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Thomas, my good friend and Commissioner of my Fantasy Football League, recently found his way to Persimmon Golf Today all on his own.  I don’t advertise or advocate much in the “real world” so he didn’t even know I was involved with this site – you can imagine he was a bit surprised!  It doesn’t completely shock me though – Thomas has always used some Cleveland butter knife blades along with some Hogan Forged irons and stuck with an older Titleist driver ever since I’ve known him.  No hybrids or long putters in his bag!

Anyways, he asked for some advice as he is looking to dip his toes in the shallow end of traditional golf.  I typed up a Cliffs Notes version for him – just the first things that came to my mind in email form.  I thought maybe this advice could help some others too so here you go.  A couple more lines were added for this post. Thomas has a heck of a golf swing – I don’t think he’ll have any trouble adjusting to a traditional golf club.

Welcome Thomas!



This page will give you all the info you need to get started.


The prices aren’t accurate.  Back in the 80′s and early 90′s when pros were using persimmon, there was a premium on the older gear because it was believed the wood was better from the 40′s and 50′s and the head designs were really good too.  So you’d see Seve and Couples and those guys using clubs from the 1950′s.  But when wood fell out of favor the classic club market collapsed which is cool for us because everything is cheap now.

The four clubs generally regarded as the best are the MacGregor m85, MacGregor Tommy Armour 693, MacGregor 945W, and MacGregor Jumbo LFF.  You won’t find the LFF ever but the others pop up on ebay quite often. You have to be careful because MacGregor did remakes in the 1980′s called the m85T, 693T, etc. so don’t buy anything with a T after it.  Unless you are into the collecting aspects of it I’d recommend getting a Wilson, Hogan, Titleist, or 2nd tier MacGregor like a PT1W, AT1W, MT1W etc..  Also, generally the coding for the MacGregor models had a number to indicate shaft stiffness.  So a PT1W was stiff, PT2W was regular, PT3W was senior, etc.  M85 was stiff, m75 regular, m65 senior, etc.  So be careful with the numbers and stick to “1″s.  Also, stay away from aluminum or graphite shafts.  Toney Penna’s, Wood Brothers, and Cleveland Classics are good clubs from the 80′s.  Powerbilt and Haig are hit or miss but you’re unlikely to find a familiar shaft so you’ll have to bid and hope.  For Hogan clubs “4″ is stiff, “3″ is reg, etc.  Clubs with black paint jobs were typically “worse” wood – they could have poor grain patterns and so they painted them black.

Again, the shaft is most important thing so if you’re just interested in gaming them, finding something with a stiff or modern shaft is of utmost importance.  Search for persimmon with S-300, S-400, or X-100.  Also be careful to observe the back of the neck/hosel area if possible.  Many older clubs have hairline cracks creeping up the neck that will propagate once put into play.  Thrift shops and Goodwill are great for finding material for complete rebuilds – reshafting and refinshing, etc, but you’re unlikely to find decent models with stiff shafts ready to game.  It can happen but it’s rare.  Ebay is your friend – there is a ton of stuff there for the taking and so cheap that there is basically no risk. 

Once you find one you like, the two most important things for upkeep are keeping it dry and clean of sand and dirt.  It’s fine to play in rain or a wet morning but just make sure you dry off the wood between shots and after the round.  Water can get in the wood and make it swell or warp.  For sand: the key is to keep it out of the headcovers.  If it gets in there it will scratch the finish with every step.

Here’s what I’d consider from the current lot.  Remember, it’s better to invest $75 and get two or three different drivers because every one is unique and it can take a few tries to zero in on what’s best for you.

My last piece of advice is to be patient.  It will be different.  Golf is tough – embrace the challenge.  Know that you are walking in the footsteps of millions of golfers through the centuries – not the 15 years of 460cc titanium “history”.


A little much but a full set:






Good luck!


Here is Thomas at 12 at  Spyglass Hill during his bachelor party trip when we forced him to take the socks off and play his pitch from the pond.  Well done! We won’t talk about the putt…


3 Responses to “Advice to a Persimmon Newbie”

  1. Avatar of Rami Valta Rami Valta says:

    I’m seconding Rileys advice on patience. You can put a great set together for nothing if you just bother to check ebay regularly. Also a little water will be non issue if the woods have a solid clear coat layer on them.

  2. Avatar of Thomas Warf Thomas Warf says:

    Thanks for the advice. I was outbid on a Hogan driver and a set of MacGregor woods today. I’m going to keep trying. I really like the idea of a 1950s era MacGregor, so I’m going in that direction.

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