What was in Francis Ouimet's golf bag ?


First in should be noted that in 1913 the club numbering system had yet to be developed so clubs had names instead of numbers, and what was important is what the physical specifications were as opposed to any branding. All competitors clubs were hickory shafted as steel shafts were not allowed in USGA sanctioned events until 1924. Also noteworthy is that a driver is still a driver and a putter still a putter. 

What surprised me when I first saw the list was that Francis played with only 10 clubs. At the time there was no limit on the number of clubs one could use and I have wondered how this selection compared with others playing in the Open. 

Now realize at the time the sand wedge had not yet made its debut, but it is interesting to note the Francis's most lofted club was his Mashie-Niblick. Reports show that Francis made more than one very good bunker shot during the tournament, look at this list of clubs again and think about that.

Club Length Weight Modern Day "Equivalent"*
Driver 45 inches 13-1/2 ozs Driver
Brassie 46 inches 15 ozs 2-Wood
Spoon not available not available 3-Wood or 3-Metal
Cleek 39 inches 14-3/4 ozs Driving Iron
Mid-iron 37-1/2 inches 14-1/4 ozs  
Light-iron 37-1/2 inches 14-1/4 ozs  
Approaching Cleek (Jigger) 38-1/4 inches 14-1/4 ozs 2-Iron
Mashie 36-3/4 inches 14-1/2 ozs 5-Iron
Mashie-Niblick 36 inches 15 ozs 7-Iron
Putter 35 inches 15-1/2 ozs Putter
Francis club listing from American Golfer April 1914 *Most cases there is no real modern equivalent, what is listed is as close as golf historians have been able to come.

Shortly after his victory, Ouimet gifted these clubs to Eddie Lowery, the 10-year-old caddie who had carried his bag during the four regulation rounds of the Championship, as well as the playoff. Lowery held on to the clubs for several years, but concerns about their security prompted him to sell them to a good friend. January 2007, the USGA was fortunate to acquire these clubs from a Connecticut couple who had obtained the clubs from Lowery's friend and subsequently cared for them for some 25 years.

The four irons acquired by the museum include Ouimet's mid iron, mashie, mashie niblick, and jigger (the equivalents of the modern 2-iron, 5-iron, 7-iron, and utility/chipping club). Picture also is Ouimet's score card and golf ball, a Spalding.

To learn more about early golf clubs, continue your search here.........

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