Why did MacGregor irons get crappier after the 1950s?

When I pick up an M85 iron from the early 1950s … it feels amazing. The quality and feeling in the hands is arguably as good as it gets. The Colokroms that followed … then the irons from the 1960s … 1970s … seem to have regressed. They don’t feel or look as good as the M85s.

I know Lag thinks the pinnacle of golf equipment was the 1950s. Why was that? I tend to agree but don’t know how to explain it.

I’m sure demand had something to do with it. Golf got more popular in the 60s so they were pumping out whatever would sell.

I might be the only one, but I’ve never hit Mac irons that I loved… I’m big on Wilson irons.

Might have to try an older model Mac again someday.

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.

Thanks for the replies.

I think with me … my negativity is that all my MacGregors from pre 1960 (around 7 sets) weren’t messed with … whereas all my newer ones have been tinkered with.

I have a set of split soles with aluminum shafts that I love. I bought another set on eBay in steel shafts and the clubs of the heads have offset in some of them etc and line up at address all weird.

I bought CF4000 in a couple variations for fun and once again there was inconsistencies in the heads.