I remember the first time I found the Classic Sports Network, long before ESPN bought it. I was home for the holidays at my Mom’s sometime in the mid '90s and she had one of the big satellite dishes that I would have to shovel the snow out of to get a signal. I would go through all the different satellites broadcasting around the world and find all kinds of stuff, local newscasts from everywhere on commercial breaks and unedited field reports, Korean parliamentary proceedings, Ukranian porn, Howdy Doody in Swedish and one station from back East that played all old boxing matches, Home Run Derby from the 60s and the old Golf programs from the 50’s and 60s. I was in Hog Heaven.
To tell the truth at first I liked the Home Run Derby’s even more than the golf, so cool but eventually the play by play guy kind of irritating. But the Shell’s, Big 3, and Power Golf never ever gets boring. These days it’s the only time I ever watch the Golf Channel, late at night while I’m working on papers and lectures and when I try to wind down. There’s something almost magical about the old shows and there’s a ton to learn. Over the years I’ve seen so many of them so many times. Whenever I’ve had problems with my game I always thought watching the way the old masters did the things I was struggling with made way more sense to me than watching my contemporaries. A lot of the shots were all over the place, but realizing they’d play one shot, then move the whole crew down the fairway, hit another to the green and then start all over again, and again, and again; it would usually take 2 days to play 18 holes and it was nearly impossible for anyone to play a decent round. What an ordeal it was but everyone was thrilled to have the exposure (and money). After years of watching the shows and seeing the diiferences between the game then and what it has become today I’d be interested to get everyone else’s take on what they see in the old stuff. I figure most in this forum have seen at least a few of them. Also, what’s your favorite one (other than Hogan v Snead, that’s a little obvious)? Personally I loved the one with Sandra Haynie and Carol Mann in Switzerland. Great film of such a beautiful place.
I love watching the short irons and wedge shots. So much shorter, more controlled rhythmic swings hitting shots into the greens. The swings and shots are a result of the equipment and the conditions. Nobody hits approach shots like that nowadays because the clubs have so little loft. Now a PW has like 46 degrees of loft vs 52 back then plus the ball now is so much harder. If I used the old technique the ball would go too low and chase through the greens, which sucks because I love the old way, it seems so much easier and more pleasing to the eye than these big swings with short clubs.
Al Barkow who is here on the site from time to time worked on that show for years… was walking the fairways with Hogan and Snead in their match. You might want to pop over to his thread and ask him a few questions… he was there for most of them…
My favorite so far… is probably Knudson, Archer, Elder… where Knudson hit’s it stiff on almost every hole. Such a great golf swing.
Casper and Sanders at Brookline is really interesting too, as they were hitting fairway woods into four pars, some they couldn’t even reach. Casper’s birdie on #10 hitting a 2 iron off a hanging lie over water in there 20 feet then making the birdie is great.
Those guys were such better golfers than what we see today there is no comparison. The greens were like putting on your front lawn, so it was always a ball strikers contest. Putting seemed more an after thought. Today’s game is just a putting contest… they might as well forget the tee to green… and just have them putt on the greens. It’s so boring I can’t even watch golf anymore.
I pulled up the list off of Wiki with all the matches, first thing that jumped out looking at it is Mickey Wright. Even Hogan said Mickey had the best swing he’d ever seen. I think she shot like 65 in Portugal. I’d love to have seen her whack most of the men playing the same tees, what a great game she had.
I love Peter Alliss in Bermuda all pasty and snow white, another good game I never saw any other film of. And Chi Chi in all his glory getting up and down from everywhere, straight pimpin like a peacock. Peter Thomson and Dave Marr was a great match.
Once again Lag perfectly on point, struck perfectly with the same perfect authoritarian power chord. ‘Flat flat flat, greens are too good, everyone today sucks, courses are too long, clubs are too light, blah blah blah blah blah blah’. If this is a public forum and what is aspired by the individuals frequenting it is actually to improve their knowledge of the game and its history maybe there is something worthwhile someone else is trying to communicate other than the teaching pro’s incessent dogma. Just about everyone on here has only played golf for a short time compared to us and doesn’t know that much about it or what the history is. Hell, I don’t know that much and I spent over 20 years obsessed with it.
When these programs were made the game of golf was almost totally an Anglican game played only in the UK and the Former British Empire. Courses were very rarely found outside those lands, kind of like Cricket today. The Shell programs were a convergence of historic signifigance. Look at the list and all the different places in all corners of the world it was filmed. Everywhere from Sweden to Kenya to Japan and Thailand. Amazing to think of the role this program had on the growth of the game and the totally different stages it was set on. And from the inside looking out, I love the way it was set, kind of like Wild Kingdom that gave someone like me from a young age a very profound view of the rest of the world. This was the best gift of early television, a real look at life and the outside world that books and stories couldn’t provide. I’d love an opportunity to talk with Al Barkow, to learn about the great people and places and experiences of making the shows brought. The most boring part I’d imagine was the golf itself. What a different game it would be today without it, maybe better, maybe worse but who’s to judge…
I had never heard of these shows!!! Does anyone know where they can be purchased or seen?
Arnie is a big fan of SWWOG and has a lot of the shows saved.
Send him a PM Pip.
I have the Hogan v Snead match and it is great although I’d like it more if Houston - the city of tomorrow! didn’t get such a big plug!
I agree with lecoeuer that Micky Wright had an awesome swing. Chuck Evans reckons she had the best alignments ever, male or female!
I’ve seen plenty of these shows and prefer the older ones much more than the Couples vs Els type matches from the 90’s.
One of my faves is the Littler vs Nelson match at Pine Valley from the early 60’s. If I remember the course wins with neither player breaking 80. I’m a little fuzzy on it but it seems that was the case.
A strange idea has been circling mind for the last few days, I am sure someone must have tried this. I am thinking of a scoring system where you get -.5 for every fairway and green hit and every shot inside 30 yards is counted as half a stroke. I have worked many different scenarios and it balances out pretty good. I have read somewhere Hogan had suggestd something simillar.
Hogan’s idea I think was that putts count 1/2 a stroke. So if you hit the green and two putt on say a 4 par, you make 3.
However, if you miss the green, and get up and down you make 3 1/2. Pretty clever…
But the problem with it is… no one would ever go for a pin if it was tucked… and with today’s huge greens… it’s tough to miss a green. I think having some serious motivation to find the tucked pin is good without being penalized for the ball trickling off the back fringe… which would cost you with Hogan’s version.
I like the idea of anything inside 10 feet is a gimmie…! It pretty much is like that anyway on the tour these days with as good as they putt, and as good as the greens are…
The Golf Channel puts them on occasionally Pip. PM me if you want to know how to watch the Golf Channel in Australia.
Here’s a link to a site you can buy them from- I presume it still works and they have stock
Thanks TwoMasters. Looking forward to watching this