Best irons 1945-60?

What were the best irons from that era? Ironfinder doesn’t really go back far enough. Specifically I am interested in what I imagine to be the ”Big 3” of the era: Spalding, MacGregor, and Wilson. Hogan had Precision’s in ’54(?) and that’s about all I know... Also Spalding Top-Flites from 1950- onward.



What manufacturers did I miss? (Haig Ultra?)



I don’t own any irons that predate 1982; I want to start the vintage collection from the above era; curious to know what’s out there.
Golfing in Finland!

Comments

  • Fellaheen51Fellaheen51 Go Green MichiganMembers Posts: 4,410 ✭✭
    edited Jan 14, 2019 7:30am #2
    As players, can't be of much help. I do not find any irons from this period to be particularly suitable for my current game. Mostly do to shafts being to heavy and stiff for my "old man's" game. They're only for an occasional whack of a ball into the woodlot behind the house. For curiosity purposes only. WTS, partial to the aesthetics of the early Macs. Without looking up specific dates:



    Early 50's MacGregor Tourney "Winged MT". Any of the MT Colokrom's. Although it's difficult to find one's with the copper faces in decent shape. Once had a set of '57 M75's, which I think was the last year for the Colokroms. The FC4000 "Flame Ceramic" models that replaced them, with the black faces. Uniquely cool looking. And those FC faces held up better than the copper. Had a set of MT FC4000 MT2's in great shape for their age a couple of years back. But they may have been early 60's IIRC. Couldn't hit them worth a lick. **** near broke a wrist once, trying to hit the 7 iron that simply stopped moving when contacting the turf. Never tried a second time.



    Not sure on the age exactly, but Spalding RTJ, Jr. Kro-Flite's with pyratone shafts would be an interesting acquisition. They may have been pre-war, not sure. Definitely wall hangers though.



    The late 50's Wilson Dyna-Powered Staffs have a loyal following around here. Think it's the 58's (?) that is most often mentioned. But do not know enough about them to make any further comment. Have a set of '49 Wilson Top-Notch irons that look "interesting". Acquired as part of a larger acquisition. Think there was a "Goose-Neck" model that was more sought after.



    My .02 based on what little I know about old irons.
    Laissez les bons temps rouler!

    OGA - Mitglied Nummer Sechs
  • rex235rex235 ClubWRX Posts: 3,987 ClubWRX
    edited Jan 14, 2019 9:25am #3
    James-



    Read Johnny Millers article "10 Ways to Stick your Irons", and you will get his take on what he thinks is important. We'll start with Miller's iron set at the time



    1949 MacGregor Tommy Armour Tourney 915 Stainless irons.



    1953 MacGregor Ben Hogan Personal Model irons This was the last MacGregor iron set for Ben Hogan, he won the Triple Crown 3 majors with them in 1953. (Hogan's set went for over $40K at auction).



    1955 Ben Hogan Precision Irons, the ones Jack Fleck used to beat Ben Hogan at Olympic (let's include the 1955 John Reuter Jr Pat Pend Bullseye putter)



    1955 MacGregor Winged MT Tourney Colokrom irons So popular MacGregor came out with a remake (RH Only) a generation later.



    1950s Spalding Top Flite Stainless irons (they had a cult following in some places 20 years later)



    1958 Wilson Staff Dyna Powered Irons The "Fluid Feel" were known for more than the Sand Wedge, but there's a photo of Arnold Palmer working on his '58 model...



    1958 Wilson Walter Hagen Ultra Powered Irons - pretty much twins to the Wilsons, but even rarer.

    Walter Hagen sold the company that bore his name to Wilson in the 1940s-



    and.... those late 1950s MacGregor Flame Ceramic 4000 irons. Charley Penna (Toney's nephew) has provided the intel on how these irons came about.



    These are just a few- am sure there are quite a few others. (1950s PowerBilt Stainless?)



    Good Luck.
  • SteveNZSteveNZ Members Posts: 633 ✭✭
    edited Jan 14, 2019 2:46pm #4
    1949 MacGregor Tommy Armour Tourney 915 Stainless irons.




    And, I suppose, the 985 Silver Scot Tourney model that spawned them. Generally considered to be the granddaddy of all iron designs.




    and.... those late 1950s MacGregor Flame Ceramic 4000 irons. Charley Penna (Toney's nephew) has provided the intel on how these irons came about.




    Specifically the Tommy Armour SS1s. Nicklaus used them from when he turned pro until he switched to VIPs. That’s good enough for me.



    Rex - you pretty much nailed it wi this list. Hope you don’t mind me butting in image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />
  • HillsiderHillsider Members Posts: 19 ✭✭
    For me it would be the Dyna-Powers. My dad had a set of 1960s that he played for the better part of 25 years (that was when you played a set until they wore completely out). I still have them and they are as playable today as back then if you pay attention to the fundamentals.
  • stixmanstixman Hew to the line. Let the divots fall where they may. 1926 Golf I Members Posts: 1,833 ✭✭
    SteveNZ wrote:

    1949 MacGregor Tommy Armour Tourney 915 Stainless irons.




    And, I suppose, the 985 Silver Scot Tourney model that spawned them. Generally considered to be the granddaddy of all iron designs.




    and.... those late 1950s MacGregor Flame Ceramic 4000 irons. Charley Penna (Toney's nephew) has provided the intel on how these irons came about.




    Specifically the Tommy Armour SS1s. Nicklaus used them from when he turned pro until he switched to VIPs. That’s good enough for me.



    Rex - you pretty much nailed it wi this list. Hope you don’t mind me butting in image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />






    And, I suppose, the 985 Silver Scot Tourney model that spawned them. Generally considered to be the granddaddy of all iron designs.



    Unless you give tip of the cap to the DW Brand Frank Ayers 1926 design in hickory which was the original split blade and hijacked by MacGregor/ Tommy Armour !
    Vintage various.
  • baloobaloo A Person Members Posts: 1,080 ✭✭
    I really like my 54 Spaldings
    Driver, 3W, 4W - Macgregor Custom Tourney
    2-10 - 1954 Spalding Synchro Dyned
    SW - Wilson Staff
    Putter - Bullseye
    Ball - Pro Plus

    YT Channel - https://www.youtube....PlayVintageGolf
  • northplatterivernorthplatteriver Members Posts: 229 ✭✭
    I am very partial to 50's Hogans. Hogan Precision or Hogan Sunburst Sabers would be my choice. This blade design has been the DNA for many popular clubs for the last 60 years. Of the two the Sabers are my favorite.
    WITB
    Hogan 1959 Sunburst Sabers 2-9, Equalizer, Utility Wedge
    MacGregor M75w Woods #1, #3, #4
    1950's MacGregor "Ben Hogan" Parmaker putter


    Additional Clubs\Sets
    MacGregor 1952 M85 1,2,3,4
    MacGregor 1949 Tommy Armour 693 1,2,3,4
    MacGregor M75 Eye-O-Matic 1,2,3,4
    Macgregor 945w #3
    Macgregor 1950 M43 1,3,4
    Macgregor Tommy Armour Pro Model Driver
    Hogan 1959 Speed Slot 300, "Long John" Persimmon, 1,2,3,4
    Hogan 1960 Persimmon Speed Slot 203 Woods, 1,2,3,4
    Hogan 1960 Power Thrust 2-9, Equalizer
  • James the Hogan FanJames the Hogan Fan Members Posts: 443 ✭✭
    The mention of stainless intrigues me. How were stainless clubs compared to the chrome steel clubs of the era? (Nowadays I feel the perception is stainless=cast=bad) I would be tempted to go stainless to avoid the issue of rust, plus my personal favorite wedge was stainless so I’d be curious as to how a full set would play.
    Golfing in Finland!
  • SteveNZSteveNZ Members Posts: 633 ✭✭



    Unless you give tip of the cap to the DW Brand Frank Ayers 1926 design in hickory which was the original split blade and hijacked by MacGregor/ Tommy Armour !




    More than happy to defer to my more learned colleague image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />
  • deejaiddeejaid Members Posts: 485 ✭✭


    The mention of stainless intrigues me. How were stainless clubs compared to the chrome steel clubs of the era? (Nowadays I feel the perception is stainless=cast=bad) I would be tempted to go stainless to avoid the issue of rust, plus my personal favorite wedge was stainless so I’d be curious as to how a full set would play.




    Sounds like a set of 1953 Spalding Top-Flites would be perfect for you to match up with your woods. There is a real nice set on eBay that I thought of pulling the trigger on but I’m gonna pass as the vintage lengths don’t work for me. Wouldn’t want to buy them and tear off the grips that have survived 65 years.
    WITB
    Macgregor M09 driver
    Macgregor M85 Super Eye-O-Matic 3&4 woods
    Cleveland Classic TC15 5-wood
    KZG Forged Cavity 4-PW
    Ben Hogan TK15 51* 
    Ben Hogan Special Sand Iron
    Ping bronze Anser
  • baloobaloo A Person Members Posts: 1,080 ✭✭


    The mention of stainless intrigues me. How were stainless clubs compared to the chrome steel clubs of the era? (Nowadays I feel the perception is stainless=cast=bad) I would be tempted to go stainless to avoid the issue of rust, plus my personal favorite wedge was stainless so I’d be curious as to how a full set would play.




    My Spaldings are stainless and the feel is fine, not significantly better or worse than the other vintage irons I've played. They're pretty soft and bend very easily.



    They age well with no rust as you mentioned. I feel groove ware is similar to traditional irons with the exception of not needing to worry about the finish at all.
    Driver, 3W, 4W - Macgregor Custom Tourney
    2-10 - 1954 Spalding Synchro Dyned
    SW - Wilson Staff
    Putter - Bullseye
    Ball - Pro Plus

    YT Channel - https://www.youtube....PlayVintageGolf
  • James the Hogan FanJames the Hogan Fan Members Posts: 443 ✭✭
    deejaid wrote:



    The mention of stainless intrigues me. How were stainless clubs compared to the chrome steel clubs of the era? (Nowadays I feel the perception is stainless=cast=bad) I would be tempted to go stainless to avoid the issue of rust, plus my personal favorite wedge was stainless so I’d be curious as to how a full set would play.




    Sounds like a set of 1953 Spalding Top-Flites would be perfect for you to match up with your woods. There is a real nice set on eBay that I thought of pulling the trigger on but I’m gonna pass as the vintage lengths don’t work for me. Wouldn’t want to buy them and tear off the grips that have survived 65 years.




    That’s where I’m looking. I just missed a set of top flites, and there is a gorgeous set of RTJ registered’s for cheap, but its gonna be $70 to ship them on (presently) $25 clubs... little groan there. Patience is not my strong suit in these matters, but I have a long time before I’m back in the US, more listings ought to pop up.
    Golfing in Finland!
  • deejaiddeejaid Members Posts: 485 ✭✭

    deejaid wrote:



    The mention of stainless intrigues me. How were stainless clubs compared to the chrome steel clubs of the era? (Nowadays I feel the perception is stainless=cast=bad) I would be tempted to go stainless to avoid the issue of rust, plus my personal favorite wedge was stainless so I’d be curious as to how a full set would play.




    Sounds like a set of 1953 Spalding Top-Flites would be perfect for you to match up with your woods. There is a real nice set on eBay that I thought of pulling the trigger on but I’m gonna pass as the vintage lengths don’t work for me. Wouldn’t want to buy them and tear off the grips that have survived 65 years.




    That’s where I’m looking. I just missed a set of top flites, and there is a gorgeous set of RTJ registered’s for cheap, but its gonna be $70 to ship them on (presently) $25 clubs... little groan there. Patience is not my strong suit in these matters, but I have a long time before I’m back in the US, more listings ought to pop up.




    This is the set I was considering. They look fantastic.



    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/153322750198
    WITB
    Macgregor M09 driver
    Macgregor M85 Super Eye-O-Matic 3&4 woods
    Cleveland Classic TC15 5-wood
    KZG Forged Cavity 4-PW
    Ben Hogan TK15 51* 
    Ben Hogan Special Sand Iron
    Ping bronze Anser
  • hnryclayhnryclay Members Posts: 238 ✭✭
    I have a set of stainless Tourneys, I love the way the play.
  • xgolfxxgolfx Members Posts: 1,074 ✭✭
    The period. 1945 to 1960 is difficult to quantify, in my opinion.

    Top line clubs could only be purchased from home pros at country clubs for most of the period



    The ball had great changes, as did clubs and shafts, and grips.



    MacGregor and Wilson dominated clubs which changed from a cottage industry to business.



    Hogan ,Snead, and Nelson evolved into Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player



    There was virtually no foreign events aside from the British Open which were important.

    When my friend, Gene Troy , signed Nicklaus for MacGregor, it was for USA only. Gene told me he didn’t give a s##t about other places



    Toney Penna introduced the first change in irons with the winged back MT irons in the 1950s.prior to the MTs, most irons were flat back blades



    CHARLEY PENNA

  • rex235rex235 ClubWRX Posts: 3,987 ClubWRX
    xgolfx wrote:


    The period. 1945 to 1960 is difficult to quantify, in my opinion.

    Top line clubs could only be purchased from home pros at country clubs for most of the period



    The ball had great changes, as did clubs and shafts, and grips.



    MacGregor and Wilson dominated clubs which changed from a cottage industry to business.



    Hogan ,Snead, and Nelson evolved into Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player



    There was virtually no foreign events aside from the British Open which were important.

    When my friend, Gene Troy , signed Nicklaus for MacGregor, it was for USA only. Gene told me he didn’t give a s##t about other places



    Toney Penna introduced the first change in irons with the winged back MT irons in the 1950s.prior to the MTs, most irons were flat back blades



    CHARLEY PENNA




    Charley-



    What would a book be like, if it focused on the period from 1940-1960?



    There once was a Sports Illustrated article on how Golfs past (Hogan), present (Palmer), and future (Nicklaus), met at the 1960 US Open at Cherry Hills...



    "two books easy."
  • xgolfxxgolfx Members Posts: 1,074 ✭✭
    Al Barkow wrote 2 great books on that period "Golf,s Golden Grind"and "Gettin To The Dance Floor"



    CHARLEY PENNA
  • James the Hogan FanJames the Hogan Fan Members Posts: 443 ✭✭
    Pulled the trigger!!

    See the “no new acquisitions” thread, Spalding RTJ registered stainless!
    Golfing in Finland!
  • Chris122Chris122 Banned Posts: 611 ✭✭
    xgolfx wrote:


    Al Barkow wrote 2 great books on that period "Golf,s Golden Grind"and "Gettin To The Dance Floor"



    CHARLEY PENNA




    Just to say thank you for mentioning these,"Gettin' To The Dance Floor" arrived today and resulted in an overcooked roast chicken!

    My chum JC played against Willie Turnesa in the '47 Walker Cup and I'm enjoying the stuff on Wild Bill and Boo-Boo,a great read.
  • Bogey BomberBogey Bomber Members Posts: 3
    I think the early 1950s Tommy Armour silver scot Tourney 985, and the more compact 945.

    Also the 1958 Wilson Dyna-powered staff model that Palmer used to win Masters is my favourite weapon that i like to break out on the golf course against all my sunday "Cavity back foes"
  • chivachiva Members Posts: 2,480 ✭✭
    I played my 1948 TA 985 irons for many years. Shot in the mid-sixties with those irons and persimmon. Arguably my favorite set of irons of all time. I have another set that I “Johnny Millerized” by cutting down the hosels and adding weight back with lead tape. They are very solid. If we still played balatas then I’d be using them.
    OB and water hazards you flunkies
  • mocokidmocokid Members Posts: 1,753 ✭✭
    1960's DX diamond back and last armour 985s.
  • Richard 77Richard 77 Members Posts: 362 ✭✭
    edited Feb 17, 2019 9:31am #24
    Kinda off topic but I just received a set of Robert T. Jones synchro dyned irons tha must be at least 1953 I think was the first year os syncro dyned clubs. I have never had as much trouble removing a grip as I did on the 7 iron. Looked like leather on the outside, cork in the center, and a solid rubber wine bottle type plug on the end of shaft. Best glue I’ve ever seen . It was so difficult to remove, I’m thinking of just replacing g the shafts and not even fooling around taking the grips off. It was a real b..... getting it off. But I think it looks good with my new Tacki Mac arthritic grip.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • baloobaloo A Person Members Posts: 1,080 ✭✭
    Richard 77 wrote:


    Kinda off topic but I just received a set of Robert T. Jones synchro dyned irons tha must be at least 1953 I think was the first year os syncro dyned clubs. I have never had as much trouble removing a grip as I did on the 7 iron. Looked like leather on the outside, cork in the center, and a solid rubber wine bottle type plug on the end of shaft. Best glue I’ve ever seen . It was so difficult to remove, I’m thinking of just replacing g the shafts and not even fooling around taking the grips off. It was a real b..... getting it off. But I think it looks good with my new Tacki Mac arthritic grip.




    LOL, tell me about it... Re-gripping my 54s was a major challenge.
    Driver, 3W, 4W - Macgregor Custom Tourney
    2-10 - 1954 Spalding Synchro Dyned
    SW - Wilson Staff
    Putter - Bullseye
    Ball - Pro Plus

    YT Channel - https://www.youtube....PlayVintageGolf
  • MaxwellMaxwell Max Members Posts: 686 ✭✭
    Best irons ? Hmmm....



    I remember reading somewhere that Wilson irons won more Tournaments and Majors by men or women and Amatuer and Professional than any other iron manufacturer during that period. The statistics may have come from a Wilson Golf Club Manufacturer web site so...it was probably bias in it's numbers gathering. I do have older MacGregors and Wilsons iron sets from the 30's, 40's and 50's and I believe they well made and of value. One iron manufacturer that has been not mentioned in the posting is Hillerich & Bradsby. They manufactured some great irons and for many years. I play 1954 H & B PowerBilts's Model 4390's and they are well built and provide a "relatively soft feel" upon contact. They are stainless steel. Hillerich & Bradsby made some very good irons from 45 - 60 as well.



    Blair

    Canada
    "One Day At a Time"
  • rex235rex235 ClubWRX Posts: 3,987 ClubWRX
    Blair-



    "One iron manufacturer that has been not mentioned in the posting is Hillerich & Bradsby."



    ?



    Checking post #3 again. Last sentence.



    "These are just a few- am sure there are quite a few others. (1950s PowerBilt Stainless?)"
  • MaxwellMaxwell Max Members Posts: 686 ✭✭
    rex235 wrote:


    Blair-



    "One iron manufacturer that has been not mentioned in the posting is Hillerich & Bradsby."



    ?



    Checking post #3 again. Last sentence.



    "These are just a few- am sure there are quite a few others. (1950s PowerBilt Stainless?)"




    Missed your comment - Blair
    "One Day At a Time"
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