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For the second write up of the “Classic Club Profile” series I’m going with Wilson Dynapower “Turfrider”.

Not to be confused with the Wilson “Turfrider” woods from the 50′s, the “Turfrider” iron model ran from 1962 to 1963 as part of Wilson’s Dynapower line.  The “Dyna” line can be divided into eras:  “Dyna-Weight” models ran from 1950 through 1955.  1956 through 1961 models were called “Dyna-Powered” and 1962 – 1975 were just “Dynapower”.  These were some of the first models to use the bore-through hosel, allowing redistribution of weight to the muscleback. The composite button that plugs the hole was black up to 1961 and red from 1962 to 1975.  The Turfriders were the second model stocked with the “Staff Pro” shafts, one of the finest shafts of the era.

Wilson had a top shelf group of advisory staff in the professional ranks and used their input to iterate and improve the Dyna line relative to previous 50′s models.  Sam Snead wanted less digging and requested the front edged be rounded.  The contoured sole, another divot reducing feature, was recommended by Julius Boros.  The short hosel was allegedly inspired by Willie Ogg.  Cary Middlecoff is credited with suggesting individually graduated steps in the shafts.  At the time other companies had shafts with step patterns in pairs or sets of three clubs.  The shaft bands were positioned on the first step such that the individually graduated features could easily be viewed from a display stand.

Here’s what I like about the clubs and some general comments on their performance:

  • The heads on the long irons are very low profile but they transition to larger sizes in the short irons.  The short irons have significantly larger faces than modern blades and the 8 iron (not pictured) is a monster.  This makes them very heavy which is quite nice.  I’ll try to get weights and swingweights and update this data.
  • No offset to speak of.  Center of shaft lines up nicely around the 3rd groove.
  • My set has the stock stiff shafts and they are VERY stiff.  Great performing shafts that should support those with higher swing speeds nicely.
  • The Turfrider sole goes through the ground easier than the 1950′s gear I’ve used (like the M85′s) but don’t expect the rounded, high bounce soles that you’d see on modern gear.  Compared to today’s blades the sole is still flat.  It transitions from narrow to wide as you move from hosel to toe which I think positions the center of gravity more in the center of the club instead of towards the hosel.
  • Very solid feeling when struck properly.  For me, these don’t go as far as some of my other sets but that is likely due to length and loft.  The blade shape and squarish toe sets up well to my eye and these are my favorite model of the Dyna’s I’ve tried.

This model goes for around $60 – 100 on Ebay.  They kind of fly under the radar because people are looking for the more popular 69 bulletbacks or 72 buttonbacks.  Highly recommended vintage set.

As always, if you think I’ve made errors in this feature please comment or let me know and I’ll edit accordingly.

Sources:  Golf Club Identification and Price Guide IV (Golfworks), Golf Classics Price and Identification Guide (Mike Doherty)

 

 

4 Responses to “Classic Club Profile – Wilson Dynapower “Turfrider””

  1. Avatar of freddiec freddiec says:

    Nice review ! They look like a classic iron and I know Snead probably played the same exact iron in his bag, talk about a set with such a great heritage. My late Grandfather had a set he purchased new I think it was around 1971, they were the buttonbacks. He played them in his bag with the matching staff woods up until the year he quit playing because he was unable to. That was around 2007. He worked full time up until he was in this early 70s, owned his own construction business. When he retired he played 3 to 4 times a week at semi private course. My family and my uncles used to tease him how or why he never changed his equipment and didn’t “get with the times”. He loved those Dynas. He obviously was a smart player who knew real tools.

  2. Avatar of Brian Brian says:

    These truly are one of the classics and you’re right that they don’t get the attention they deserve as compared to the other Staff irons. I’ve had a set of these (reshafted with DG S400s) for about 14 years. With the exception of the ’68 model, I’ve played all the Staff irons from 62-75 and these are my go-to set, although I have a mid 70s custom order set with modern lengths and lofts and X shafts that’s a close second.

    I’m not sure where I read it, but somewhere I read that the Turfriders were Mickey Wright’s favorite and that she played with them the majority of her career.

    You mentioned the squarish toe, but compared to the other Dynapowers, the toes on these are quite rounded. It’s a very different look at address.

  3. Thanks Brian. Didn’t know that about Mickey Wright but she was indeed on the Wilson staff and the timing fits so it makes sense. Glad I’m not the only one that appreciates these classics.

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