When former President Ford conked a spectator at a pro-am golf tournament recently, his slice was to blame.
Now the Professional Golfers Association which is more concerned with the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] pro and the people who pay the freight for golf, has come up with a set of irons designed to keep the ball on target and reduce the slice and hook.
Charlie Bassler, the Indian Spring pro, was one of the first to receive the new "Concept" irons, made by the PGA-Victor Co., the commercial arm of the PGA of America. The irons are not on public sale but when they are, a new trend is expected.
"The problem about the golf clubs," says Bassler, one of the nation's top club pros who won the Maryland Open seven times and qualified for 12 U.S. Opens, "is that they are generally made to the specifications of the tour pros - and don't help the average golfer at all. These new clubs will do something for the man or woman who comes out a few times a week or maybe only in weekends. It will help them enjoy the game more."
In essence, the PGA has shifted the bulk of the head weight of the club in sequence, starting the maximum weight at the toe of the 2-iron and moving back to the heel of the wedge.
Curiously, most of the equipment companies are going for lighter irons and matched clubs. The PGA says this is the first unmatched set of clubs in 50 years because of the sequence of weight-shifting.
Bassler explained: "The hosel, or the neck, of the club is increased as the irons get shorter. For instance, in the 2-iron, the hosel is short and works up to the long-hoseled, ad long-necked, wedge.
"The whole idea is to keep the blade square at impact. The tendency is to leave the blade open on long irons and closed on short irons. With these new clubs, there is more weight in the toe on the long irons, gradually moving the weight to where it's in the heel on the wedge. I have tried the clubs and they do make for straighter shots."
Bassler has another item to help the duffer. It's a new golf ball called "The Polara." It differs from the ordinary ball in that the dimples are shallower.
"The Polara," says Bassler, "reduces the extreme hook or slice 50 to 75 per cent. "Companies have been experimenting with golf balls ever since the game was invented. The dimples are necessary to a golf ball because they increase the ball's distance and accuracy in flight. If the ball had no dimples, it would fall like a rock and there would be no way to control it."
The Polara sells for $20 a dozen. The problem for the club pro is that so many department and sporting good stores undersell the prop shop by several dollars. The PGA constantly is trying to help it's club pros make a living and one of the few avenues of revenue left is the sale of equipment.
The U.S. Golf Association has rigid standards on balls. In the U.S., the ball can weight no more tan 1.62 ounces and must measure at least 1.68 inches in diameter. The ball used in Canada and Great Britain has the same maximum weight but it can be as small as 1.62 inches in diameter.
It would surprise some people to know that there are more patents filed on golf inventions at the U.S. Patent Office than any other item. Whatever happens, maybe the poor duffer could at least be getting a break.