For the record, I used to work at MacGregor from 1972-76. The gentleman who ran the golf division was a member at the golf club where I caddied and received my Chick Evans Caddy Scholarship.
After my loops for the day, I cleaned the members clubs and put them back in their racks to pay my high school tuition, along with working at MacGregor part-time loading and unloading trucks, doing minor club repairs, assembling new clubs, sweeping floors, etc. I saw many staff pros come through…Nicklaus, Weiskopf, Al Balding, Crenshaw, to name a few.
Cincinnati, where I live, and where MacGregor was located at the time was a hotbed for MacGregor clubs, similar to Ft. Worth, TX. for Ben Hogan clubs.
Anyway, I agree with Lag that MacGregor clubs in the 1950s were, and still are, great clubs. However…just my opinion…MacGregor made some great clubs (60s-80s) well into the 1980s…Toney Penna wedges, Expediter sand wedges, Tommy Armour Silver Scot irons, Tourney Custom irons, VIP irons, and Muirfield irons. MacGregor persimmon woods (all models) were also great clubs. The only negative of MacGregor clubs from the 60s-early 70s were aluminum shafts. In fact, every manufacturer’s aluminum shafts were horrible.
So… what went wrong with MacGregor. In my opinion and having worked there…to many ownership changes with owners who did not know golf or the golf business…bean counters (accountants) running the business letting quality suffer (ex. using cheap Chinese forgings and shafts) for the sake of profit…lack of a sound advertising program…a shift in the business model to retail that cost less to produce, hoping for huge unit sales…a shift in business away from”green grass” pro shops…and conglomerates offering huge endorsement contracts to tour pros with clubs very similar to clubs MacGregor was offering at the time (ex. Ram Tour Grind vs. MacGregor Muirfield; Taylormade EL1 vs. Nicklaus JNP flat backs).
Also, the move to Georgia didn’t help, either. Many long time, highly qualified clubmakers at MacGregor stayed in Cincy, rather than uproot their families and move, because GE Aircraft Engines next door was steadily hiring in mid 80s thru the 90s.