Golf Buzz

March 4, 2014 - 1:13pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Why golf clubs have numbers
PGA of America Archive
Long before golf clubs had numbers, they had names.

As we all know, golf has many intricacies. One of those comes from the most important pieces of equipment you need to play the game -- your clubs.

Did you know that your clubs weren’t always numbered? Instead, they had names like the "mashie" and the "niblick." In fact, not only that, but clubs didn’t always come in the complete sets that we have come to know today.

We wondered: When and how did the transition from named clubs to numbered clubs come about?

READ: The story behind the hole used for "Tin Cup" final scene

We turned to golf historian Fred Beltz for an explanation.

"Prior to 1850, when the golf ball used was the feather ball, almost all golf clubs were wooden," explained Beltz, a member and Club Historian at Oak Hill Country Club, site of three U.S. Opens, three PGA Championships (including 2013; Beltz is the co-historian of that tournament), one Ryder Cup, a Senior PGA Championship and two U.S. Amateurs. "They were rather delicate, long-nosed and swung with a relatively flat swing; if irons were used at all it would have been as a trouble club where the situation would have damaged the early wooden 'play' clubs."

Right around 1850 and with the advent of the gutta percha ball (a "guttie"), Beltz told us, is when irons began to take on a more important role, "partly because hitting a 'guttie' was akin to hitting a rock and the wooden play clubs were too easily broken. Partly too because of Allan Robertson, a very early golf professional, who developed a highly successful short game using irons which was quickly imitated by other competitors."

PGA.COM VALUE GUIDE: Trade-in your clubs online

At this point in time, clubs were unmarked and neither named nor numbered. Instead, they were referred to more by their usage.

"A 'cleek' for fairway shots and a 'rut' iron for trouble shots," Beltz said. "As irons became more popular and the number of club makers increased, there was a need to differentiate who made the club for marketing reasons and also to differentiate the more subtle differences as the number of irons in the bag (if a bag was being used) multiplied."

At the end of the 19th century, not only were the usually recognized names for clubs (putter, to niblick, mashie niblick, spade mashie, mashie, mid-iron, spoon, brassie and driver) in use, but then all sorts of utility clubs became common -- the jigger, the sammy, the chipper, the lofting iron, the sky iron, semi-putter and many others.

Beltz told us that up until the 1920s, players accumulated their clubs as a collection of what worked for them and obtained them from various club makers. Players bought and used what worked and the club names were more of a guide than a precise statement of loft and weight, with one club maker's mashie more similar to another club maker's spade mashie and so on.

"Back in the day when you might stop at a rummage sale to find a dozen hickories in an old canvas bag there might be three, four or five club makers represented -- there was no such thing as a 'set of clubs,'" Beltz said.

In the early 1920s, Spalding began to market their Kro-Flight brand of “related” clubs where there was a defined relationship of loft, weight and shaft length from one club to the next, Beltz explained.

Quickly other club makers like MacGregor and Wilson picked up on this trend and began selling their version of related -- or "sets" -- of clubs. By 1925, the idea of “matched” sets where the flex properties of the clubs were also matched hit the market and with it the idea of buying a “set” of clubs took hold.

"It was important for club makers to express the differential between each club, as well as to express the cutting edge technology that the matched clubs offered," Beltz said. "Their solution was a numbering sequence for the irons, but not wanting to alienate the more traditional buyer both the club name and number were stamped on the club. It was even a common practice to number the putter as the '10' club. During the quarter century between 1915 and 1940 the named clubs became name/numbered and then just numbered.

"For whatever reason, this phenomenon was even slower with the woods and finding fairway woods labeled as brassie and spoon even into the middle of the 20th century was not uncommon," Beltz added. "There was a clear trend to make the clubs look alike and look like a progression from less to more loft but other than that, the trend with fairway woods was very slow."

Beltz's guess is that brass sole plate on the woods is what helped perpetuate the name. It wasn't until woods became 'metal woods' that the names began to fade away -- with the very popular exception of two particular clubs.

"The driver has always been the driver due to the machismo associated with its name and the putter (except for a short period in the mid-1920) has always been the putter -- no machismo there, Beltz said. "So your guess is as good as mine!"

Fred Beltz resides in Rochester, N.Y. and is host of the Heritage Classic, an annual hickory golf outing at Oak Hill. Beltz is also a partner in the financial services firm Beltz Ianni & Associates.

Check out some of the best irons for 2014:

 

 

 

March 4, 2014 - 10:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
adipure
adidas Golf
The new adidas Golf pure 360.

adidas Golf announced this week the launch of the company's new pure 360 footwear collection -- the next generation of adipure footwear. The collection features clean, classic silhouettes, ultra-flexible outsoles and premium materials aimed at allowing the foot and body to move in the way it was naturally meant to from the ground up.

adidas Golf footwear designers utilized its thinnest and softest leather combined with innovative construction technologies, highlighted by poured polyurethane (PU) injected directly into a revolutionary new puremotion outsole to provide ultimate cushioning and unmatched comfort.

RELATED: adidas Golf's climawarm+ outwerwear collection

Dustin Johnson, adidas Golf Tour staff professional since 2007, first played the new pure 360 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

"Walking as much as we do out on tour definitely takes its toll," said Johnson, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour. "Once I started wearing the pure 360, I immediately felt the incredible comfort and feel more refreshed at the end of my round. Not only do they look great, they're the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn."

For unrivaled stability, designers gathered critical tour player feedback and incorporated a newly designed external heel cage paired with a new tour performance last for 360WRAP support in the midfoot and heel. The outsole of the pure 360 features proprietary puremotion technology that allows the golfer's foot to move more naturally during play. The totally redesigned thintech outsole features swing plane traction and a new midfoot cleat to create even more grip and stability.

"Our tour athletes know what they need in their footwear to perform at their highest level," said Masun Denison, Director, Global Product marketing, Footwear at adidas Golf. "We've listened carefully to their feedback and combined it with new material technologies to create a premium shoe that we're confident will resonate with both tour players and amateurs alike."

Available now, pure 360 is offered in four colorways: Black/Running White/Samba Blue; Running White/Silver Metallic/Slime; Tan Brown/White/Dark Solar Blue; and Running White/Running White/Metallic Silver at an MSRP of $250.

For more information or to view the entire pure360 footwear collection, visit adidasgolf.com.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

March 3, 2014 - 11:42pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Matthew McConaughey
University of Texas golf team via Instagram
Matthew McConaughey, before he won an Oscar, won a golf trophy while a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity at the University of Texas.
Matthew McConaughey had a pretty good Sunday, as he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his starring role in "Dallas Buyers Club."
 
And on Monday, he received an invitation to play a round with the University of Texas golf team. Now, McConaughey and his family live in Austin, so you could argue that the Longhorns are a little late in issuing the invite, which you can see in the tweet embedded below.
 
McConaughey is, of course, a native Texan, born in the small town of Uvalde, and played high school golf and tennis in Longview. He also played while attending the University of Texas, where he apparently won at least one title while a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
 
He's appeared on the Golf Digest list of Hollywood's top 100 golfers, says he's made four holes-in-on, and has co-hosted a celebrity charity golf event with former Longhorns football coach Mack Brown and singer Jack Ingram. He also talked golf in one of Ann Liguori's "InnerView" segments a few years ago, which you can see below.
 
The Horns' golf program is headquartered at the University of Texas Golf Club, a pretty nice facility out in northwest Austin. So once he got wind of the invitation, we can presume that McConaughey responded by saying: "awright, awright, awright."
 
 
 
March 3, 2014 - 10:31pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
major champions at seminole
Photo: via Justin Rose on Twitter
Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Justin Rose and Adam Scott (and respective trophies & jacket) attend the Seminole Member-Pro.

Quick, what event in 2014 has had all four current major champions play? Hawaii? Nope. Torrey? Pebble? Nope. A World Golf Championship? Try again.

The answer is...Seminole. Yes, Seminole Golf Club, the pristine and very exclusive golf club in Juno Beach, Florida held its annual member-pro (where a member invites a pro (touring or club professional)) and if you get invited to play at Seminole...well, you don't turn it down. Doesn't matter who you are, you don't turn it down.
 

 

So among the pros lucky enough to be invited were the current major champions. And they even brought some hardware to boot (well, Adam Scott brought a green jacket, which let's be honest, is as cool as any golf trophy).

There aren't going to be many photos released from the event but we were lucky enough to get a few shots from Twitter.
 

 

We're not even sure who won, but with a field like this, you can bet it was a pretty incredible performance.  

 

You can follow John Kim on twitter (or invite him to your member-guest) at @johnkim

Paula Creamer's TaylorMade Ghost Daytona 12 putter
TaylorMade Golf via Twitter
Paula Creamer used a TaylorMade Ghost Daytona 12 putter trimmed in her trademark pink and festooned with her initials and a heart on the face.
No offense to all the guys who battled down the stretch in the Honda Classic, but the shot of the week belonged to Paula Creamer. She earned her first victory since 2010 at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore by draining a 75-foot eagle putt in a playoff with Azahara Munoz.
 
Creamer drained her prodigious putt with a TaylorMade Ghost Daytona 12 putter. But not just any old TaylorMade Ghost Daytona 12 putter. Instead of the standard white with black trim model, the Pink Panther used a custom-made version trimmed in her trademark pink and with sort of a purple sheen. The face includes Creamer's initials and a big ol' heart. 
 
TaylorMade shared a couple of photos of Creamer's favorite flat stick after her victory. One of the images is above, and views of both the face and back are in the tweet embedded below. 
 
In case you haven't seen the video of her amazing putt, you can see it by clicking right here – and you owe to to yourself to take a look. And if you'd like to see the full list of her equipment, as well as the gear that Honda Classic winner Russell Henley and Tshawne Open champion Ross Fisher used, click here.
 
 
Graeme McDowell and Pete Bevacqua at PGA of America headquarters
Bob Denney/The PGA of America
Graeme McDowell received a PGA of America membership card from Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua during his visit to PGA Headquarters.
Graeme McDowell drove a dagger through the hearts of all U.S. golf fans by clinching the 2010 Ryder Cup for Europe. But on Friday, he was welcomed to PGA of America headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., for a "fireside chat" in which he covered a variety of topics both on and off the golf course.
 
One thing that immediately jumped out at me was his enthusiasm for the idea of the PGA Championship being played overseas at some point. 
 
"Going global is a necessity in the modern game," he told the audience of PGA employees. "You [the PGA] have the opportunity to give the rest of the world something special. [There are] three majors already in the U.S. This is an opportunity to do something unique for the game. I support it."
 
The idea of taking the PGA Championship abroad first surfaced last fall, when PGA of America Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua told Golf World magazine that the Association's leadership was exploring the possibility internally. The PGA hasn't issued any kind of public comment since then.
 
McDowell also said he'd be interested in serving as a Ryder Cup captain at some point.
 
 
"I like to think that I have a few more rounds under the belt to play [in the Ryder Cup]," he said, "but I certainly would not overlook having a crack at serving someday as captain."
 
The appeal of the Ryder Cup to McDowell, a member of three European squads and a favorite to make it four this fall, is simple.
 
"The intensity, the focus and the will to win is unlike any other," he explained. "It brings out the best in a player. You see someone miss a green, you expect them to chip it in.
 
"I have been in three Ryder Cups and if I could put them in a box, they would easily qualify for the three greatest times in my life."
 
G-Mac also broke some gastronomic news during his visit. He told his audience that Nona Blue, the restaurant he recently opened near his Lake Nona home in Orlando, will open a second location in Jupiter, Fla. – just down the road from PGA HQ.