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The Death of Spalding Golf


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After some very careful and thorough research, after much deliberation with my peers and colleagues on campus, I have finally figured out the real culprit, the real reason behind the demise and deterioration of Spalding golf, the once great American brand now tarnished, like the American dream itself, its company name most unfairly and forever associated with cheap, pathetically awkward equipment. It's this guy:

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BwaHaHaHaHa!!! :cheesy:

All Forged, all the time.
The Sets that see regular playing time...
67 Spalding Top-Flite Professional, Cleveland Classic Persimmon Driver, 3 & 4 Spalding Top-Flite Persimmon Woods, TPM Putter.
71 Wilson Staff Button Backs, Wilson System 3000 Persimmon Driver, 3 & 5 Woods, Wilson Sam Snead Pay-Off Putter.
95 Snake Eyes S&W Forged, Snake Eyes 600T Driver, Viper MS 18* & 21* Woods, 252 & 258 Vokeys, Golfsmith Zero Friction Putter.
2015 Wilson Staff FG Tour F5, TaylorMade Superfast Driver, 16.5* Fairway, & 21* Hybrid, Harmonized SW & LW, Tour Edge Feel2 Putter.

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Have already commented on Spalding-

 

Given their success, the most desirable iron sets are the Custom Made ones- Top Flites/ Elites/ Tour Editions for their Staff members-

 

Dave Stockton, Al Geiberger, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Greg Norman, and Payne Stewart, and many others.

 

Didn't Mark O'Meara played the Top Flite Strata ball for his two majors in '98?

 

Spalding did make Custom Persimmon woods for Bob Charles, but they really kept that secret, as the vast majority of their work was RH Only.

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I have a set of Elite blades (circa 1966) and an Elite #4 wood in my vintage bag. For their age and amount of dings they've accumulated, they are still in good condition and very collectable. The Spalding brand was top dog when I started golf.

Current Bag:

TM R7 425 driver 11.5

Cleveland Launcher #4 wood

Cobra King Hyper Steel #7 wood

BB Heavenwood # 9 wood

Titlelst DCI Black O/S irons 7 8 9 W SW, Lovett chipper

McGregor putter

Titleist Tour Soft balls

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So back to the original post. If that is what happened to Spalding is this what happened to...

wilson_zpsyhhfnbyl.jpeg

All Forged, all the time.
The Sets that see regular playing time...
67 Spalding Top-Flite Professional, Cleveland Classic Persimmon Driver, 3 & 4 Spalding Top-Flite Persimmon Woods, TPM Putter.
71 Wilson Staff Button Backs, Wilson System 3000 Persimmon Driver, 3 & 5 Woods, Wilson Sam Snead Pay-Off Putter.
95 Snake Eyes S&W Forged, Snake Eyes 600T Driver, Viper MS 18* & 21* Woods, 252 & 258 Vokeys, Golfsmith Zero Friction Putter.
2015 Wilson Staff FG Tour F5, TaylorMade Superfast Driver, 16.5* Fairway, & 21* Hybrid, Harmonized SW & LW, Tour Edge Feel2 Putter.

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I got a half-set of spalding irons with a golf bag purchase. Awesome stiff shafts, perfect original leather grips. Chrome and sand blasting amazing. Don't think her grandpa played them much.

 

I don't think there is any bounce at all. But there's a fat muscle bar right across the back - like double the thickness of the head.

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So back to the original post. If that is what happened to Spalding is this what happened to...

wilson_zpsyhhfnbyl.jpeg

 

WILSON????

 

You see, Spalding lost out to Wilson on that Zemeckis movie contract. They originally chose Spalding and even filmed a few scenes but Spalding just wasn't funny enough. The chemistry was all wrong. They fired Spalding from that film. True story.

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Spalding MV2 Elites any good?

 

8bit-

 

Some Spalding models were prized, and had a cult following (like the Top Flite Stainless models of the '50s)

 

Long ago, before WITB photos, some Spalding models found their way into other PGA Staff bags. Mike Hill had a Wilson Staff Bag with Spalding irons at the Senior TPC at Dearborn

 

If memory serves me, Spalding Elites were good enough for Dave Stockton.

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Spalding MV2 Elites any good?

 

8bit-

 

Some Spalding models were prized, and had a cult following (like the Top Flite Stainless models of the '50s)

 

Long ago, before WITB photos, some Spalding models found their way into other PGA Staff bags. Mike Hill had a Wilson Staff Bag with Spalding irons at the Senior TPC at Dearborn

 

If memory serves me, Spalding Elites were good enough for Dave Stockton.

 

Thanks for the info, Rex. I have seen pieces of those Spalding Stainless Top-Flite/Elite sets, but have not seen a complete iron set yet. I'll keep an eye out for any for sure.

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Spalding heritage:

 

1930

First Liquid Center Golf Ball. Spalding Develops And Introduces The First Wound Balata Ball With Liquid Center, The Kros-Flite. This Construction Represents A Major Technological Advancement In Golf Ball.

 

1968

First 2-Piece Golf Ball. The Spalding Executive Is The First Two-Piece Performance Ball, And The Most Consistent And Durable Golf Ball Ever Made. Its Groundbreaking Construction Allows It To Stay "In-Round" And "In Play" Far Longer Than The Softer Balata-Covered Balls.

Club Fitter/Builder (Wishon)

719MW  11* Red R Shaft - 919THI 11* Black S 65 shaft 
EQ1-NX 3, 927HS 5, 7 woods Red R-Flex
797HS 4 & 5 Red R Shaft 
585's, EQ1-NX, 550 combo, 575's, 565's various shafts
20+ wedges!

Wishon Cavity Black CB4 putter

Willy, Bridgy, Srixy Balls

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In the seventies, down here south of the horse latitudes, the profs were using Spalding Executives.

Current Bag:

TM R7 425 driver 11.5

Cleveland Launcher #4 wood

Cobra King Hyper Steel #7 wood

BB Heavenwood # 9 wood

Titlelst DCI Black O/S irons 7 8 9 W SW, Lovett chipper

McGregor putter

Titleist Tour Soft balls

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  • 2 weeks later...

Spalding manufactured the first synthetic balata substitute as well, with Zinthane on the Tour Edition ball. Ball was remarkable for the copious amounts of spin it could get (possibly costing Greg Norman at least one Major), and that it was a solid core ball years before the ProV. Mr. Norman hit the ball so hard, he had issues with wound ones going out of round - something that did not happen with the Tour Edition.

 

At one time, Spalding had something like 40% of the ball market. I mean, back in the 80's, 6 out of 10 balls we'd find on our municipal course were popular Spalding models like Top Flite, Top Flite XL, Top Flite Plus, Kro Flite, Star Flite, and Canada Cup. Unfortunately, just because you have a large market share doesn't mean you make any money at it. Spaldings were probably the single-most common clubs you saw at the course as well, mixed in the with Northwesterns and Campbells (all department store).

 

I think when golf was growing, people didn't care their clubs came from a department store - they were affordable, and worked. Top Flite balls were "cutproof", and therefore also affordable. Then along came the Eye2, and the development of golf into more of a pro-and-image driven sport, and it was the beginning of the end for "entry-level" (though completely usable) brands like Northwestern, Spalding, and Wilson (the patient survived, but we had to remove most of his body).

 

Some of the old Top Flite and Tour Edition "bird on ball" models are extremely sexy, and I would love a set. Payne Stewart models? Not so much - ugly like the Wilson Staff Fatshafts, and they almost ruined his career.

D -  TM Stealth+ Kuro Kage 5th Gen 60g S

4W - Ping Anser TFC S

3H - Ping Anser TFC S

4-PW W/S D7 Forged KBS $ Taper Lite S
48* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

54* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

60* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

Putter - 22 TM Spider X Short Slant Hydroblast

Srixon Z-Star - Yellow
10.7 Hdcp (CPGA) 

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Thanks Randy,

 

Managed to leg out a whopping 18 holes this year. Been a "life trumps golf" sort of year.

 

How's retirement?

D -  TM Stealth+ Kuro Kage 5th Gen 60g S

4W - Ping Anser TFC S

3H - Ping Anser TFC S

4-PW W/S D7 Forged KBS $ Taper Lite S
48* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

54* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

60* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

Putter - 22 TM Spider X Short Slant Hydroblast

Srixon Z-Star - Yellow
10.7 Hdcp (CPGA) 

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LOL, a gentleman I hold rather dear retired this year, and when out for lunch with him the other day he said pretty much the same. He's not sure what he's doing with his days, other than that they are going by rather quickly.

D -  TM Stealth+ Kuro Kage 5th Gen 60g S

4W - Ping Anser TFC S

3H - Ping Anser TFC S

4-PW W/S D7 Forged KBS $ Taper Lite S
48* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

54* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

60* W - Cleveland Zipcore RTX 6 DGS S

Putter - 22 TM Spider X Short Slant Hydroblast

Srixon Z-Star - Yellow
10.7 Hdcp (CPGA) 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back in the day in my area Spalding was big with the better players. The "Holy Grail" set in my area was the '53 Top Flites. In fact in those days Spalding had an extensive custom department and custom regrinds of that forging. The custom '66 models of the 333 Elites were big around there. Actually I grew up playing Spalding some until I became a Mac man. I actually played a set of '71 custom Elite MV2s in high school. In fact that set was stolen along with the Corvette they were in. In the interim I started back hitting the same FC-4000s I have now and ended up being a Mac man

Driver--- Callaway Big Bertha Alpha--- Speeder 565 R flex

7W --- TM V Steel UST Pro Force 65 R flex

9W--- TM V Steel Stock V Steel R flex shaft

Irons 4 thru PW 1985 Macgregor VIP Hogan Apex #2 shafts

SW -- Cleveland 588 56* Shaft Unknown

LW Vokey SM5 L Grind 58* 04 bounce Stock Vokey Shaft

Putter -- Cleveland Designed By 8802 style

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Stu/Everyone-

 

Spalding had a very long list of firsts, and they are highlighted in Mike Dohertys on line volume....

 

Played in a few events with the Spalding Tour Edition (Zinthane) ball when it first came out.

Had to use one more club due to the spin, which was noticably more. The Eye 2s pretty much "feathered" every ball.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 months later...

White vinegar, wire wool soap pads and plenty of elbow grease and they'll be like new.

Nice looking blades from that era. Merry Christmas from ex Canterbury.

Current Bag:

TM R7 425 driver 11.5

Cleveland Launcher #4 wood

Cobra King Hyper Steel #7 wood

BB Heavenwood # 9 wood

Titlelst DCI Black O/S irons 7 8 9 W SW, Lovett chipper

McGregor putter

Titleist Tour Soft balls

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Have got a 2-PW set of these heading my way soon. Not in great shape, obviously, but will be fun to see how far I can bring them back. Only cost $1!!!

 

 

 

Those are the famous "Bird on The Ball" 66-67 Top Flites--- Those were some of the "holy grail" irons in my area back in the day along with 53-54 Top Flites. I have not found a set of those in years. Great find especially for only $1

Driver--- Callaway Big Bertha Alpha--- Speeder 565 R flex

7W --- TM V Steel UST Pro Force 65 R flex

9W--- TM V Steel Stock V Steel R flex shaft

Irons 4 thru PW 1985 Macgregor VIP Hogan Apex #2 shafts

SW -- Cleveland 588 56* Shaft Unknown

LW Vokey SM5 L Grind 58* 04 bounce Stock Vokey Shaft

Putter -- Cleveland Designed By 8802 style

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