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Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:36 am
by lagpressure

I was really inspired watching this match on the Challenge Golf Series. I had never seen the footage before other than a few clips such as the overhead swings etc.
I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the great game as it correctly existed in the last generation and comment on it as it was happening to my eyes for the first time. So fun to see things put back into proper proportions!
Lots of great long iron play off the fairways, and to have the big three along with Mike Souchak who seems out of his league being only a 15 time winner on the PGA Tour :lol:
NIcklaus, Palmer, Player really in their primes, all playing together. Just fantastic stuff.

If you have seen it... feel free to view it through new eyes, if you haven't seen it, it's very educational.

Surely a lot of my traditional golf propaganda 8-) , but I really do feel there are a lot of people that need to see this, and so many younger golfers have no idea golf used to be
played like this.

Persimmon enthusiasts, spread the word!

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Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:35 pm
by robbo
John - such a great hour of analysis. It should be mandatory viewing for any hardcore golfer under the age of 30 or so. I’m guessing that would cover the majority of players who totally missed out on the persimmon/balata era.....and it’s a shame they did. Perhaps even trying to nail down a number is the wrong about anyone who’s never hit a balata (or even a Tour Professional).

What I like about playing Senior events here in Florida is that most everyone I’m playing with can relate to that era. I try and make a point of reminding my competitors of that and even then I suspect some have totally forgotten how much more difficult the game was then. That ball was such a report card about your swing! I really wish they’d bifurcate and get today’s elite players to use 60’s era driver head sizes and a spinnier ball. Keep the titanium but let’s take 100 cc’s off the head size.

Anyway - great idea to overlay your analysis of this match. It’s a needed perspective and at least it’s digitally archived now for all.


Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:12 pm
by lagpressure
Can you believe how many long irons they were hitting into the par 4's? .... and they didn't even show the two longest par 4's. I wish they would have showed the whole match.
The #1 handicap hole was 416 yards. Souchak is basically the Dustin Johnson of that era, and he miss hits his drive a bit and has
2 iron into the green! Then he hits it dead stiff! 3 feet from the cup! Just so awesome!
The other guys are coming in with 3, 4, and 5 irons. It's 416 yards. But like I said, the average drive was really less than 250.
When they hit it good it was 250, but if they didn't hit it on the insert it went 220. So really 250 was not an average drive for many of them.

If you think about it.. a 250 yard drive is going the length of 2 1/2 football fields. Why can't golfers be thrilled with that?

Those swings were just incredible, so flowing and powerful... all of them. No sign of a caddy walking off yardages, and how great was their distance
control? It was far better than what we see today. I think Palmer missed over the green on that one hole with a 3 or 4 iron.... and his shot out of the lake mud is just priceless.

The fairways look like today's first cut of rough or worse really.
How about Player flagging that thing out of that divot in the fairway?

Rougher conditions, but very natural. Like playing in a nice park. Huge greens for that era.

Only Souchak gets home on a par 5, and how about the expression on his face when he just rips that Eye O Matic 3 wood off the turf, just two monster shots and the thing just trickles up onto the front edge. The other guys are back hitting wedge shots for their third.

Just so fun to see real 3 shot 5 pars again. Those holes were not easy because you had to drive it into the fairway AND hit another straight and well placed second shot to set up the approach.

This was and is absolutely how golf was supposed to be played.

It was fun to watch and do the commentary because I had not watched the match before. I was mostly right on my predictions but wrong a couple of times like when Jack holes that downhill slider putt from above the hole. "He won't make this" and he canned it!

Oh, and the sound of those strikes.. persimmon crushing the balata... such a beautiful swooshing sound.

I also love those classic putting strokes.. How about Player's stroke? Just textbook. Love the wrist action and they all putted great on those less than perfect greens.

I didn't know there was footage of the big three all going at it in the same group (prime years). Wish Trevino was there, but I think he was still in junior high school.

I do hope people see it. If any of you are on some of the other golf sites, facebook etc... do post it. It really is something people need to see and appreciate.

Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:44 pm
by Turfrider
I was expecting to see a greater disparity in driving distance between the players. I thought Jack would outdrive the others consistently but it didn't appear so.
I know Arnold was known for some big drives and Souchak as well, but I thought Player would have more distance to make up. Do you think Jack played his drives at 80%, with a touch in reserve, while Gary had to go pretty much 100% all the time?

Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:37 pm
by lagpressure
It sure looked like they were all going at it pretty hard. Certainly Player was.
I'm sure there was a bit of ego in there as well. It's just natural with players of that talent level.

But the thing is, there just isn't that big a disparity, not like today's game. Back then a long hitter was 20 yards by the others, not 50 or more.
Just a few years back when Pavin was still playing on the regular tour, the guy he was playing against.. can't remember who it was, but he was 70 yards past Corey. That's 7 clubs. That's like one guy hitting a 2 iron and the other a 9 iron.

The persimmon inserts didn't have the springboard effect that the frying pans have. I have seen some tech stuff on that and read that some of the spring doesn't really kick in until 120 mph.. so it actually hugely benefits the longer hitters.

I'll tell you one thing for sure... it is NOT because players of this generation are bigger and stronger etc. Look at Souchak! All those guys were strong.
Jack's legs were like tree trunks, and Palmer's forearms are like steel pistons. Player was always a crazy fitness buff. Those guys would be murdering the modern gear.. BUT they would NOT be hitting it straight. The modern clubs are way too light and you just can't feel the heads at those kind of swing speeds. It puts the body totally out of sync for most.

Pauma Valley was or is pretty wide open compared to most of the courses those guys would play, so it was a swingfest out there. But they were used to having to hit it straight on all those tight tree lined classic tracks the tour used to play.

If I did an analysis of Riviera CC, compared to today's set up.. I am sure I would give it quite a thrashing. I played Riviera many times and know how that course used to play with balata - persimmon. I actually watched Sam Snead play in the LA Open! I remember Sam hitting a 3 wood into the second hole...yes a par 4. One of the guys in his group, I think it was either Hale Irwin or Johnny Miller.... because we followed both were all coming in with either fairway wood or 2 irons. That was a long tough hole. I am sure there are guys hitting wedges or short irons into that hole now. What a bore really.

Long iron play was and should be absolutely integral to professional championship golf. Like Robbo said, the long irons were a real report card of your golf swing. And why wouldn't we still want that? I do.

If can flush long irons off the deck into par 4's with accuracy, you'll have no problem with shorter irons or woods on tees. The rest then was all ball control and you NEED spin to gain that masterful control of shape.

They pros would play the spinniest ball that was offered, because being able to bend and shape the ball opened up many more opportunities for shotmaking. We never wanted a ball that didn't spin well.

But today with huge greens and short irons into all the par 4's, no one needs high spinning balls. The pros today would fear it off the tee. They can't even keep the low spinning balls in play let alone a high spinning ball. So they never learn the shots that the last generation HAD to learn to be world champion.

It might be fun to do a commentary on a course like Riviera and just do a back and forth showing how it used to play compared to today. An editing nightmare, but doable.

Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:44 pm
by k2baloo
I really enjoyed watching that one. Hadn't seen any of the footage before except for the overhead shots. I wish they had shown more holes though.

Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:11 pm
by lagpressure ... -distance/

Just got a PM from an ABS member. Ironic that this article just came out in Golfweek.
Has the high tide turned?

Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:38 pm
by stevemcgee99
I'd watched that a few weeks ago. Cool to find the game those overhead shots came from.

Also really wished they showed all the holes. Even Shell games don't. Cancel Bewitched or Hollywood Squares and SHOW ME ALL THE HOLES!

Commentary is awesome. Watched half last night and will do the second half tonight.

It would be cool to hear your comments on all sorts of rounds, actually. Like Littler and Nelson at Pine Valley (holy moly that course looks very hard.)

Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:26 am
by lagpressure
It probably would be good to do one on The Masters.
I suppose there is a whole generation of golfers and fans of the game who just have no idea how much
things have changed.

Re: Nicklaus Palmer Player Souchak Analysis (Challenge Match)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:26 pm
by lagpressure
1.jpg (108.4 KiB) Viewed 2885 times

US Open Golf Rough vs Modern Super Golf US Open rough.

Thinking of Jack Nicklaus. This picture of Jack at Pebble Beach 7th hole 1972 US Open Golf.
Just hours before his historic "hit the pin with a 1 iron" 17th hole.

I was actually there in the gallery just to the right of the tee. The roar was something I will never forget.