The History Of Forgan Golf Clubs
Forgan of St. Andrews has been making golf clubs in Scotland since 1860. That makes Forgan golf clubs the oldest in the world. The history of Forgan is a very interesting one, and it has been closely tied with the history of golf. Keep reading to find out about all the important moments in the history of the oldest golf club manufacturer in the world.
The company was founded in the very beginnings of golf. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews is the oldest golf club in the world. Those golfers in St. Andrews, Scotland had the first golf course and were the first golfers in the world. Starting in 1819, they had their clubs handcrafted by a local carpenter, Hugh Philip.
Philip constructed his clubs from the finest local woods, including ash, pear, apple and thorn. These clubs are the envy of golf collectors everywhere today, as the shapes that Philip created are still the basic shapes that are used for clubs today. His craftsmanship was unparalleled in the history of golf club makers.
Philip passed on all of his secrets to his nephew and protege, Robert Forgan. Upon the passing of Philip in 1856, Forgan took over his uncle's company. Forgan undertook a great change in the business right away.
The major change that Forgan made was to begin importing hickory from France to use in the construction of the shafts of the Forgan golf clubs. This hickory was seasoned for twelve months and then shaped by hand into the legendary clubs Forgan soon became famous for.
Forgan's new seasoned hickory clubs became so popular that Forgan needed to take on an assistant, Jaime Anderson, to keep up with demand. Anderson later went on to win the British Open three times.
In 1864 the Prince of Wales obtained a set of Forgan clubs. He was so pleased with them that by 1902 the Forgan Company had received the insignia of "Golf Club Makers to His Majesty King Edward" which was proudly displayed above the entrance to Forgan's facility.
Within a few decades the company had expanded to a new work center that employed more than 40 workers. Forgan died in 1900, and he passed the company on to three of his five sons.
While golf still stayed a small game mainly played on the British Isles, the company stayed robust. However, with the vast expansion of golf after World War II, Forgan was in trouble. They tried to replicate their success using mass production methods to compete with clubs mass produced in the US. This was a mistake, as the wonder of their clubs had always been in the hand-produced methods, and eventually the company was sold to Spalding.
Although production continued for some time, Spalding did most of its manufacturing in Belfast and the historic Forgan facility was phased out in 1963. The historic facility became home to St. Andrews Woolen Mill for a time, and then in 1988 the building was purchased by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and converted to their offices getting back to its golfing roots.
Forgan Golf was reborn in 2008 with the launch of an online custom fitting system, the first of its kind from an established golf club manufacturer. Today Forgan Golf is located in Palm Desert, California in its new 14,000 sq. ft. headquarters. With over 130 golf courses in the area it is a great location for such a historic company.
Now golfers from anywhere in the world are able to have clubs built to their exact specification using the highest quality clubs while the traditional standards of Robert Forgan are maintained. He would be truly proud.