Bobby Locke was undoubtedly one of the finest strikers and indeed golfers. He was unorthodox, in that he hooked every shot about 50 yards in the air. When he won the Open Championship at St. Andrews in 1957, he aimed at Tom Morris's shop at the 18th, WAY to the right of target, and put the ball to 12 inches!
A South African, he was leading money winner in the USA on the PGA tour in 1947, so the American pros got together and had him banned!!!! He then decided to play in Britain, and he won countless tournaments including FOUR British Open Championships. I saw him give an exhibition once, and he proved he could hit absolutely any shot----high fade, low fade, high hook, low hook, or straight shot! He was an absolute magician.
He has been forgotten in America, because of the jealousy of the American pros, who did not like him taking what they considered to be "their" money!! After he left the USA, he invited Sam Snead to play in South Africa, and they played 18 matches against each other. Locke won 17, and the other one was halved!!
Close behind Locke would be Peter Thomson, then Lee Trevino, Dai Rees, Jack NIcklaus and Peter Alliss. However, I have to say that the absolutely BEST striker I have ever seen (and I played in several British Opens, as well as British, French and other European Amateur Championships) was a man few have heard of----T.H.T. (Tom) Fairbairn, an English pro who won many British tourneys in the 1950s and 1960s. He was simply unbelievably good, and no description can convey the sound of a drive or long iron shot of his----"crisp" does not begin to sum it up. Every single shot seemed to come out of the exact sweet spot, and iron shots never showed a trace of being mishit or misaligned. I think there have been many golfers who have been exceptional strikers, producing wondrous ball flights, but of whom we have never heard because they were not necessarily successful competitively, for whatever reason. Some simply couldn't be bothered, and some just did not like competition. I played several rounds with a young man in Germany who hit fabulous, towering, drawing fairway woods, and one irons, and hardly ever hit a poor shot, but who was so dedicated to his profession, he gave up golf at an early age!! Many are the reasons for lack of competitive success, especially in the past. When I was good enough to be a pro in the late 1950s and the 1960s, there was absolutely NO money in pro golf, and anyone with a professional career (I'm a retired doctor) didn't even consider being a pro. Indeed, turning pro was rather akin to becoming a street sweeper in Britain, at least!! Even in the US, little money was made, except by the most successful, like Casper, Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Weiskopf et al. As Arnie has pointed out, in those days, you had to win, and win often, to make a good living---the also-rans were poor!
Nowadays, any player on the PGA or European Tour is rich, without ever having to win a tournament, far less the multiple wins of the likes of Palmer and co.
Sorry to ramble on, but I'm reminiscing, as we're currently snow-bound here, near the highest town in Britain-----hope I haven't bored you guys too much, and let's hope for a good summer!!