Classic Rounds with Classic Gear on Classic Tracks

July 31 2008

I played yesterday with a classic set of 1956 Dyna Powered fluid feel muscle backs irons, it was the first day out with them after re doing all the loft and lies 4 degrees descending from the 9 iron at 44 degrees down to a 16 degree two iron. The one iron I set at 13 degrees. All the lies set at 3 degrees flat. The shafts are a little loose from what I used on tour, as I always hit

X100’s but once I felt the kick point I didn’t have to chip much. End result? 68.

Tomorrow I’ll be hitting 1974 Hogan Apex. They are great classic blades with the Hogan 4 shafts and I have them all set up the same as the Dyna’s. The shafts are 1 inch longer than the Dyna’s so I might hit them just a touch farther. I don’t use yardages anymore, just a quick look at a 150 marker is about all I’ll do just to get my mind in the ballpark. I’m really just moving my game into a higher state of intuition
and feel, with a freedom that is quite refreshing compared to the days of over analyzing every yardage, or how many clubs of wind, elevation calculations, topography and so forth that can really cripple our natural ability to figure these things out by just using our instinct. I always felt a bit of a tug of war between the whole yardage thing. Sometimes even when I knew the exact yardage and double checked it with my caddie, I would still feel something wasn’t right, and then would often make some kind of indecisive swing that usually would end up with poor results. I find now, that once I decide what club to hit, without the exact yardage to go off, it’s easier to really commit to the shot because I am basing my shot on feel, the feel of what it looks like, and feels like based upon all the factors, wind, uphill downhill, and so forth. Once I get the feeling in my head of the shot and club to hit, it’s just all about execution. I don’t really know how well it would work in competition, but I don’t think my clubs nor the ball itself could know the difference. I also know that I missed many greens long or short back in the tour days armed with all the appropriate info… then feeling really frustrated that I didn’t just go with my gut feeling.


Let us know how the 74 Hogans work out. I’m getting my Hogan PC’s adjusted to 3 or 4 degrees flat and to the same “standard” strong lofts you mentioned. May have them in the bag this weekend.

I recently ditched my Bushnell rangefinder as I also try to get a little more instinctive with my play. I still rely some on the 100-150-200 plates and the occasional sprinkler head, but I don’t always walk them off to an exact yardage. I haven’t seen any fall off on my distance control as a result.

2 weeks ago I’m standing in the fairway and another guy in our group noticed I didn’t have my rangefinder. He asked me if I wanted a yardage (he was lasering the pin) and I said “that’s ok, it’s too much information for me”. He sort of looked at me funny and said “the exact yardage is too much information”? I had to chuckle… it did sound kind of funny.

I think exact yardages are highly overrated…

If you watch even the modern guys on the tour, they are anything but spot on with their distances… and guys are hitting 10 and 12 greens a round
these days and winning events…

I was chatting with Australian Tour Star Bradley Hughes, and he was saying that to win tour events back in the persimmon days, you had to hit
16 greens a round, and there were no yardage range finders.

Keeping a channel open for your natural intuition is a great thing, and it only breeds confidence in yourself as you soon realize, you have the ability
to see and feel the shot much better than you previously thought…

I hit 16 greens the other day and never even looked at a yardage or had a number in my head.

Knowing the yardage is not in anyway harmful, but is is just a part of what you need to know, see and feel…

Played Lincoln Park in San Francisco last Friday with course record holder ( 60) Ken Harrington. We both had our vintage gear, Ken playing a set of 1953 Mac Gregor Tommy Armour Silver Scots and Mac Gregor 945 persimmons. Ken has a great collection of vintage persimmons and blades. This golf course is really incredible, and just the views of of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge are worth the price of admission.

I played my set on 1954 MacGregor M85 blades with my 11 degree Tony Penna driver.

Great looking course Lag.
It looks like it would be fun to shape some shots around doglegs and holding the ball against some sloping fairways, with some smaller greens that require some accuracy and distance control, PLUS the view is not too bad either
Why…would courses like this be wiped from the map because of titanium heads the size of Texas so we can hit it far and have a wedge into each hole? Even after the long bomb drive the average joe fats a wedge, skulls a chip, chips it back and has a few putts…it doesn’t result in better golf, just a long tee ball.
Golf has surely lost it’s way when all you hear is people talk about how far they drove it on number 6 or number 11…the last time I looked golf was about the fewest strokes wins and that means a good technique with control- which is why we are all here at advanced ball striking- as it is about the only place we will find the true abilities needed to reach our potentials

Great to see these pix. Tempted to plot a way to get there somehow and try it out, even if unrealistic, but the thought is difficult to put out of mind.
That 60 round would be good to hear more about. What a memory for Mr. Harrington. Wonder if he might be inclined to tell us more about it: how the day began, how it felt as it developed, what he’s thought about it since then.

I’ve had the pleasure of learning to play on a golfing anachronism…narrow treelined fairways with good elevation changes and small greens. Shorter course though. Then I played a brand new course and was totally blown away by how wide the fairways were and the greens seemed like football fields compared to what I was used to. I was a walk-on that day and played with 2 members who were chewing tobacco and bombing it with 400cc drivers and irons with wide soles and heads that seemed to be the size of my hand. They were actually laughing at my 300cc driver…great memory. That course is the one closest to where i now live. Poor me.

Ken so kindly responded to our wishes in this e mail to me this evening…

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of playing golf on three separate occasions with John Erickson. What a great player and total gentlemen he is. Both of us have played classic persimmon woods, blade irons and putters. It’s interesting that when I tied John Susko’s course record 8-under par 60 at Lincoln Park golf course 20 years ago I was using this exact bag of supposedly ‘outdated’ clubs. At 48 years of age, I consider myself “at least as good a player” as the time period that this 60 was shot---- and some would opine that with the advancements in technology mid-50 scores should have been shot by now. But there-in lies the paradox. As John correctly points out, when we play our old clubs with the smaller sweet spots and heavier overall weight, we get true and useful feedback from both good and bad swings. A few people have asked that I give a summary of my 60. Disclaimer: Remember that I’m not boasting in any way…we all know this is a humbling game.

It was a Saturday morning and I was playing in one of our men’s club events. Back tees and ball down were the rules [with all putts holed]. I parred the first 4 holes and had hit a fabulous drive on hole #5—but my ball was in a terrible hole…completely un-hittable. I called one of my playing partners over to inquire about a possible drop, but in the end decided to ‘eat it’ and hacked a wedge down fairway. After another wedge, i had about a 40 footer for par…and somehow rolled it in! Wow…what a save—but with 5 pars to start certainly there was no such thought of ‘course record’ on anyone’s mind. At #6 I carved a driver around the corner, wedged to 10 feet, and made the putt to go -1. I birdied the short 7th, parred #8, and then made a 20 footer at the 9th for a three-under par from nine. Still nothing special as I had shot -3 on this front at least 50 times. Two of the ‘easiest’ holes at Lincoln are the 10th and 11th—2 par 4’s that measure about 260 yards each. Incredibly, I failed to make birdie at either, so I was on the 12th tee at -3 for the round. 20 years ago holes #2 and #12 were switched from there present routing, so at this old #12, I hit an incredible 2-wood to the front edge of the green and made a quite easy birdie to get to -4, and then birdied the only par-5 Lincoln has to offer by 2-putting from 30 feet. After parring #14, I made a great birdie at #15 as my drive was in the left pine trees, and hit a specialty shot to 20 feet and sunk the putt. So I was facing the last 3 holes at Lincoln park at -6 for my round. As anyone who has played Lincoln knows, these three holes are incredibly difficult. Both 16 and 17 are 240 yard par 3 holes with trouble everywhere and 18 is a 400 yard narrow gem. At #16, the pin location was front left. I hit a beautiful drawing 4-wd down the right tee line that bounced in there ‘dead stoney’ to less than 1 foot. A near ace. Wow. At #17, I once again hit the 4wd but it was pushed and found the right front bunker. After a rather poor explosion to 15 feet, I stayed focused enough to make the putt! we headed to 18 at 7-under. After a fabulous drive, I had exactly 150 yds to a front left hole location–and I push-hammered the 7-iron all the way to the back fringe. I had about 55-60 feet and was deciding whether to chip or putt. The lie seemed smooth and knowing that I had to hit it hard, I went with the putter. The putt had great line but seemed to be going to fast…but clearly all golfing Gods were on my side this day as my ball hit the pin squarely and disappeared into the ground for a round of 60 strokes, a feat which i have not equaled ever again…and I think what makes this accomplishment special and noteworthy is “that I have not come close to equaling it” again. This is the 1st time I’ve ever been asked to recount and share this round, so let me please ‘thank all’ who have the time to read my thoughts.

Take care.


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Lag and Ken,
Great story. I enjoyed reading it. It made me realize that I have met some of the nicest and most interesting people while golfing.

Not only did you shoot such a great score…look at the scenery you got to take in whilst doing it

Great stuff…The Swing Is The King…all this new equipment has done is bunch players up into a tighter bunching where the winner is the one that makes the most putts that week— Boring…It would be so nice to get back to seeing some pure ballstriking again out on the tours
Great playing- who knows maybe that 60 is within reach again soon for you

Thank you for taking time out to share your thoughts and your magical round with us.
Inspiring comeback from that drive ending in the un-hittable hole at #5!
Here’s to many, many more rounds for you.
Whether they will be magical or merciless, it’s all good, eh?
Best to you.

Twomasters was so kind as to set us up for a game at the Historic Olympic Club. It was a magical afternoon and a lot of good shot making going on with the persimmons and blades. Just a twosome packing our own bags on very quiet afternoon. No course records, but we both kept things pretty close to par. We both got pretty hot with the ball striking from 11 through 15. Really fun stuff.

Twomasters played Hogan Medallion with Hogan Persimmons, and I played Hogan 1+ Bounce Soles and Penna Persimmons. Cool, foggy and misty at times, the course played all of 6900, and we got a work out with the long irons all day into the well bunkered small greens that have been the site of a few US Opens as everyone of course knows. Legendary golf writer Al Barkow met us out at the course for a photo shoot before the round for his upcoming putting book, and then joined us the next day at Pasa Tiempo for a round at the Historic Alister MacKenzie layout in the foothills above the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz.








Enjoyed all the pics. Thanks for posting them. What a course… what a great day!

Wow, what a clubhouse! Makes me want to travel again.

Only having read and heard Al speak before, never seeing him, at first I thought Two had aged quite a bit since last seeing him. :confused:

A great old MacKenzie design in Santa Cruz California. Myself, Lag and Al all ventured out with persimmons and old blades in hand.
Myself and lag pretty much sabotaged Al and told him he couldn’t join us if he was going to bring along his metal woods and perimeter irons. He had to play old school and reluctantly said yes!! He was a bit hesitant about it to begin, but after a few shots, it really seemed to bring back some good feelings and memories for him to listen to a well struck shot from out of the screws again.
The bunkering of the course is quite outstanding as the photos will show. The course was overall a little tighter than Olympic Club and much tighter than Harding Park. The course was in excellent condition.
There is Alistair MacKenzie’s house sitting right there along the left hand side of the par 5 6th hole, which was pretty special to see where the master designer lived.
Julie Inkster grew up on the 14th fairway and played there all the time. It was interesting to take note of some clubs they had behind glass in the clubhouse. The set is what she used to win the Women’s US Open a few years back (2002 I think). they were Titleist blades and had an absolute bunch of lead tape on the back of them. maybe 5 strips on each. They would have swungweight at a considerable number and the curious eyes of Lag and myself took much notice of that fact. And enjoyed the fact that a fine ballstriker like herself did something like that even in this day and age.
I had a great day from the tee. 14 fairways out of 14. lots of greens. A few nice bunker up and downs and a few missed chances. Highlight being the 9th hole. A Hogan Apex persimmon driver, followed by a Hogan speed slot 3 wood uphill over the guarding greenside bunker onto the green to about 7 inches from the hole for a tap in eagle. That felt good. Lag and Al both hit the ball well also. The hole wasn’t big enough for any of us but it was fun. Al had some great stories. Dinner followed and what a great day ! Pity it had to end.
Enjoy the pics.

More pics

And a couple more pics and a special treat !!

We all get to see Lag striping them off his deck in his videos- but here he is stroking a putt into the hole. There is no putting module-- but maybe we can work one in !!

griffo, noonan and str8flush are playing Walton Heath ( home of the 1981 ryder cup ) tomorrow with blades and persimmon. will keep you all posted with some good pics and a report of the days events :open_mouth:
just hope i can get the old macgreggor key holes airborne!!

Thats great…are you playing the Old or the New course or both? Nothing like a 225 yd par 3 to start you off for the day! I like Walton Heath, its a good driving course with all that heather about as well. The author Jim Finnegan always says in his books there is a “whiff of the sea” about the place even though it is miles away. Certainly looks foreboading on a grim day like a proper links, I’ve seen the footage of the 81 ryder cup when it bucketed down, so hope the sun shines for you :wink:

Shame you couldn’t get a time capsule and get Harry Busson, ex professional at WHGC and master persimmon clubmaker, to fashion you a persimmon like this beauty here.

Have a great day and please post pics and stories :smiley:

Cheers, Arnie

NICE… I remember playing a European Open at Walton Heath. Maybe in 1989 or so. I got some invites to some events and did well (Benson & Hedges) and got some more invites.
I made the cut, and remember playing with Brian Barnes and his pipe in the final round. that was funny.
I do also remember flying in from Switzerland to play that event. I rented a car at Heathrow and off I went driving to Walton on Thames. Bugger me if I couldn’t find the course. It was late and I drove around, thinking where the hell is this course. It is a big event on the calendar, there must be a sign somewhere. Couldn’t even find a hotel at the late hour. Ended up sleeping in my car down a sidestreet and getting a call off to the Euro tour early the next morning and finding out that Walton Heath the course was nowhere near Walton on Thames the town- little wonder I never found the course there !!
Adventurous start to a tournament week. That’s what happens when you start out and have to learn the ropes. Wouldn’t trade that experience, though. Made the good times all the better.
Hit them well boys. Stay outta the gorse.