Wooden Clubs and Feathery Balls
The early players used elegant wooden clubs, crafted in Scotland, the heads likely made of beech wood and the shafts of hickory. These early "long-nose" wooden golf clubs were graceful, long-headed, and supple-shafted, designed to sweep a delicate feather ball a few yards down the fairway. The "feathery" ball was fragile, especially when wet, and could be hit only about 180 yards. The ball was made by stuffing a volume of chicken or goose feathers (enough to fill a top hat) into a leather covering.
Because the feather ball was fragile, difficult to make, and consequently expensive, most of the clubs used were made of wood rather than metal. The few iron-headed clubs were only used in extreme circumstances, such as playing a ball out of a cart track.