These old-school advertisements will make you want retro golf gear

Retro PING golf ad

Historic Ping ad from GOLF Magazine.

Golf Magazine Archives

Old books and magazines are windows into years gone by, and when it comes to golf history there is a lot of great information that can be mined from those resources. From instructional articles to interviews with some of the greatest to ever play the game, you can get lost searching out these features all over the internet or in dusty libraries.

Lee Trevino instructional article from 1979 Golf Magazine

But when it comes to and GOLF Magazine (which began well before the age of the internet) we are lucky to have access to almost every issue of GOLF Magazine ever published from cover to cover, which, lucky for us, has all those instructional pieces, essays, and…ads for golf equipment! I

I should let you know that you can access these same archives when you become an InsideGOLF member.

With that in mind, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the ads from golf’s early brands including a few of the very first ads from some of the biggest equipment makers.

Things sure have changed

One of the biggest changes that has occurred in magazine advertisements over the years is obvious right from the start and that is the amount of actual words. Or as we say in the biz — copy. Each ad clearly leans on the written word to explain the clubs and products being sold. Since there was no other way of relaying a message to consumers, many of these ads including the below examples from MacGregor and Ben Hogan have more words than some articles nowadays.

MacGregor ad featuring Jack Nicklaus from 1983 GOLF Magazine
Ben Hogan ad for Apex II blade irons GOLF Magazine

It was just the beginning

TaylorMade Golf was founded in 1979 by Gary Adams, who also happens to lay claim to creating the original metal wood — the Pittsburgh Persimmon. Although that club debuted in 1979, persimmon drivers were relevant for the next 15 years, as the final men’s major was won with a true persimmon driver in 1993 thanks to Bernhard Langer.

By 1983 TaylorMade was very committed to the driver game, with five different models to choose from, including some names that golfers are still familiar with today. The below ad pages are from a 1983 edition of Golf Magazine and covered seven back-to-back pages.

1983 TaylorMade Golf ad – page 1 Golf Magazine

According to the ads, drivers and fairway woods — or metals — were $90 with a steel shaft or $150 with a graphite one. To put that $150 into perspective, according to inflation calculations that is just under $500 in 2023 bucks, so not a bad deal when you think about it.

1983 TaylorMade Golf ad – page 3 GOLF Magazine

Putters on the other hand were a complete steal with a suggested retail price of $30, or a whopping $35 for the premium DirectAim model.

1983 TaylorMade Golf ad – page 3 GOLF Magazine
1983 TaylorMade Golf ad – page 4 GOLF Magazine

Ahead of their time

Any time we mention that Ping pioneered custom fitting, we really mean it. They focused on fitting to the point that you could send your personal measurements to Ping using a self-addressed pre-paid card and they would offer you fitting recommendations in return.

1989 Ping golf ad with mail in custom fitting form GOLF Magazine

Now speaking of more firsts, the below ad from Ping features an odd invention that today is a mainstay in the golf world, and that is a lightweight carry bag with an automatic popout stand.

1991 Ping ad showcasing one of their first cary bags with a fold out stand Golf Magazine

When it was first launched the Ping L8+ was considered something that might never catch on, but look where stand bags are today. Everywhere.

PING Women’s G Le3 Irons

PING G LE3 A complete line of performance-engineered clubs custom made for women to inspire the confidence to hit higher, longer shots with score lowering consistency. The lightweight, easy to swing clubs rely on the proven success of the PING G430 technology, including added distance, unmatched forgiveness, confidence-inspiring sound, and an emphasis on helping golfers achieve reliable distance gaps with every club their bag. A sophisticated color combination of navy, gold and silver accents give the G Le3 its own identity, creating a premium and high-performance appeal for women serious about having fun on the course. IRONS In the lightweight, stainless-steel irons, a lower CG and custom-engineered lofts produce more ball speed and measurable, predictable distance gains. Forgiveness is achieved through high-density heel and toe weights, which also allow for lighter swingweights and overall weight, making them easier to swing. The irons also benefit from a metal-wood-style face structure and a multi-material PurFlex cavity badge, contributing to more consistent face flexing along with a soft and pleasing feel and sound. The G Le3 sand wedge relies on the proven design attributes of the iconic PING EYE2 sand wedge while ensuring a modern-day appeal. Its slimmer hosel, wider sole and more traditional head shape combined with fully machined grooves help take the fear out of one of the most intimidating shots in golf. Lightweight, perimeter weighted 17-4 stainless steel heads (6-9, PW, UW, SW) Multi-material PurFlex cavity badge promotes face flexing, improves feel and sound High density heel and toe weights increase MOI for more forgiveness New bounce profiles improve turf interaction and impact consistency to minimize shots that come up short Hydropearl Chrome 2.0 finish Machined grooves on PW, UW, SW (loft # indicated on toe) EYE2-style sand wedge designed for confidence from the sand
View Product

Women’s clubs have come a long way

Considering how many options golfers of all abilities have in today’s modern game, it’s hard to imagine a world when your options as a new golfer were either blades or a different set of blades — even for women. As the first ad from Ben Hogan demonstrates, they were at least using different shaft options that would help make the game a little easier in 1970.

1970 Ben Hogan Apex ladies irons ad GOLF Magazine

Almost a decade and a half later, TaylorMade had the Ladies’ Technicians that offered more mass lower in the head to make the irons more forgiving and easier to hit, but you won’t find many men’s or women’s sets offering a 3-iron anymore.

Ad for TaylorMade ladies technician irons Golf Magazine

Hopefully you enjoyed this trip down memory lane, and don’t worry there is plenty more where this came from in the GOLF Magazine archives, which you can always access as an InsideGOLF member.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.

Exit mobile version