The following information was kindly supplied by the Golf
Museum in St. Andrews
Hickory was first imported in the 1820's in the UK, originally intended for pit props and axe handles.
One of the earliest known club makers was Simon Cossar, who produced clubs in the second half of the 18th century.
The R&A (Royal and Ancient) Rules of Golf Committee, formed in 1897, did not legislate on club design until 1909
Between 1909 and 1910 any clubs which featured mechanical contrivances or center shafts were banned by the Rules of Golf Committee
In 1926 the United states Golf Association accepted the use of steel shafts and in 1929 the R&A followed suit
In order to ease the introduction of the steel shaft to a conservative golfing public, the earliest steel shafts were coated to resemble hickory. Steel shafts allowed the weaker players to hit the ball further and the clubs were more reliable. As a result the mauufacturers began to produce matched sets of clubs.
In 1938 the USGA decided to limit the number of clubs which could be carried to fourteen. In 1939 the R&A did the same. By the outbreak of World War II with the exception of putters, hickory shafts had been largely superseded by steel.
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