What Was a Spade, or Spade Mashie, in Golf?

"Spade mashie," which was often shortened to just "spade," was a golf club from the early 20th century, before golf irons carried numbers (such as 6-iron). In its use and its relation to other irons in a golfer's bag, the spade mashie was essentially a 6-iron.

When numbered sets (3-iron, 4-iron, etc.) became the norm in the 1930s, some of the old names were still used by golfers for many years to come. And the 6-iron was what those golfers called the spade, or spade mashie.

To be clear, "spade" and "spade mashie" refer to the same golf club. One name is just a shortened version of the full name.

The spade mashie (it was often hyphenated in its spelling: spade-mashie) had a deep-faced iron clubhead on the end of a hickory shaft. Note that because loft angles have been strengthened over time, the actual loft that a spade mashie had back in the early 1900s would be closer to today's 7-irons, or even 8-irons. The spade lofts of the early 1900s were typically somewhere in the mid- to upper 30s.

In a golfer's bag, the spade mashie followed the mashie (which had less loft so produced more distance) and preceded the mashie niblick (more loft, less distance than a spade).

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