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On June 10, 1977, Al Geiberger carded the first ever 59 (on the PGA tour) in the second round of the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic, Colonial Country Club, Cordova, Tennessee. It was a big deal. Here is what Sports Illustrated magazine said after that historic round:

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The overzealous were comparing Geiberger’s feat to man’s first walk on the moon, then withdrawing the comparison because so much technology and outside assistance were involved in the moon walk.

The merely awestruck were calling it one of the most significant athletic achievements of the century.

-Sports Illustrated, June 20, 1977

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He shot a bogey free round of six pars, eleven birdies, and one eagle. Truly an amazing feat in the era of persimmon and balata. Unfortunately, there were no cameras to capture the moments of Geiberger’s greatest round. At least, that’s what was thought until recently when a former golf announcer was clearing out his attic space and uncovered a video with “Geiberger” written on it. Sure enough, footage of the 59.

Another fortunate event allows us some X-ray insight into the details of that day in 1977. Geiberger recently decided that open up his storage bin to shed some light on his tools of the trade. The actual clubs used for his 59 went up for auction and allowed nerds like me to capture the images. Here they are with the description:

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The clubs are as follows: Driver: Spalding “Al Geiberger” Model; 4 Wood: Top Flite; 2 iron, 3 iron: Top Flite Legacy; 4 iron thru 9 iron: Custom Made Spalding “Al Geiberger” model; Wedges: Wilson “Sand Iron”; Console Patent Pending Wedge; “Custom Made” Top Flite Wedge.

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But the post wouldn’t be complete without a look at the buttery swing of Mr. 59. This is my favorite video of his. It’s got some different speeds and great angles – perfect to study a classic golf swing. I love how his swing appears upright, but the strike is pretty shallow with just a brush of the turf.

6 Responses to “Footage and Gear from Geiberger’s 59”

  1. Avatar of anguis anguis says:

    Love the site & articles, but… First 59 was Sam Snead in 1959 with a huge SI article as well. Also, he had an even more buttery swing. Snead versus Geiberger – no contest. Al gets the publicity because it was a PGA Tour (i.e. turf war promoted) event. As is the trend today, Snead and the old greats get pushed aside. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1070572/index.htm

  2. Yes, I think you are right and there were some other 59′s as well but my understanding was that this was the first on a par 72. Do you know the course setup for snead’s? I’ll look into it and make edits…

  3. Yes Snead’s was at the Greenbrier, Par 70. Still very impressive… thanks for the link that’s a really cool write up.

  4. Avatar of anguis anguis says:

    Both 59′s impressive – though I’d be afraid to even try to play the clubs and ball that Snead played. We shouldn’t try to compare era’s – but Snead was a one off.
    Love the Nicklaus evolution piece. I’m a fan of Jack but obviously we all have ego’s.

  5. Avatar of Blade Junkie Blade Junkie says:

    13 under with classic kit on a course measuring over 7,200 yards (on scorecard) … Pretty impressive stuff!

    Lovely swing as well.

  6. Avatar of Alec Alec says:

    That’s awesome, the wedges look pure. If anyone has ever seen the interviews where he goes through the round he always goes Zen/Out of Body Experience third person. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. Great find PGT!

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