Jack Nicklaus Drivers During His Career

Jack Nicklaus Drivers During His Career

Postby twomasters » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:45 pm

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Re: Jack Nicklaus Drivers During His Career

Postby kirkschwart » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:24 pm

Cool stuff!

Interesting that he played with a current driver (relatively) on the first 2 drivers and then later in his career he jumps back
A couple of decades. Was macgregor just making crap by then or were they even making persimmons at that that time?

I've always loved seeing what people played with, especially guys like langer who had a mixed set practically with a few ping long
Irons to boot. Now it' seems like they play 14 clubs of whoever is paying them the most coin. Wonder why that is, all the modern stuff
Is equally junky? Or the equipment vans are that good they can make up anything to fit your needs? Who knows.

Bradley I'd love to know more about what you guys had in the bag back in mid 80's early 90's. What spaldings did norman play? I know you have put some of what You have played over the years- I'm still trying to track down a set of founders 200's....but what else was popular in the late 80's? Ive been trolling a lot for late 70's early 80s stuff lately....
Or who had just straight out strange stuff?
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Re: Jack Nicklaus Drivers During His Career

Postby St Hubbins » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:04 am

That's real golf, right there.

How cool is it that somebody can win, using a decades-old piece of equipment competing against people using the latest in hi tech.
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Re: Jack Nicklaus Drivers During His Career

Postby lagpressure » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:05 pm

The wood itself doesn't weigh much. If you take off the sole plate... pop out the lead plug, You'll have a pretty unplayable club. The persimmon design allowed the clubmaker to position the majority of the weight right behind the sweetspot. This also allowed the player easy access to add weight in different areas to compensate for a swing flaw or tendency. A bit more toe weighting or heel weighting.
The brass sole plates were used on the fairway woods to put more mass down lower to help get the ball up. Some pros would top weight their drivers to keep the ball down. This was done with more crown weighting. You can really get in there and do a lot of custom work on a persimmon with very basic tools. You don't need full fledged shop.

Nowadays players are really stuck with the pre molded cast heads. Someone has an idea... usually a very bad one and passes that onto the public in the name of higher velocity.

The modern madness is really pushing the velocity vs mass ratio to the extreme... but ignoring the other side of the equation. For one they are forgetting "feel" and the affect of an absence of feedback on the player over time. They are trying wildly to get the ball also to fly farther and straighter with less spin.. but again at the expense of feel and workability. I prefer a ball that curves more.. not less so I can gain access to tighter pin placements and various positions in the fairway.

The modern clubs are being made for hackers.. not great strikers... and this is a big reason we are not seeing golf develop more great strikers over time. We are not seeing anything even close.

More experimenting now trying to find a swing that will fit the modern gear. They are heading into a blind zone of frustration.. and now they are designing courses to make it look like it is all working.. which it is not.

Playing Montreux CC in Reno this last week was interesting. Even par made the cut at the PGA Tour event from what my member friend said. The course is a bit tighter I would think than the typical PGA event. At least there are some pine trees to deal with. I shot a 72 on a first look without using yardages and playing a set of 1956 irons and persimmons. The greens were basically perfect, and my friend said the rough was not much different than the tour set up. I wasn't in the rough much, so I didn't pay a lot of attention to it.
If the guys from my era played this course with persimmon and blades and balata.. there would have been a 66 posted for sure... maybe better. It's a good fair test as long as the greens are soft enough to hold a shot. I would guess the cut would have been around par as well. I don't believe the modern gear is improving anyone's golf game unless the course is just a wide open slug fest.

Golf really is a stick and ball game played across an obstacle course. If there are no obstacles, then it's not much of a course.

Montreux ironically is a Nicklaus design... or at least has his signature. One of the better ones I have played. Most of them I don't care much for because of all the forced carries and forgiving fairway widths and oversized greens. This had some tight holes, some smaller greens and not all the crazy carries everywhere.

There have been stories about Jack and Arnie designed courses where they show up on opening day and have been overheard by a member asking where the first tee is at. :roll: It's does make you wonder.

Many courses now are taking on a different look in the titanium era.. but I still think better courses, pre Pete Dye, crafted in the persimmon age will win out as the more quality layouts. More stylish, sensible, fair, practical and strategically interesting.

The laws of physics are not changing regardless of how much some would like them too.
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Re: Jack Nicklaus Drivers During His Career

Postby 20 Mule Team » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:51 am

I find it completely fascinating that the greatest golfer of all time, known for being so long and straight, played the majority of his career with a driver that was 42 3/4" long.

Think there might be a lesson in that for us? :)
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Re: Jack Nicklaus Drivers During His Career

Postby norcalvol » Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:31 am

Here are some useful quotes from an article about Jack's equipment over the years...
http://www.golfdigest.com/story/golf-johnson-equipment-0607

Nicklaus wasn't one to tinker often with his equipment. "Jack hardly changed anything," said Clay Long, a designer who began working on Nicklaus' equipment in 1980 at MacGregor. "Since the Pro-81 iron forging, his irons have remained virtually unchanged." Don White, a longtime clubmaker for MacGregor, said, "I think that helped him become so great. That took a variable out of the game for him."

"The grinds were always the same," said White. "A straight leading edge with softened edges, a flat sole with almost no camber and reduced heel-to-toe radius. A standard toe. Thin topline. The grinds weren't complicated, just perfect."


Nicklaus shafts were True Temper X-100s with wood neutralizers in the butt. The grips were gold-bead leather wraps with paper underlistings. Lead tape? Almost never. Nicklaus didn't like it covering up the name on the back.

Wulkotte's primary responsibility became Nicklaus' woods. "There's 125 steps to making a persimmon club," said Wulkotte. "I used to make 25 drivers for Jack, and he might find one he liked." The one Nicklaus really liked was a MacGregor 945W Tommy Armour Super Eye-O-Matic. "It had a 3/8-ounce butt weight in the grip," said Long. "It was heavy and impossible to hit left."


Nicklaus' wedge style stood pat for a number of years, too. "We would change the sole shape once in a while, but not often," said White. "We called it a tight wedge [for play off tight lies] with a standard toe shape and 8 or 9 degrees of bounce on a 56-degree. He would have me grind a little trough in the middle of the sole to help with turf impact."
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Re: Jack Nicklaus Drivers During His Career

Postby Ded2Journey » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:35 pm

norcalvol wrote:
Nicklaus' wedge style stood pat for a number of years, too. "We would change the sole shape once in a while, but not often," said White. "We called it a tight wedge [for play off tight lies] with a standard toe shape and 8 or 9 degrees of bounce on a 56-degree. He would have me grind a little trough in the middle of the sole to help with turf impact."


Sounds like the trusty rusty design???
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