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Leftovers From a Talk With Sir Nick Faldo

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Had the chance for a brief interview with Sir Nick Faldo Monday morning to get some background and info on his days as a Penfold staffer for my article on Penfold Golf's history (click here). As you'd expect, he had some interesting things to say, such as asking me why I was asking him about stuff that happened over 40 years ago on a Monday morning!

About the Penfold GX100 ball he used to win his first tournament in 1978:

"I still have the ball I won the British PGA with. It was a clubs GT100 number three. And to be honest, it wasn't a great ball. It wasn't round. When I turned pro Titleist gave me a ring gauge that was 1.682 - two thousandths of an inch over 1.68, and I still have that gauge today. That ring gauge went everywhere with me throughout my entire career.

I went to the Penfold factory and told them to get me any dozen. So they pulled a dozen off the shelf and I put the balls through the ring gauge and they wouldn't go through. It was like 10 out of a dozen that wouldn't go through."

"That was kind of standard at the time, and that's why Titleist prided themselves on making the most consistent golf ball. But I think every other brand didn't have that quality control."

Nick also discussed what some of the ball inconsistencies would mean to the pro game back then:

"I did the epsom salt trick right into the end of the 90's. It was amazing how much different it could make just on a putt. On a 30-foot putt it could be a cup different. I used to hit putts across the green and monitor where I was missing, left or right. Then I'd find the right spot on the ball, lay it down and try it again, and it's be left edge or right edge. It was amazing. 

All the variable you think about with the equipment we used back then, it was completely different. The grips, the shaft, everything. It was by eye or by feel, where now it's by science."

NIck also had a thing or two to say about modern scoring records...

"I think they should have asterisks. If somebody shot a 63 on a course to set the course record, and now somebody shoots a 62, it's not fair. It's completely different. You can even throw in agronomy, the conditions of the course - they're like carpets now. We battled some pretty rough lies in some places, with rough, bumpy greens. Now it's perfect. Sure, it's longer, but they hit it longer. It's the quality of the equipment now - it's science. It's science today versus feel back then."

"The cover was soft in those days. You could crease a bill if you skied it with your driver. A mishit with a persimmon would cost you anything form 15 to 20 yards, and some accuracy as well. I could go left or right. Today these guys can hardly tell. You mishit it and it's four yards shorter. Well, that's four yards when you're hitting it 340 yards."

Sir NIck played Titleist balls in the 80's and 90's, except for his first Open Championship, where he used a Maxfli because it flew lower and performed better in the wind. 

"I remember a lovely story from when I spent time with Henry Cotton. I got six balls from Dunlop for the Open, and he and I played in practice. He'd hit a good shot and go oh, that's a good one. I'll keep that ball for the tournament. That one flew dead straight, let's save that one for the tournament."

He also said Penfold and Ram were paying big money for Tour pros in the mid to late 70's, when both brands were owned by Colgate-Palmolive. 

"They came storming in. Ram especially was playing big money, up to three times the money others were. I played a set of Penfold irons for a while."

Sir Nick went on the mention that everyone likes old brands and nostalgia. He's not involved with Penfold, but they did send him some gloves and other trinkets a while back. He did say he tweeted out an idea of creating replicas of the famous sweaters he wore during his career - he got over 1400 likes, so you never know, Sir Nick might get into the apparel business. 



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What's in the bag:
Driver:  Sub 70 639D - 9.5; :cleveland-small: Launcher HB Turbo; :mizuno-small: ST 190 
FW Wood: :tour-edge: Tour Edge EXS 220 - 15*; :mizuno-small: ST 180 14*
Hybrids:  PXG 0311 22
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*;  Lynx VT Stinger - 16*
Irons::wilson_staff_small: D7 Forged; :benhogan-small:PTx Pro, :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; :wilson_staff_small: Progressives (circa 1993)

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: CBX -2, :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60; :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model
Putter:   :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8,  :benhogan-small:Baby Ben

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X (2020); :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:

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Great stuff Barbajo! I would love to sit and chat with Sir Nick, I’m sure he has got some great stories to tell

:cobra-small: King F7+ UST Mamiya Chrome Elements 6F4 Shaft

:cobra-small: King F7 3W UST Mamiya Chrome Elements 7F4 Shaft

:cobra-small: King F7 5W UST Mamiya Chrome Elements 7F4 Shaft

:cobra-small: King F7 4 Hybrid Graphite Designs Tour AD-HY 95 Shaft

:cobra-small: King F7 5-PW UST Mamiya Recoil 95 Shafts

:cobra-small: King PuR Wedges 50*,54*,58* UST Mamiya Recoil 95 Shafts

:odyssey-small: Metal X Milled #7 with SuperStroke 3.0 grip

Arccos Generation 1 Sensors on all clubs

Snell MTB

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