Back in the day, when I was a serious collector of vintage golf clubs, I ran into some funny fellows with some amazing stories.
But none as amazing as this one.
While in Europe, on a hunt for said clubs, on my way to find a collectors store in the valley, I happened by an old carriage house that seemed deserted.
It was a lovely day, so I stopped to take a picture of this little house that was framed by large Magnolia trees. While I was focusing my camera, I could see a sparkling object coming from within.
Intrigued, I went up to the little house and knocked.
After some faintly-heard shuffling about, a little man came to the door. He spoke some jibberish...but to this day, I believe the fact that he saw my flask hanging out my front pocket, allowed me to see the greatest display of vintage clubs every-imagined.
He proceded to show me various collections of odd-looking clubs....no doubt the shiny-objects I saw from afar. With each collection, he had written tags on the clubs.....he was in the process of labeling tags when I had knocked.
On a few of these tags that he was labeling, he had written some things that caught my eye......ear, nasal, vaginal, anal.....
My mind was now racing...."is this man a serial killer?....surely the golf clubs are a front to some psychopathic's picnic....was I dinner?" I felt the room spinning in all directions. I took a deep breath and confronted my fears. "What are these labels for?" I asked, quivering.
He let out a gurgled laugh, and said one word: "speculum".
Dazed, I sat down in a cob-web-laden chair as I listened to his history-changing story.
"I caddied for me grandfather, who played with hand-me-down clubs from his grandfather that, as the story goes, were made by a famous doctor living around these parts at the time." Intrigued, I asked him to continue.
"Well, back then, golf was new and clubs were scarce, so the good doctor hand-made his clubs from various instruments of his trade. These instruments were a collection of specula."
That would answer the question of the labels, I thought to myself as I reached to have a look at these clubs.
I noticed all were tools that were attached to wooden shafts by a crude form of twine. "Be careful with that one!" He said, "that is an anal speculum......VERY delicate, but you should see it get the ball out when you're between a rock and a hard-place." My sphincter tightened. "Look at this one...the oldest club I've ever found." he said to me gleefully...."it's a club made from a vaginal speculum.....what we now call the Texas wedge. It is a wonderful club to use when you need to get the ball in the hole."
I let him drain the last remnants from my flask, and asked him if he'd sell one or two of these clubs, as it looked as if he had a large variety of specula. "No sir, I cannot let a one go." he proudly said to me. "You see, I am the gatemaster to these clubs. They define the essence of the game. I have been entrusted to keep the collection intact."
I was very sad to hear that, but I understood. As I left, I thanked the little man for his time, and headed off to accomplish the rest of my journey.
Back in the states, I was still reveling in my luck to have seen the greatest collection of golf clubs.
As I looked at my own clubs, I could clearly see how the evolution of the golf club began. I could not wait to tell my story to others the next time I pulled out my Texas wedge.
Thanks for reading, keep it in the short-grass.