Mashies, Niblicks, and More

A bashing spoon, mashie, and niblick are all obsolete versions of which type of sporting equipment?

And the answer: golf clubs.

Photo credit: Sarah Fabian-Baddiel/Heritage Images/Getty Images

A baffing spoon was equivalent to a 7 Wood, and was often made by the players themselves. A mashie was equivalent to today's 5 Iron, while a niblick was similar to a 9 Iron.  

Golf was originally conceived in Scotland during the High Medieval period – which might explain some of the, well, unconventional names. From its conception until into the 20th century, golf clubs were not referred to by number but rather by name. As such, one might run the gauntlet of "niblick" or "cleek" variations instead of your simple 5 or 9 Irons.

The transition to modern sets came in the late 1930s. Early golf clubs were made of wood, and often crafted by the player themself. However, seeking uniformity and improved design, golf sets were issued new, standardized names and were created with new materials. Ditching their old, wooden form, new clubs were cast in steel and graphite.

Along with the standardization of golf equipment came the standardization of the game. In 1939, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews issued new rules of carrying clubs – for example, while 20-30 clubs used to be commonly carried by golfers onto the green, that number was dropped and set at 14. While such regulations largely remained stagnant during the decades following World War II, golf is a sport that continues to be reimagined and improved into the modern day.

To learn more about the history of golf, check out the video below.


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