The golf business largely (mostly?) is on hold, but it is business as usual for one entity, and it does not require hand sanitiser or social distancing, and might even have something for the bargain hunters, though “bargain” is relative.
Jeff Ellis Golf Auctions is nearing the end of its spring auction in the United States, all conducted online, and topping its list is what it calls “The Oldest Known Club To Use Tubular Steel In Its Shaft,” a Tom Morris Play Club from 1883.
“It’s about as historic as it comes in terms of the evolution of the game of golf,” Ellis said via his Arizona home. “This evolutionary change from hickory wood to steel was a gigantic step in the history of the game of golf.”
Ellis noted that club was introduced 41 years before the USGA legalised steel shafts in 1924. “This is the first,” Ellis said. “For my money, this is really quite a club.”
The starting bid was $US5,000 and 16 days into the auction still has only a single bidder, at $5,000.
Sixty-nine clubs are available, most of the antique variety, including one, a Hugh Philip putter, from 1835. Also available are two gold-plated Ping putters (a B-60 and a Pal 6, shown above), same as those famously presented to tour players to commemorate victories using Ping putters. These, however, are not engraved, and according to the website were presented to a national retailer for “the work with Ping.” They, too, have received only a single bid, for $US250.
“If you’re ever looking to get a good deal, you can see there are start prices and the actual prices are great,” Ellis said. “Nothing has gone crazy. It’s all very accessible.”