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mvmac

Jack says "I would probably hit it another 20, 30, 40 yards"

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If he was in his prime using today's equipment. In '68 he averaged 276, so if he played today he would hit it about the same distance as Rory McIlroy (currently averaging 310).

http://www.courier-journal.com/story/sports/golf/pga/2014/07/24/jack-nicklaus-glad-see-long-drive-contest-return-pga-championship/13111809/None

Quote:

Technology has changed dramatically since Nicklaus won the event. On Thursday he was asked how he would have fared if he could use today's equipment in his prime.

"I would probably hit it another 20, 30, 40 yards I suppose," Nicklaus said. "I would obviously hit it further because I mean, good gracious, when I was in my 50s, when I could still hit it a little bit, we were then using the metal woods and using a composite golf ball. And so I found that I was hitting the golf ball further then than I was in my prime. Obviously in my late 50s, I didn't have anywhere near the club head speed I had when I was in my 20s and 30s."

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I have no doubt that Jack, in his prime, using today's equipment would be hanging with the long hitters of today.

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His mechanics during his prime were outstanding so there is little doubt he would be among the longer hitters.
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Yea. Heck just give him a contemporary ball of today and Jack would mash it. It almost seems unfair what we get to use as opposed to the old days, especially balls, Driver heads and shafts..
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While we're on the topic, here is an interesting photo of Gary Woodland and some comparative TrackMan numbers...

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While we're on the topic, here is an interesting photo of Gary Woodland and some comparative TrackMan numbers...

I think I read that Jack won the Long Drive championship at the PGA back in the day by hitting one 350ish? Gary Woodland who's known as one of the longest guys out there is carrying a persimmon 268. Gives you an idea of just how long Jack was back in his day.

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Why would the swing speed be so much lower with a persimmon wood? Were the persimmon woods that much shorter than todays, or is there another reason?

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I think I read that Jack won the Long Drive championship at the PGA back in the day by hitting one 350ish? Gary Woodland who's known as one of the longest guys out there is carrying a persimmon 268. Gives you an idea of just how long Jack was back in his day.

Jack commented on this recently I think, conditions were hard and fast when they did the long drive, but yes he was definitely one of the longest players in his day.

Why would the swing speed be so much lower with a persimmon wood? Were the persimmon woods that much shorter than todays, or is there another reason?

Shorter and heavier.

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While we're on the topic, here is an interesting photo of Gary Woodland and some comparative TrackMan numbers...

Was that with older balls as well?

Why would the swing speed be so much lower with a persimmon wood? Were the persimmon woods that much shorter than todays, or is there another reason?

I think he just felt the need to ease back in order to catch that tiny sweet spot. But yeah it seems a bit low even then. I've heard Bobby Jones swing speed was estimated around 113mph based off of many examples of high speed footage and that was with hickory.

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Why would the swing speed be so much lower with a persimmon wood? Were the persimmon woods that much shorter than todays, or is there another reason?

A point of clarification for newbies.

"Persimmon woods" is not a generic term. Let's call them wooden clubs. The one in the photo is laminated maple - and I know it's purely illustrative - but there is no need for newcomers to the game to think that old drivers and fairway woods were "persimmon". They were wooden.

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Sounds about right to me.
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Thanks for sharing those pics.  Sounds like Jack was being modest--the difference (for Woodland, at least) is more like 50 yds than 20, 30 0r 40.  Interesting.  And you do wonder if the differences in ball technology wouldn't add to it.

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Jack would be among the long hitters. I doubt he'd be the longest. I think people pay way too much attention to outliers in terms of launch data, it always seems like the numbers are hand picked to me. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

For one thing, Gary Woodland doesn't average 316 carry. Maybe if they had him hit a bunch of big drives for the monitor, but Jack's 276 is an average during competitive rounds and includes roll. Gary's 268 carry also reflects that he's probably never hit a persimmon in his life, so he won't get numbers that reflect his skill with the titanium. Gary is also not a guy who has great launch conditions; he plays either steel or extremely heavy graphite in his woods and struggles with his spin numbers so a guy like Jack definitely had better mechanics and relatively better launch conditions. Bobby Jones was known to hit drives over 300 yards at times with hickory shafts, and Rory hit one 400+ a couple weeks ago. Does this mean we can claim that titanium is 100+ yards longer overall? 30 yards is probably about right.

This argument is really very pointless to me, it reminds me a bit of Jordan saying how he'd dunk on Lebron James if he still played. Until time travel is invented it doesn't really matter. Hopefully Jack stays out of it but I agree with his claim overall. IMO he should be thankful he played back then however, since he probably wouldn't win nearly as many majors against the fields of today.

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