Offered here is a rare long nose spoon made by James Wilson. This rare club is attributed to being owned by Tom Kidd, and possibly even used by Tom Kidd to win the 1873 Open Championship. While the provenance is certainly not ironclad, accompanying this club are letters tying this club to former professional golfer Alistair Kidd, who brought his relative's nearly 100 year old club to New Zealand with him when he was hired by Otago Golf Club in 1964. With this club comes a 2001 letter which states that the club "was supposed to have been used at the 1873 British Open, when he won the title." Another letter from a different person with knowledge of the club refers to Tom Kidd's descendent Alistair Kidd and states "He told us it had been used in the British Open." A third letter comes from Roger Gilchrist, author of Gilchrist's Guide to Golf Collectibles about how he obtained it in New Zealand.
The club itself is an incredibly rare James Wilson long nose spoon. Wilson was the longtime apprentice of famed clubmaker Hugh Philp, and his clubs famously show the grace and charm of his mentor's work. According to The Clubmaker's Art by Jeff Ellis, "clubs bearing Wilson's name are few and far between, but the known examples demonstrate that Wilson was a craftsman of the first order."
Though even sold as simply a "J Wilson" long nose spoon, this rare club is surely worth thousands of dollars, its connection to Tom Kidd is undoubtedly intriguing. The provenance of being a personal club of Tom Kidd is not perfect, but entirely believable, and would represent perhaps the only used Tom Kidd club known to exist. The proof of Kidd's use of this club during his 1873 Open Championship win is far less concrete, though it does appear that Kidd's heir carried this club with him during his move to New Zealand over 90 years later. It's all the information we have right now, but it's certainly worth thinking about and considering.
This piece is being offered today from the famed Ronnie Watts Collection