The Dick Estey Golf Collection

Ted Westling and Dick Estey
Stone Creek's golf pro, Ted Westling had told me about Dick Estey and his golf collection and said that some day he would arrange a tour. Last week Gordon Tolbert and I got the tour of a life time and I would like to share some of Dicks collection with all of you that follow my blog.

Golf has been a passion for me for so many years and if you know me it is not because of my playing ability. It is the venue in which it is played and the seamless tie in which is has with the environment. For me, understanding this becomes more evident as I learn more of the history of the game and those that played a role in the early development. Being privileged to view such a rare and complete collection of historical artifacts collected by Mr. Estey will always be a memory in which I will cherish for years to come.

We started our tour sitting down and discussing the history of the game and where it all began. Right away I learned that the game did not begin in Scotland like we have all been let to believe. Yes, golf has certainly established its earliest roots there but the game of golf was invented by the Dutch. It was the Scots that brought the game to their country and refined it to where it is today.  The Dutch clubs were nothing like what we have seen from the past, they looked more like a hockey stick and the ball they hit was more like the size of a softball.

I really don't know were to start in talking about Mr. Estey's collection so I would like to highlight some of the most meaningful items that I saw. The rest will be shown in photos at the end of this post. As a golf course superintendent the one person that stands out in our history would be Old Tommy Morris. I had to ask Mr. Estey if he had anything that belonged to him and low and behold what he showed me gave me goosebumps. First, there is a painting of Old Tommy Morris that we have all grown to identify him with. It is on post cards and has been printed on many things over the years. When Mr. Estey explained that to me and asked me to turn around he showed me the original painting hanging right in front of me.

Then to top that off he showed me the ball press and one of Old Tom's actual balls that he made himself as well as a club that was used by Young Tom Morris in the 1870 Open.

Mr. Estey didn't have a lot of player memorabilia but he did have a few medals from some major players at some of the major golf events. The one players memorabilia that he did possess was Ken Venturi. Mr. Estey and Ken Venturi are the closest of friends. They spend much of their time together in the winter months in the Desert.

A lot of the collection was of original artwork. Many of you will find some of these pieces familiar. It added so much to the collection and tied it all to the history of the game. Below are some of the original pieces the were displayed.

Toward the end of our tour Mr. Estey sat behind his desk and proceeded to tell us the history of one of the oldest and most sought after publications in early golf history. The title of the publication is called the Glotta Poem. Personally I had never heard of it but believe me I will never forget now. After learning the history of the document and to then have it displayed right in front of me is an experience I will not soon forget.

Throughout the tour one of the things Mr. Estey liked to do was test our knowledge of golf and ask us if we could identify the artifact and what it was used for. I managed to get the leather hoof protectors for the horse drawn mower correct but that was about it. I would like to do the same for you readers out there and see if you can identify the artifacts. Here are a few of the items he tested us on. The boxes in the upper photo and the ivory looking letter opener in the bottom photo. I don't have a complete photo of the wooden spool object but if you know, go ahead and guess on that as well.  Please feel free to post your answers in the comment section below.

I would like to end this post with a number of photos showing the remainder of the Estey collection. Many of the photos have tags which explain the item and some are self explanatory. I hope you will get a sense of the magnitude of this collection. I would like to thank Mr. Estey for allowing us to view the collection as well as photograph it. This short post cannot do justice to the entire collection.

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