We’re not the kind of a family who has big fancy things to pass on from generation to generation. No 19:th century grandfather clock. No Green Bay Packers season tickets. No 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang. No deed to a castle in Romania. It’s not a cultural statement or anything, and it’s not like we frown on things like this, but it’s just not something we have.
I am glad to report, however, that we do have a set of most excellent iron clubs that are now on their third generation in our family.
In 1983 I had been playing golf for about 4-5 years. I was 18 years old, and just finishing High School. I was shooting in the 80s and 90s, and I was already 6ft7 tall. At this time, golf equipment was extraordinarily expensive in my native country of Sweden. It only made sense that I pick up some clubs before I headed back.
Given my height the logical choice was Ping, since at this time they were the only manufacturer who made customized sets. With my measurements, they hooked me up with a set of Green Dot, which is the most upright clubs they made at time, and an inch or two extra on the shaft. Ping had just started making their second generation clubs, the Ping Eye 2, which were even more massively forgiving than the first iteration.
Remember, this was the early 80s. Good golfers played blades. Bad golfers played Ping. Those were about the only two options available.
These clubs were wonderful. Easy to hit, powerful, and consistent. I played them for years and years. When I shot my best score ever, 78 on a par 73 course, it was with the Ping Eye 2s. When I dragged a golf bag and two suitcases on a cross-world trip by bus from Kansas to New York, flight to Dortmund, and train through Europe to come home to visit, it was the Ping Eye 2s. I played them in college. When I and a buddy of mine played 81 holes in a day, it was with the Ping Eye 2s.
Then, the 90s came around. I was newly married and raising a young child. I lived in Chicago, and didn’t really know anyone who played golf. Consequently, I didn’t play a lot of golf. My dad had club envy from the time I brought these clubs home, and I decided to let him have a go with them. HE played them for years. I’d love to know which of the great courses in Scotland and Ireland he dragged them over to, but I’m certain it was more than a handful of recognizable names.
Eventually he found a new set he couldn’t live without, and returned them to me around 2000. I had just moved to Dallas, and was playing a bit more frequently. Starting in 2008 I got back serious about the game, and was still enjoying them. Shot several rounds in the low 80s.
Eventually, in 2010, I realized technology had come some distance in 27 years, and I replaced them with a set of Ping i15s. Initially I was going to get the G15s, but the i15s felt a lot more like my old buddies. I did the math, and realized that if I were to keep my new clubs as long as I had kept my old ones I’d be 72 years old when I went shopping again. Maybe there are some Ping i85s in my distant future.
So, I stuck them in the garage. As you can see by the rust coloration, I also had pool chemicals in the garage. I wasn’t about to get rid of them, but I didn’t think they’d be getting any more real use.
Lo and behold, last fall, my offspring Logan is down visiting. He’s picking up the game, and needs some new clubs. I can’t think of any better set for him to learn the game with than my old classics. A few weeks later they’re in a Fedex box traveling to Chicago. He’s taking a golf class in college this semester, and I can’t wait to get out to play a round with him.
As I’m thinking about this I can’t help but to have flashbacks to that scene in Pulp Fiction when Christopher Walken is telling the story about the watch to his buddy’s son. To paraphrase, “And now, little man, I give this uncomfortable chunk of metal to you”.
Keep’em in the short stuff.