or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Vintage vs. Modern Drivers
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
One of the local shops near me, Miles of Golf, did a really interesting study on comparing drivers over the last 100 years. Below is the link with the summary and a video describing the process. They used a Trackman to record the flight data. Interesting that the major leap in improvement was the introduction of the Titanium driver.

BTW, I've met Gene Bolden several times. He had a booth at the Michigan Golf show last year. He has quite the collection of vintage clubs. Neat guy.


http://www.milesofgolf.com/blog/golf...vs-technology/
post #2 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Thats pretty cool stuff. Great link!
post #3 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Originally Posted by kfowler View Post
One of the local shops near me, Miles of Golf, did a really interesting study on comparing drivers over the last 100 years. Below is the link with the summary and a video describing the process. They used a Trackman to record the flight data. Interesting that the major leap in improvement was the introduction of the Titanium driver.

BTW, I've met Gene Bolden several times. He had a booth at the Michigan Golf show last year. He has quite the collection of vintage clubs. Neat guy.


http://www.milesofgolf.com/blog/golf...vs-technology/

"2. Each era showed increases in distance with one exception. The early stainless steel drivers of the 1980s did not show increased distance over persimmon clubs of the 1970 and 80s."

I remember the first few metal drivers I hit. They sounded like sh**, and the ball sliced or hooked about the same (maybe slightly less). The only thing in their favour was ruggedness - no need to get them refinished, water was no problem, no cord to get unwound, just throw it in the bag and forget about it. I picked up some vintage metal woods last summer (they were thrown in with the iron sets I wanted). I had forgotten how overrated those things were. I also remember when the first BB titanium came out though - wow.
post #4 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Originally Posted by sean_miller View Post
"2. Each era showed increases in distance with one exception. The early stainless steel drivers of the 1980s did not show increased distance over persimmon clubs of the 1970 and 80s."

I remember the first few metal drivers I hit. They sounded like sh**, and the ball sliced or hooked about the same (maybe slightly less). The only thing in their favour was ruggedness - no need to get them refinished, water was no problem, no cord to get unwound, just throw it in the bag and forget about it. I picked up some vintage metal woods last summer (they were thrown in with the iron sets I wanted). I had forgotten how overrated those things were. I also remember when the first BB titanium came out though - wow.
They may not have increased distance statistically, but they were easier to hit straight and that resulted in an effective distance gain for me. And they got the ball in the air easier. I didn't really use a driver until I got my first TM Burner (9.5°) in about 1987. Then I liked it so much that I got a TM Tour Driver TP (8.5°) about 6 months later. I still have the second one in the garage.
post #5 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Originally Posted by sean_miller View Post
"2. Each era showed increases in distance with one exception. The early stainless steel drivers of the 1980s did not show increased distance over persimmon clubs of the 1970 and 80s."

I remember the first few metal drivers I hit. They sounded like sh**, and the ball sliced or hooked about the same (maybe slightly less). The only thing in their favour was ruggedness - no need to get them refinished, water was no problem, no cord to get unwound, just throw it in the bag and forget about it. I picked up some vintage metal woods last summer (they were thrown in with the iron sets I wanted). I had forgotten how overrated those things were. I also remember when the first BB titanium came out though - wow.
The reason they hit it shorter is actually quite interesting. Persimmon wood is somewhat bouncy, and it actually gets harder and better as it's used more. The early metal woods didn't have enough face area to provide a real "trampoline" type effect (high COR). Some modern fairway woods actually have less COR than persimmon woods. The original titanium Big Bertha also had less COR than a persimmon wood. Robot tests showed that the persimmon wood at the same speed hit the ball about 3 yards farther.

The big thing is the forgiveness. When you hit a persimmon wood even a little off center, you lose a lot of yardage. You can hit a persimmon wood 300 yards, but it's not easy. A modern metal wood has a much larger hittable area, and even mishits go over 200 yards.
post #6 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

I have my late father-in-laws Schavolite Composite head driver and brassie. IThey're not in that good a shape, but you can feel that it was a pretty decent club. The head was a molded material made by GE. I also have some of his irons 1, 7, 9 and 10. They have very thin soles and I assume were not forgiving at all.
post #7 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

The biggest difference I ever remember was when I went from a King Cobra steel driver(the one with the grey head and the heads were filled with foam) to a Yonex ADX titanium. I still can remember the sound and ball flight I got from that Yonex it was such a great club.
post #8 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Originally Posted by Shanks A Million View Post
The reason they hit it shorter is actually quite interesting. Persimmon wood is somewhat bouncy, and it actually gets harder and better as it's used more. The early metal woods didn't have enough face area to provide a real "trampoline" type effect (high COR). Some modern fairway woods actually have less COR than persimmon woods. The original titanium Big Bertha also had less COR than a persimmon wood. Robot tests showed that the persimmon wood at the same speed hit the ball about 3 yards farther.

The big thing is the forgiveness. When you hit a persimmon wood even a little off center, you lose a lot of yardage. You can hit a persimmon wood 300 yards, but it's not easy. A modern metal wood has a much larger hittable area, and even mishits go over 200 yards.
Originally Posted by Shanks A Million View Post
The reason they hit it shorter is actually quite interesting. Persimmon wood is somewhat bouncy, and it actually gets harder and better as it's used more. The early metal woods didn't have enough face area to provide a real "trampoline" type effect (high COR). Some modern fairway woods actually have less COR than persimmon woods. The original titanium Big Bertha also had less COR than a persimmon wood. Robot tests showed that the persimmon wood at the same speed hit the ball about 3 yards farther.

The big thing is the forgiveness. When you hit a persimmon wood even a little off center, you lose a lot of yardage. You can hit a persimmon wood 300 yards, but it's not easy. A modern metal wood has a much larger hittable area, and even mishits go over 200 yards.
I'm getting the opposite reactions at indoor golf this winter - keeping in mind that indoor golf is pretty close distancewise, but not so good at picking up hooks and slices.

After rotating clubs every week (drivers, fairway woods, irons, wedges, putters - the works) and slipping in a couple persimmons every week, I've found they give more consistent yardages - they're just shorter. They don't have hot spots like newer clubs do.

If I'm a bit off the middle of the face there's a slight loss of distance, but it's not that drastic (e.g. 255 instead of 270).
post #9 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

That's likely due to the shaft length. Older drivers are about 4" shorter, so they are much easier to control. This is one mistake we've made with tehnology, making the clubs so much longer. A 41" modern driver compared to a 41" persimmon driver would be a real eye opener.
post #10 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Originally Posted by Shanks A Million View Post
That's likely due to the shaft length. Older drivers are about 4" shorter, so they are much easier to control. This is one mistake we've made with tehnology, making the clubs so much longer. A 41" modern driver compared to a 41" persimmon driver would be a real eye opener.
I think you'e 100% right on that one. I'm 6 foot 2 and I have to choke down a few inches on my newest driver or it's off the crown!
post #11 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Interestingly, metal woods made their early inroad into golf mostly at driving ranges. Wooden drivers tended to fall apart over time, delaminate, or the face insert would crack or deform. There really were screws in the face, hence the phrase, "I hit it in the screws." Metal woods were inexpensive alternatives with little or no maintenance so people who showed up at the driving range without a driver could "rent" a metal wood. The funny thing was they hit pretty well, about the same as fine wood drivers, so some people would take a metal wood to the course. In the early days, "real golfers" sort of frowned on this but when the Langert and other brands started showing up on tour, all that changed. Jumbo Ozaki started hitting a top weighted metal wood very far and that changed the game -- people wanted the extra distance and weighting options that metal woods allowed. Then came the Callaway Bertha's and the rest is history.
post #12 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

On the screws.

Used to get a big grin on my face if I hit one on the screws. I remember the driver being very difficult to hit, most of us used 3 woods or 2 woods until we managed to groove a decent enough swing to hit driver. Mastering a driver in those days took some amount of skill, something a person could be proud of. Or that's what I remember anyway... :)

I'm seriously considering getting a Louisville driver and taking it out to the range to see if I can still handle one of these things. I miss the sound, feel, and flexibility one had with those small headed drivers. If I can still swing one decently, it will replace the metal driver in my bag.
post #13 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Originally Posted by wmiller View Post
On the screws.

Used to get a big grin on my face if I hit one on the screws. I remember the driver being very difficult to hit, most of us used 3 woods or 2 woods until we managed to groove a decent enough swing to hit driver. Mastering a driver in those days took some amount of skill, something a person could be proud of. Or that's what I remember anyway... :)

I'm seriously considering getting a Louisville driver and taking it out to the range to see if I can still handle one of these things. I miss the sound, feel, and flexibility one had with those small headed drivers. If I can still swing one decently, it will replace the metal driver in my bag.
Man, everyone here acts like these clubs are some sacred artifacts. They are golf clubs, they do the job. We've allowed technology to be too much of a crutch. I still have my persimmon woods, and I still hit them regularly. They are just as good as any modern woods, they just don't go as far (shorter shaft, less forgiveness), and they feel quite different.
post #14 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

I don't 'act' like anything. I took a old Wilson Staff 3w to the range recently and realized that I miss the sound and feel of these clubs. Sorry if my post offended you...
post #15 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

I used to go to pro tournaments where most of them were still using wooden woods. Man that sound was nice. It was a mistake to allow metal.. baseball never did that. They're called woods, damnit!
post #16 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

I picked up a couple of Joe Powell persimmon clubs at a pawn shop a couple of months ago. I have played a bit with them, and really enjoy them. They are in the bag as my primary clubs.

I have no problem with metal woods, though. I own a few, but none of the latest ones. I have a decent set of older cavity backs as well (Titleist DCI), but right now I am really enjoying the old school stuff.
post #17 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Originally Posted by wmiller View Post
On the screws.

Used to get a big grin on my face if I hit one on the screws. I remember the driver being very difficult to hit, most of us used 3 woods or 2 woods until we managed to groove a decent enough swing to hit driver. Mastering a driver in those days took some amount of skill, something a person could be proud of. Or that's what I remember anyway... :)

I'm seriously considering getting a Louisville driver and taking it out to the range to see if I can still handle one of these things. I miss the sound, feel, and flexibility one had with those small headed drivers. If I can still swing one decently, it will replace the metal driver in my bag.
Check out ebay - occasionally there's something awesome. I've seen sets of mint condition Louisvilles go for pretty reasonable prices - relatively speaking.

There are cheaper options too. I picked up a grab bag of 6 woods for $20 that included two Cleveland Classics (with the still tacky original leather grips), a MacGregor VIP that looked like new, a Spalding, a Tony Penna, and a Lynx. I've hit all but the Spalding and the Tony Penna at an indoor simulator. The Clevelands and the MacGregor feel the best, but I can't hit that Lynx off line - 260 to 270 every time - I only hit my new driver about 280 there. It's a gamer for sure. The funny thing is, I didn't even know Lynx made persimmon woods.
post #18 of 23

Re: Vintage vs. Modern Drivers

Originally Posted by Shanks A Million View Post
Man, everyone here acts like these clubs are some sacred artifacts. They are golf clubs, they do the job.
I read nothing like that in his quote or any others... I believe wmiller is simply saying that he remembers (he even implies he may be mistaken) it being difficult to reliably hit and it being something to be proud of.

Originally Posted by Shanks A Million View Post
I still have my persimmon woods, and I still hit them regularly. They are just as good as any modern woods, they just don't go as far (shorter shaft, less forgiveness), and they feel quite different.
Why would you have Persimmon woods at 26? Metal woods started showing up in 79.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Golf Talk
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Talk › Vintage vs. Modern Drivers