John Mayne - First Golf-Club Maker?

24 November 2017

William Mayne's grandfather was a bow-maker who supplied clubs to King James IV. Was he a golf-club maker?

William Mayne is known as the first golf-club maker in 1603, although the title may really belong to George Gibson in 1588, for the reasons discussed in The Bower Burgesses. None-the-less, William Mayne was definitely a golf-club maker who supplied King James VI/I.

However, there is an earlier candidate for first golf-club maker. This is John Mayne, who was William's grandfather and who was supplying King James IV with clubs and spears, a century before William Mayne supplied golf clubs to King James VI.

On 22nd December 1506, there is a entry in the Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland which reads: -

Treasurers Accounts 1506 Edited

Accounts of Lord High Treasurer of Scotland 1506

Item, to Johne Mayne, bowar, for xiiij speirs and tua clubbes quhilk zeid to Strivelin, ilk pece ijs.; ilk club xij d.; summa s.

Item to John Mayne, bow-maker, for 14 spears and two clubs of which sent to Stirling, one piece 2 shillings; one club 12 pennies; total 30 shillings.

As with the reference in the Treasurer's Accounts in 1502 to the purchase of clubs from Perth, the word golf is not mentioned. It is therefore by no means certain that this was a 'golf' club. The King often bought clubs for hawking or was sometimes sent them as gifts.

The first definite mention of golf clubs still remains the one in 1504, when James IV was at Falkland Palace and probably played at St Andrews.

However, John Mayne was certainly a supplier to King James IV. His son was George Mayne, who was  also bowar, and his grandson was William Mayne, who was not only a bowar, but also a golf-club supplier to James VI at the end of the 16th century. Even if this 1506 entry is not a club, John Mayne is a candidate as a golf-club maker supplying James IV.

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