A Blast From My Past
Today, I'm going to begin a story that goes back to the mid-1980s, as it is not often you get visited by a ghost... well, of sorts. And next week, I'm going to give you all a chance to meet this ghost and participate in my own personal history.
It all began in 1987, when I had this idea for a new putter design — my first foray into the world of designing and building golf equipment. To set the stage, the Ping® Anser® was the most popular putter of all time, but there was a move toward high-MOI putters, manifested in the first generation of large mallet head designs. Funny how we're seeing a return to that design theme in the past few years, stimulated by the famous "three ball" and "two-ball" designs, and expanded into all kinds of shapes and sizes that resemble, to me at least, Star Trek spaceships.
Anyway, I had this idea of an innovative weighting scheme that would move mass as far away from the center of the putter as possible to match the performance of these new mallets, while retaining the basic length and width of the popular Anser. After much trial and error, a putter called "Destiny" was born in 1987. It was quite different, in that it had hollow cavities at the rear of the heel and toe, and the "shell" was a soft stainless steel, with very thin walls throughout. This allowed me to have about 25% of the putter head's overall weight move to the far rear heel and toe. I did this by using a foam insert in the cavities, pushed down to the face, and capped with a heavier lead weight on top of that, sealed off with potting epoxy. I'll save the photos for Tuesday's post.
But I did two other things that broke the mold in the putter category. First, I pioneered a long neck hosel that allowed me to position the hosel in the same general location as the Anser, but also allow me to face-balance the putter. The other radical departure from the norm was that I only built the Destiny with a graphite shaft! My reasoning then and still is that graphite just has superior feel properties to tubular steel.
Armed with a handful of first production models, I ventured out onto the PGA Tour at the 1988 Texas Open, which was then held in the fall at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio. I had a reasonable amount of interest and put a number of putters in play in the hands of top professionals. Robert Wrenn shot lower and lower each day with the Destiny, finishing the tournament with a course-record-tying 62 on Sunday to finish second. If Corey Pavin hadn't been on some other planet that week, Robert would have won.
In the ensuing months, Destiny earned its way into the bags of over 30 tour pros, had two in play in the 1989 Masters, and was in Ian Baker Finch's hands in a four-page spread on putting in Golf Digest in 1989. It could have been a smash hit if we had the capital to really tell the story. But alas, the financial partner vanished, and Destiny was relegated to the history books. I went on to design over a hundred more putters, irons, wedges, and even persimmon woods, all of which manifested in the forming of SCOR Golf in 2011.
So, the reason I tell this story is that a few weeks ago, a gentleman called me to say that he had found a box of unassembled Destiny putter heads, complete with weights and foam inserts. We agreed that we would each keep a few, but I would build the rest and we'd sell them to my blog followers, with 100% of the proceeds going to our favorite charities.
So, there is the beginning of a story that will run through next week. On Tuesday, I'll show you in pictures how the Destiny comes together and why it works so well. I'll be personally building all 15 of these in our SCOR Golf facility this weekend. And on Friday, I'll tell you how 15 readers will have a chance to own one by making a charitable contribution. Each will be signed by me and numbered as "1 of 15", "2 of 15", etc.
This is going to be fun.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.
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Kevin Langdon (7)