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ScouseJohnny

Persimmon woods?

22 posts in this topic

I had a strange experience the other day.

Although I'm quite a high handicapper, I can usually hit my irons fairly well and fairly straight.

Woods, however, are a different story. I have long since given up on the driver, but keep Walter Hagen AW 3 & 5 woods in my bag. I can hit these long, but usually with such a truly hideous slice that my tee-shot ends up in the water / trees / out-of-bounds. I have been working on the woods at the range. The best I can achieve is a moderate fade. On the course, this usually just becomes a hacker's slice.

I was playing last Friday, and having a thoroughly miserable time off the tee. By the 10th I'd just given up on the woods and was teeing off with a 3 or 4 iron. Painful for some of the long par 5s, but my woods were just absolutely wrecking my card.

One of the guys playing in our four-ball is quite new to the game, and has a classic "Goodwill / charity store" mix of clubs in his bag. Which, I noticed, included an old, beaten-up, persimmon 4 wood. On the 13th tee I politely asked if I could borrow it.

What a transformation! From the first hit, it found the middle of the fairway. And stayed there for my remaining drives for the round. Nice shots, too. Quite long, and with a nice shape to the shot.

I can't fathom this at all. I grew up hitting persimmon / laminate woods as a junior golfer in the 1980s, changing to metal woods (the old-fashioned, small headed type) in the 1990s. I returned to golf last year after barely playing for around 7 years. My irons are still the Ben Sayers Crown Customs (cavity backs, steel shafts), which I bought new in 1994. The Walter Hagen AW woods (massive heads, graphite shafts) I bought new last year when they were on sale at Dick's, and they are basically useless to me.

I wonder whether there is just some old muscle memory which enables me to hit a heavy, persimmon wood straight? A friend I was playing with also suggested that maybe the extra club-head weight is causing me to pull the face square at impact?

Or maybe I just can't get along with these gigantic, lightweight, modern woods.

It sounds crazy, but I'm seriously thinking of risking a few bucks on ebay and buying a couple of old persimmon woods provided they are in decent shape (my preference would be for a 2 & 4, like I used to hit back in the day). If it works consistently, maybe I'll just stick with the old technology.

I'm curious whether this is just my experience, or whether other golfers have ever noticed a greater degree of accuracy with the old persimmon woods, as opposed to today's high-tech clubs?

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Yes, those old wooden woods had heavier heads, and they were shorter.  The shorter length is the only thing I can think of that might make them easier to use.

If you are going to buy on eBay, hopefully you can find some that give all of the specs.  Length, lie angle, loft, face angle, swingweight, shaft flex and flex point.

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I would say definitely go get 'em on eBay if they are well priced.

But I do believe you can hit newer clubs, have you thought about a lesson or video analysis of your swing with the 3/5 wood?

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I'll agree with the length idea- and also the more compact heads of these clubs seemed to make a difference as well. The downside is today's ball technology. they are designed for today's super clubs with thin faces, high MOI and increased club-head speeds. I've used an older metal wood that I used to drill down the middle 270-280- with today's balls and all I get is a weak 'thunk' sound and it dies out there at around 230. With the regular Driver (TM '09 Burner) it's back up to 270 with the same ball. Compression rates have plummeted in the last 15 years from 90-100 down to the current 45-60 or something, making them extremely lacking with older equipment.
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Originally Posted by ScouseJohnny

. . . One of the guys playing in our four-ball is quite new to the game, and has a classic "Goodwill / charity store" mix of clubs in his bag. Which, I noticed, included an old, beaten-up, persimmon 4 wood. On the 13th tee I politely asked if I could borrow it.

What a transformation! From the first hit, it found the middle of the fairway. And stayed there for my remaining drives for the round. Nice shots, too. Quite long, and with a nice shape to the shot. . . .

. . . I'm curious whether this is just my experience, or whether other golfers have ever noticed a greater degree of accuracy with the old persimmon woods, as opposed to today's high-tech clubs?



I'd make that guy an offer on that 4-wood. Anything beyond that would be pure guesswork.

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There's no such thing as muscle memory.  -Bob Rotella

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Originally Posted by Doctorfro

There's no such thing as muscle memory.  -Bob Rotella



In a literal sense is what Bob means.

But what is referred to by the phrase muscle memory is Motor Learning. And Motor Learning is very important when learning to play golf.!

The fact that it happens it the brain and not the muscles is what bothers Bob him being a brain person and all that. But everyone uses the term to describe something they remember with their brain with little conscious effort and do with their muscles so I think Bob the only one confused .


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Did it have a steel shaft? My last two hybrids I've switched to steel shafts and have had a similar experience... Try a steel shaft in one of your existing woods.

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sounds like the reason you're not hitting your modern woods and driver well is because you are too close to the ball and you need more bend from the waist.

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I have a palmer peerless persimmon driver with a dynamic stiff 43.5" shaft (tipped to basically x) that I used as a junior.  I take it out every once in a while and hit it for fun.  The new balls go too low with it perhaps but I still only lose about 15 yards with it although I don't hit it pure as often.  It feels heavy as hell but I'm a pretty big guy so it doesn't bother me that much and if anything I kind of like it in some ways.

I'd like to play an entire round with old clubs someday, the irons wouldn't bother me at all but the woods would take some getting used to.

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Originally Posted by lumpuckeroo

Check out Louisville Golf, they still make a variety of persimmon drivers and fairway woods.

http://www.louisvillegolf.com/

On the Louisville Golf web site you will find a wealth of information on wooden clubs and some advantages that they have.  Of course some of it may be marketing, but some of it makes sense.  Louisville Golf has done a lot with driver shapes and weighting to adapt more to the graphite shaft. At the other end of the spectrum, they are in to building quality replica vintage clubs with hickory shafts, a subset of the golfing public that is gaining in popularity. I have a few persimmon clubs that I enjoy playing from time to time. Another good source is Joe Powell golf in Florida.  As far as I know, Louisville and Joe Powell are the only two really making persimmon; both are quality manufacturers.  I have a Joe Powell driver and 3 wood that I really enjoy.

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Originally Posted by dbuck

On the Louisville Golf web site you will find a wealth of information on wooden clubs and some advantages that they have.  Of course some of it may be marketing, but some of it makes sense.  Louisville Golf has done a lot with driver shapes and weighting to adapt more to the graphite shaft. At the other end of the spectrum, they are in to building quality replica vintage clubs with hickory shafts, a subset of the golfing public that is gaining in popularity. I have a few persimmon clubs that I enjoy playing from time to time. Another good source is Joe Powell golf in Florida.  As far as I know, Louisville and Joe Powell are the only two really making persimmon; both are quality manufacturers.  I have a Joe Powell driver and 3 wood that I really enjoy.



Many people who rave on about "feel" when talking about their irons, wedges, milled putter, tour ball or whatever, have never had the joy of playing with a persimmon driver and a wound ball or a set of forged blades with leather grips.

Anyone with a set of gear purchased based on feel really owes it to themself to check out Louisville Golf. That there's a company still making this stuff is almost . . inspirational.

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Persimmon drivers have tighter dispersion and thus are more accurate than titanium metal drivers.

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Persimmon drivers have more Gear Effect than metal drivers; this makes them more accurate. Gear effect is the self-imparting spin that is put on the ball when hit on the heel or toe - balls hit on the heel or toe of a Persimmon driver, due to its roll and bulge and deeper COG, will move back online toward the target and have a tighter dispersion.

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sorry call me simple but if it works, why not?  Clubs are a personal thing, whatever works for you is whatever works for you, just like no two swings are alike.

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I have just started back playing after a layoof of 40 years. I am 59 now, and played a lot while I was growing up, and scored beween high 70's and low 80's consistently back then. I recently bought some clubs that were donated to a local charity for $40. these clubs included 1 thru 4 Arnold Palmer persimmon woods from the 50's or 60's..a set of 2 thru 10 Spalding tour pro irons from about the 70's and a manganese bronze Ping putter. (very sought after)  the set also came with a Ben Hogan burner wood with speed grooves and a chipping, pitching and sand wedge.....Long story short, the driver is only about an 8 degree pitch, but using a soft ball such as the Titelist Solo, I can hit the driver about 275 perfectly straight...the 2 wood about 260, the 3 wood about 250 and the 4 wood about 240...using a harder ball like the Titleist nxt or Pro-VI you can easily lose control of the ball, but with a nice smooth swing (don't try to kill it) and a softer ball, you can really enjoy a good game. I find that the new metel drivers seem to correct your mistakes rather than let you work on correcting them. Have only been out twice with my nephew (he shoots in the 70's) sciored 108 my first round, 92 on my second. Just need to work on my chipping and putting now. IF YOU WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR GAME (INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR AN EASY FIX) PLAY PERSIMMONS!!!

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Originally Posted by johnthejoiner

Persimmon drivers have more Gear Effect than metal drivers; this makes them more accurate. Gear effect is the self-imparting spin that is put on the ball when hit on the heel or toe - balls hit on the heel or toe of a Persimmon driver, due to its roll and bulge and deeper COG, will move back online toward the target and have a tighter dispersion.

Well - that statement needs some serious qualification. Every head, whether persimmon or metal, can impart more than enough gear effect to send a toe hit into the left rough and a heel hit into the right. Bulge doesn't impart gear effect spin. Rather, every well-designed head uses bulge to OFFSET the gear effect spin - toe hits are sent off further right to allow for hook spin, and vice versa out of the heel.

If persimmon heads have more gear effect than metal drivers, then the persimmon NEEDS more bulge - it's not a performance advantage. In fact, that gear effect is costing you ball speed and carry distance.

The main reason metal woods have less bulge is because they have higher clubhead MOI, rotate less on off-centre hits, impart less gear effect spin, need less bulge to offset gear effect spin, and lose less ballspeed than a wooden head would.

I think Louisville makes lovely stuff, and I absolutely think that persimmon woods are still very playable - but I would never claim that wood is inherently more accurate.

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