PGA TOUR players swing Arnold Palmer’s vintage clubs

Prior to teeing it up on Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, players took to the range and golf course to hit various vintage clubs played by The King throughout his career. .

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  1. One of the players shown in this piece, Davis Love III, not only played with the old persimmon drivers, but when he won the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot, he became the last player to win a major championship using a persimmon wood driver. So hitting a drive with one of the old wood-headed clubs had to bring back memories for him.

  2. I remember starting out with those clubs. I thought the first set of driver, 3 and 5 that my dad bought me were absolutely beautiful. It's true, you really had to have a grooved swing to get consistent ball flight and control. Now I feel like I'm hitting with a toaster on the end of my club. The larger sweet spot and control sure suits a 57 year old golfer, though.

  3. New clubs go farther but they also go farther in the wrong direction. I'm going to the range tomorrow and I'm going to grab my very first driver and 3W from my parents garage. They are only 25 years old but definitely low tech compared to the Nike clubs I have in the bag now. If I hit em straight I might replace my hybrid with one to use on the shorter par 4s with narrower fairways or trouble right.

  4. During this year's (2017) Canadian Open broadcast, the television commentators were marveling about the players hitting 380 yard drives. That was total bs, as the players were not hitting the ball 380 yards; it was the technology that was hitting the ball that far.

    In terms of human evolution, 50 years is an insignificant timeframe in which the human species can evolve. So, there is no way that today's players are hitting the ball farther due to today's players being more evolved human specimens. It is simply the technology that allows these players today to hit the ball as far as they do and it is ruining the game.

    A 460 yard hole that was meant to be played by the best players with a driver and a 4-5 iron is now being played with a driver and wedge. Yet, interestingly enough, scoring averages are not significantly lower than they were 50 years ago despite today's players hitting almost all their 2nd shots with short irons. When a touring pro is playing a 505 yard par 4 hole with a driver and a 9-iron or wedge, then technology has changed the game too far for the worse.

    There is a YouTube video in which Tommy Armour III (a senior tour player) hits an old wooden driver on the screws 236 yards (and that was using today's golf ball) and then he puts the same swing on his current driver and hits it 305 yards. That just highlights the fact that all this distance gain is not due to the skill of the players.

    As Lee Trevino said: "If Jack Nicklaus was using today's technology in his prime, he would have hit the ball 400 yards because he was hitting the ball 300 yards using 1960's technology." As the Tommy Armour III video shows, the difference between old vs new club technology accounts for 64 yards of yardage differential and the difference between golf ball technology easily accounts for at least another 30-40 yards of yardage differential. So, Trevino's comment about Nicklaus is most likely true.

    Technology has turned the game at its highest levels into something different than it was meant to be and that change isn't for the better. As Brandt Snedeker says in this video, a player back in the day had to be a better player to hit those old clubs the way they did. Technology has taken a lot of the skill out of the game.

  5. I still use an old Arnie driver when I play rounds. People always give me funny looks until I hit with it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. My first sticks were Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear. Thy weren't the best, but they were my father's way of testing the waters to see if I was serious about the game. At the age of 12 I got my first set of real sticks, Palmer Standards 3-PW. I learned the game with those clubs. Once I learned to hit the 1 iron, I knew this was the game for me. Now a days, the Palmer Standard 1 iron is no longer necessary as it has been replaced with a proper cleek or utility club. But as far as woods go, for me it was the Jumbo Cleveland Classic 1 wood. Even with a balata ball back in 86 I could hit the shit out of that driver. Distance was definitely an advantage back in the day, but my focus was primarily on the wedge game which was a Tom Watson influence. I had to have the regular wedge, a Watson 55 degree… and every now and again I would throw in a 60 degree depending on the hills around the course I was going to play. Golf is the most incredible sport and it is the only game where one can find out all he needs to know about someone because golf reveals the real man or woman, not the actor.