODEN CLEEK – Meaning, as you might be able to guess, our modern-day 4-wood.

SPOON – Back then, and I’m talking about the 1700s here, spoons (and by that, I mean actual spoons – cutlery!) were designed with a concave face. As for spoons in golf back in the days, a 5-wood featured a spoon-like concave-shaped face. And that’s how you connect the dots!

BAFFIE (BAFFING SPOON) – Either a higher-lofted fairway wood (like the 7-wood) or a hybrid. It’s actually not so uncommon even now to come across hybrid golf clubs that are labeled “baffies” or just “baffy.”

The golf clubs discussed so far were built with wooden heads. And the ones from now on have irons clubheads.

CLEEK – Now this one’s a driving iron with a blade-type head. It comes the closest to the regular 1-iron and 2-iron we use today. (How about some best driving irons to ace your tee shots?)

There’s also Putting Cleek, but we’ll eventually get to that later.

  • MID IRON – Simple, modern 2-iron.
  • MID MASHIE – Present-day 3-iron, mid mashie was and still is among the irons that have a lower loft.
  • MASHIE IRON – We use and refer to this one today as the 4-iron.
  • MASHIE – Just Mashie is your modern 5-iron in terms of its design and purpose.
  • SPADE MASHIE – Spade Mashie or 6-iron, one and the same thing!
  • MASHIE NIBLICK – The archaic term used for a 7-iron was Mashie Niblick.
  • PITCHING NIBLICK – You can compare this lofting iron to the modern 8-iron.

NIBLICK – So we’ve heard of Mashie Niblick, Mashie, and also Niblick. So what does the last historical golf club name imply? Well, it’s your 9-iron.

I have stumbled upon a few manufacturers that still use the term “Niblick” for characterizing their wedges (only for the sake of nostalgia I suppose).

JIGGER – Jigger and chipper, now there has to be some connection here. The former had a comparatively shorter shaft without too much loft. It was the most suitable for chip shots, obviously. And also for any such short-distance shots around those greens for which you didn’t need a higher-lofted golf club.

PUTTING CLEEK – Driving iron (1-iron, 2-iron) was a Cleek. As for Putting Cleek, this low-lofted, flat, narrow face club was made for putting, what else! A long blade iron shape instead of the modern design of the best golf putters right now.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

What Were Old Golf Clubs Called?

Some of the most popular and best golf club names back then include niblicks, mashies, mashie niblicks, cleeks, baffies, spoons, and jiggers. Of course, there are more, all of which I’ve discussed above. These are all antique, historical, or archaic golf clubs that are obsolete now.

What Is the Oldest Golf Club Brand?

The oldest manufacturer on the golf market is none other than St. Andrews Golf Co. – it’s the only one remaining as well, based in Scotland.

You can’t compare this particular age-old brand to the new, advanced technologies invented by top modern golf brands of today (Titleist, Callaway, TaylorMade, etc.). But St. Andrews Golf Co. has somehow managed to stick around to date since 1881.

How to Identify Old Golf Clubs?

Here are some of the most common characteristics of old golf clubs…

  • The ends of the handles have aluminum caps.
  • Clubfaces feature hyphens, lines, dots, and the like.
  • Clubheads are made of stainless, chromed, or nickel steel.
  • Words like superior, aim-rite, accurate, etc. are found at the back.
  • Even yard range stamps are present at the back.

Do Golfers Collect Old or Historical Golf Clubs?

Antique or classic golf clubs are indeed collected by many golfers, so it’s not such an unusual or uncommon hobby. Such a collection turns out to be extremely valuable and only committed, dedicated golfers can manage to do that.

It’s much the same as being a wine or antique collector. And much the same way, the value of such classic, vintage items is well appreciated over time.

Do Golf Clubs, In General, Hold Any Value?

Unfortunately, the value of golf clubs declines by almost half within only 2 years. And it depreciates even further (down to 75-percent) in another 2 years.

So if you intend on purchasing an entirely new packaged golf club set (such as top-rated, budget-friendly Callaway Strata for beginners) or maybe a separate TaylorMade putter or a ladies golf driver, then know that your run-down, old clubs will only earn you a small share of the total cost of the new ones.

Are Golf Clubs That Are 60 Years Old Worth Anything?

Think of rare wine, isn’t it much more valuable when it’s the oldest or labeled among the “classics”? Golf clubs are no different. Those that were manufactured in the ‘60s and ‘50s are now, in the 21st century, categorized as “classics.”

Some of these antique golf club sets sell for $1,000. Even a classic sand wedge is well-equipped to bring in $500 or higher all on its own.

What Can You Do With Your Old Golf Clubs?

There’s a huge market for selling and buying old or secondhand golf clubs. So that’s one way of doing away with your currently owned clubs (you might as well make some money instead of those golf clubs just collecting dust and rotting away in your basement or garage!).

You can also always trade off your old set for a brand new one. And then there’s the option of donating your old golf clubs to a business or organization.

What Are Hickory Golf Clubs? How Old Are They?

Golf clubs, before steel and graphite shafts came about, were shafted with hickory (solid wood). And this was between 1890 and 1935.

Antique Golf Clubs Are Now Almost Obsolete!

Wasn’t the comprehensive, complete list of traditional terms used for old golf clubs fun to read? Now maybe you can quiz some of your golfing buddies just to check whose knowledge about the history of golf is more solid.

But then almost all of these old names are no more in use, except for maybe “baffies” for hybrids and “niblicks” for wedges. But even these are only rarely seen.

Now, as you obviously already know, golf clubs are numbered. In fact, some of the old clubs have also become obsolete, such as the 2-wood or 1-iron. Even the 2-iron is hardly ever used or spotted in the golf bags of both recreational and Tour-grade players. And that’s because there aren’t that many brands manufacturing this particular outdated golf club.

Photo of author

Jim Furyk

One of the PGA TOUR’s most recognizable and talented golfers, Jim Furyk was born on May 12, 1970 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It seems like Furyk was born to play golf; his father Mike as an assistant pro at Edgmont Country club, and young Jim was raised into the game. Jim Furyk’s only golf instruction came from his father; and many note that might account for his unusual—yet effective—swing. In addition to Edgmont Country Club, Mike Furyk also served as head pro at Uniontown Country Club.

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