THE 10-MINUTE INTERVIEW // Tad Moore, Clubmaker (GolfWire)

THE 10-MINUTE INTERVIEW // Tad Moore, Clubmaker (GolfWire)

Tad Moore was first introduced to the craft of clubmaking at a golf club outside of Toledo, Ohio, where his mother played. By the early 1960s, Moore was designing his own clubs for others to play. Moore, 73, has been at it ever since. In the second part of Moore’s interview with The Golf Wire’s Stuart Hall, Moore talks about the past, including his penchant for hickory clubs.

Q.: Did noted clubmakers Scotty Cameron and Bob Bettinardi work for you?

MOORE: Scotty was involved when we did the first Maxfli milled putters, so I guess you could say he did work for me or worked on that same project. He had left the company he previously worked for and didn’t really have anything going. Scott and I were friends, so I had him help me make the Maxfli putters.

Bob Bettinardi actually manufactured some putters for me for about three years. And Bob is a great machinist, and I went to him and we had some great putters manufactured there at Bettinardi.

Q.: For all of the golf club’s evolution, you have turned back the clock somewhat and are now making hickory clubs, correct?

MOORE: I got very interested in playing with hickory golf clubs back around 1990 and in playing with them, I found it was very difficult to get certain good scoring or playing clubs over here [in the United States] or even in Scotland.

My friend just said to me, ‘Well, why don’t you just make them? You make other clubs.’

So I started making hickory clubs about 10 or 12 years ago, and that is ultimately what brought me here to Selma, [Alabama]. I acquired most of the old Otey Crisman club-making equipment. The main thing was the wood lathes to turn the shafts. So we do manufacture a line of reproduction pre-1935 hickory clubs. We even manufacture clubs that were played around 1880 to 1885.

It’s a great experience, a lot of people are finding out more about hickory clubs and playing them. It’s just a great experience.

Q.: Is there anything you have found by going back and reproducing these old clubs that is applicable to today’s designs?

MOORE: The statement people make about there is very little new in the game of golf is probably pretty true.

We’re playing the hickory game with a modern golf ball, and we play from yardages that are less than what we would play with modern clubs. People who play with hickory clubs will play basically the same score they shoot with modern clubs, but they’re playing from a shorter distance.

So what it has proven to me is that the game is pretty much the same. It points out you have to hit in the fairway, knock it on the green and then have to make putts. The supposed gains in equipment have not necessarily been gains that brought about tremendous reduction in our scores. And I think most people see that.

By looking at the old game and looking at what I do in the new game, I think there are some really good things I can draw from, particularly in the case of putters. A hickory putter, although it really doesn’t have much torque – people want to say torque when you’re talking about hickory – it does have a lot of feel. So what I try and do is recreate the feel of the old golf club and the new golf club. That way you really do get a true feeling back so that you can understand if you mishit a putt versus hitting a putt on the right place on the putter.

All these kind of things you think about when you’re designing something.


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