here is arguably the most
important (and valuable) set of 20th century golf clubs: the infamous
Tom Stewart “Personal” Model "FO\RTJ" irons.
The full story of these controversial irons is described in great detail in the famous golf club book The Clubmaker’s Art by Jeff Ellis:
1929 Bobby Jones’s personal set of clubs was stolen from the trunk of
his car, but returned to him shortly afterwards. Following this
experience and using his personal specifications, Jones ordered a
“backup” set of irons from [Tom] Stewart [in St. Andrews]. Jones, the
consummate amateur, authorized Stewart to produce only a single set of
irons. However, Stewart, the opportunistic businessman, did not stop
production after fulfilling Jones’s request. Clearly aware that Jones
was at the top of the golf world, Stewart began to reproduce the clubs
he made for Jones. These clubs were marked with Jones’s initials “RTJ”
in block letters on the toe or with "FO\RTJ in script on the toe. The initials "FO" identify another famous amateur: Francis Ouimet… These personal models were made in 1930,
and possibly briefly in 1931.” (Page 143, The Clubmaker’s Art (2nd Ed. 2007) by Jefferey B. Ellis)
goes on to quote a 1970 letter from Bobby Jones himself where Jones
responds to someone asking about one of these controversial “RTJ” Tom
Stewart irons. Here is Bobby Jones’s response: “I doubt very much that
the club you mention was ever in my bag. I had Tom Stewart forge some
heads under my supervision and he took advantage of the situation by
offering clubs for sale with RTJ stamped on them.”
legend has it, Tom Stewart made a very small number of these irons and
would only send a handful to accounts who were paid in full and placed a
healthy order of his other clubs. In his book, golf club historian Jeff
Ellis then opines that this theory makes sense since only a “few
remaining sets” are known.
today is one of the few remaining "FO\RTJ" sets. The "RTJ" set is rare enough, and sets can sell for $10,000 and up. But, according to Tom Stewart expert and author Phil Gibbs, the "FO\RTJ" set is considerably rarer. This exceptional set consists
of eight (8) irons - 1 iron through 8 iron.
These infamous Tom Stewart Francis Ouimet-Bobby Jones “FO\RTJ” golf clubs are in exceptional condition.