USGA offers players a chance to embrace history on the range at the U.S. Open

usga persimmon clubs

Clubs offered for player testing by the USGA.

Ryan Barath

The U.S. Open is 123 years old this year, and just like with any USGA championship, there is history everywhere on the grounds of Los Angeles Country Club this week.

Beyond the grounds of the championship course, another place the USGA is giving the players the chance to embrace history is on the range with a selection of old persimmon clubs.

persimmon usga golf bag
The bag of old clubs outside pf player services at the U.S. Open Ryan Barath/GOLF

On Tuesday a number of players including recently-tackled Adam Hadwin and Ryan Gerard had some fun comparing their current driver to the older models with onlookers watching in awe and having fun discussing the differences in looks, sounds, and feel.

gerard us open
Ryan Gerard hitting a 1950’s persimmon Ryan Barath/GOLF

One of the most interesting comments made by an equipment rep was that even though the driver was roughly the same club length as a modern 3-wood, the head shape and size make the club actually look a lot longer when addressing the ball.

Now if you’re wondering where these historic clubs actually came from, I spoke with members of the USGA and found out that the clubs came from members of the host, Los Angeles Country Club, who either had them at home or at the club for safekeeping in the bag room. Leading up to the tournament the USGA was looking for a way to engage the members of the club and thanks to its historic nature there was no shortage of clubs to choose from.

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Last but not least, if you’re wondering just how old stacked up against new, you can check out the video below to see exactly how much of a yardage difference Adam saw between his current graphite shafted Callaway and the 1950’s steel-shafted MacGregor.

Although a few passing jokes were made by caddies saying that the driver could be useful for some of the long par 3s they will face this week, don’t expect to see any 70-year-old clubs in bags starting on Thursday when the first round of the U.S. Open kicks off.

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Ryan Barath

Golf.com Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.

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