While close to the 9 iron it is also, logically, similar to our modern day pitching wedge.
The Historical Dictionary of Golfing Terms tells us the origin of the term is Scottish and likely a diminutive of nib = ‘nose’. Original niblicks were much shorter in the nose than other wooden clubs, hence ‘short-nose’ or ‘niblick’.
According to a newspaper clipping from 1858 the niblick was most useful when the ball was in a cart-rut, horseshoe print or a round deep hollow. It seems golf was a little more difficult back in 1858!
Apparently in 1858, while Musselburgh golfers used the term niblick, St. Andrews golfers called their version of the club a track-iron, likely a reference to cart tracks.
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