July 13, 2007


Clubs from the '80s bring round in 80s for Snedeker (Steve DiMeglio, 7/13/07, USA TODAY)

"We have to start getting Tiger to use persimmon woods to keep up with him," [Tour rookie Brandt] Snedeker, 26, says. "Make him use old irons, too. And an old ball."

Snedeker arrived at this approach as a test subject for USA TODAY. The 6-1, 190-pound former Vanderbilt All-American enthusiastically agreed to play a round of golf with a set of previous-generation clubs.

Obviously figuring his round would be made more difficult, Snedeker was nonetheless surprised how drastically golf had changed in just a matter of years.

"I don't know how to explain the sound" at impact with the old clubs and ball, he says. "It feels like the ball is getting stuck on the clubface. The old ball feels so soft, like a marshmallow."

His oversized metal woods, perimeter-weighted irons and state-of-the-art shafts and golf balls were pitted against woods actually made of wood; heavy, steel shafts and diminutive irons that were far less forgiving than today's advanced sets and balls last seen 20-25 years ago. Snedeker last hit a wood driver when he was 8 and then only in goofing with his dad's set.

After my second summer at caddy camp and after paying off ten weeks room and board ($350), I had $300 left to buy golf clubs. that should have been enough to buy the mid-range Wilson's, the 1200's, but they had proved so popular that the store was trying to get rid of the top of the line Wilson Staffs. The sweet spot on those babies is so small that you can barely play the 2-iron and they reputedly never even sold a 1-iron. But when you hit the ball right you're rewarded and when you don't you're punished. It's real golf.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 13, 2007 2:30 PM

Then I don't enjoy punishment enough to play real golf.

Posted by: Brandon at July 13, 2007 2:58 PM

I play the wretched game about once every 5 years, and so have never felt the need to buy a set of clubs -- instead I use the set of Wilson Arnold Palmers that my grandfather bought for my father in the early 60s. Not only the old woods, but the irons that don't have the hollow bit opposite the club face. Not only do they weigh much more than contemporary irons, they move through the air like molasses.

(I also have several wood-shaft irons and a putter from the early 20th century that my grandfather had from his father, who'd emigrated to the States from near St. Andrews at the turn of the century.)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 13, 2007 4:20 PM

From B.C. (by Johnny Hart)

Fat Broad: Gee, I'm so nervou, I never played golf before.

Thor: Relax kid. See that flag about a quarter of a mile down there?

FB: Yes.

Thor: It's standing in a hole about 4 1/2 inches wide. Here's a ball and a stick with a knob on it. Just swack the ball with the stick and put it in the hole.

FB: Are you nuts?

Thor: Oh, I nearly forgot...You get 4 swacks at it.

FB: Four swacks?...Piece of cake!

Posted by: Bartman at July 14, 2007 6:40 AM
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