Thrift Shop Find: Vintage Wilson Chipper

Many vintage golf clubs do not translate well to today's game, but I think the basic technology of the chipper has not changed much overt he years.



This installment of Thrift Shop Finds features a vintage Wilson Chipper that I picked up for a few dollars.

The chipper is and always has been a club designed to carry your golf ball into he air over the green side fringe and set it gently rolling toward the hole on the green. This prevents you from having to deal with the ambiguity and vagaries things such as speed of the fringe versus speed of the green and anything in the fringe which could deflect your ball off its intended course. In theory, your ball flies over the treacherous fringe and lands on the smooth green to roll at the hole.



The design of the chipper is generally that of a putter with loft. The golfer can grip, set up and stroke the ball pretty much as he or she would with a putter and the ball will take flight briefly before landing and rolling on the green.

For many golfer this is a major problem-solver in getting the ball from the fringe to the hole. Personally, I prefer to use a 7 iron as a chipper and save the spot in my bag for an extra wedge or fairway wood, but this is strictly a personal choice and varies from golfer to golfer.



That said, if I were to chose to carry a chipper, I think I would save a few dollars on this low-tech club and use one such as the Wilson I have featured in this entry. It is a nice looking club, in very good condition with a classy real leather wrap-type grip.



Keep you eyes open and you can occasionally find one of these in your local thrift shop at a real steal!

Click here to see all Chipper listings in Brian’s BritesideGolf Club Shop on eBay

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Click here to go to Brian’s BritesideGolf Club Shop on eBay

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Tiger Woods - When it rains, it pours



As a long-time Tiger fan and a happily married father of three (not to mention an golf fanatic), I guess it's my time to weigh in on the Tiger Woods situation.

I bought into the Tiger phenomenon years ago, and am one of the missing TV viewers whenever Tiger's missing from the field. I've always contended that while many pros, most notably Phil Mickleson, tend to wither under pressure and the spotlight, Tiger almost always shines. Until recently I believed that Tiger was a shoe-in to surpass Jack on the all-time majors win list. I loved watching Tiger pitch a ball onto the green at Augusta and watching roll through impossible undulations and drop perfectly into the cup, Nike logo and all, or or seeing him roll and bounce a 12 footer home to break Rocco's heart. Ironically, I recently told my wife that I'd love a TW logo cap for a holiday gift. I'm a 52-year-old man who should be long past the sports hero phase, but still considered Tiger a hero. I think that Tiger is what sports should be and is all about.

However, in watching the latest chapter of the Tiger legend I've come to realize what we all know: there are some things more important than sports. It's as plain and simple as that. When a man makes a commitment to a woman to marry and raise a family, there should be no confusion or gray areas in that commitment.

I've not earned a billion dollars in my career as a photographer and have no idea how I would handle the temptations and dark opportunities that might come with that, but I'd like to believe that I'd have the integrity and self-honesty that would enable me to realize that what I have waiting for me at home is infinitely more valuable that anything I might briefly encounter in any hotel room on the road.

I'm probably naive, and I obviously have no idea what goes on behind closed doors at the Tiger Woods home, but I also know that today's sports world is full of young athletes who have taken a good look inside themselves and realized that with the temptations dangling in front of them, they'd prefer to remain single for the time being and live out the fantasy of many young American males. I have to believe that that is a more honorable route to take than Tiger opted for.

Anyway, I'd love to be a Tiger fan again and thrill to his magnificence on the golf course, but for now I'll root for Phil.

BritesideGolf.com is a site dedicated to the belief that you don't have to break the bank to play good golf and enjoy your time on the golf course

BritesideGolf.com is a site dedicated to the belief that you don't have to break the bank to play good golf and enjoy your time on the golf course

Click here to go to Brian’s BritesideGolf Club Shop on eBay

You can contact me anytime at via email at brian@britesidegolf.com

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7-iron Shootout - Hogan Magnum vs. Hogan Apex II


This is the first entry of a my new Blog Category: 7-Iron Shootout. Since many of my second shots are 7 or 5 irons, I figure that the 7 iron from a set of clubs would be a good litmus test of how I would like that set of clubs and how it would perform for me. Therefore, in this series I'll compare 7 irons from various sets of clubs in my collection to see how they stack up for me. This information may prove helpful to other golfers when researching used golf equipment. Of course, many, but not all, of my used golf clubs are available for sale at Brian's Britesidegolf eBay Golf Club Shop!

Today's column matches up the Ben Hogan ApexII 7 iron and the Hogan Magnum 7 iron.

The look: As you can see in the photos above, the Apex II irons were produced by Hogan from 1979 to 1983. They are a classic set of blades with very thin heads bearing a nice Ben Hogan signature on the back and a silhouette of his head in profile. The Magnums were produced from 1986 to 1988 and seem to be a forerunner of the hybrid-style irons with very broad soles and deep cavity backs.

The feel: I've always liked the feel of a big, heavy iron in my hands. They seem to inspire confidence in a golfer of questionable talent (like myself) and make you feel like the ball is actually going to go somehwere when you hit it. In this respect I would have to give the nod to the Magnums.

The test: My swing was actually in pretty good form this morning when I hit the driving range with these two clubs and this is what I discovered: Both clubs were about equal in distance, producing shots of about 145 to 150 yards when properly struck. To my surprise, the Apex II blades did produce the longest shots on really purely struck hits, about 155 yards.

The Magnum shots tended to drift to the left, while the Apex II II shots tended to drift slightly right in comparison. When I really concentrated on my swing, I was able to produce a draw with the Apex II, while virtually everything I hit with the Magnums went left to varying degrees. This would seem to say that a good golfer could probably work the ball better with the Apex II's.

On mis-hits, the magnums produced shots that went way left. Not snap hooks, but shots that were pulled a good 25-30 yards left of target, but still with reasonable distance. Mis-hits with the Apex II's were less predictable. Some were short, hooking shanks and some were nasty hard slicing disasters, while a few were pull shots similar to the Magnum mistakes. I would conclude that the Magnums were the more forgiving clubs.

Both clubs produced nice, high flying shots when properly struck and gave that good , satisfying "on the screws" feeling.

I think in the hands of a talented low-handicapper the Apex II's would probably be the club of choice, while the Magnums might be the better choice for the golfer out for fun and just trying to keep the ball in play.

Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

Brian Cleary

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A couple of 51-year-olds play a quick nine holes



I recently had the opportunity to purchase a complete set of Wilson Dyna-Powered Staff Model golf clubs. It included 1, 2, 3, and 4 woods and 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW and SW and the blade type Wilson Augusta putter. It even came with the original cloth and leather bag.

A little research and I discovered that this set was roughly a 1957 model , which is also the year I was born. I got to thinking that someday, since I play a different set of irons every time I play anyway, I should work this set into the rotation. Well, today it happened. My son and I went to our "home" course , Riviera Country Club in Holly Hill, Florida for a late afternoon 9 holes, and I packed my vintage Wilson set into the car as my weapons of choice for the day.

It was an interesting trip back in time for me, offering a glimpse of the tools that golfers who were playing 50 years ago had available for their use. It was also interesting to compare how my score with these clubs would stack up against my score when armed with more modern equipment. I expected my score to be a little higher with the old clubs and I expected my distance, especially off the tee would suffer with the older gear. Both of these expectations came true, but overall I was a little surprised at how well the clubs and I performed together.

On the first hole, a short par five, I hit the old wooden driver 225 yards into the left rough. This would be a consistent theme of the nine holes, as I hit only one fairway, and pulled all the par 4 and 5 tee shots to the left. Not really a draw, just a high, soaring drive that went a little left. My second shot was a five iron to about 40 yards out. A pitching wedge landed just left of the green and a chip and putt gave me a par.

On the second hole, a 147 yard par three, my 6 iron landed about 10 feet to the left of the flag and I two putted for a par. I was now even through 2 holes.

On the third hole I hit a 2-wood directly into the late afternoon sun. It felt good and sounded good, only I never saw it and never found the ball. In retrospect, I should have looked down the left side of the fairway, but force of habit made me search on the right. This was before I realized that I tended to pull these clubs. Still, even with the penalty stroke, I managed a bogey.

Things then started to stray. M tee shot on the fourth went left (again) and found water. A surprisingly strong and straight 5-iron found the back bunker and sloppy sand play made a complete mess of that hole.

I finished out the round hitting only one fairway, with every single other wood veering left off the tees. Poorly struck tee shots on the two remaining par threes (this course has 3 of them on the front nine) left me with a mediocre score of 49 for nine holes. Still, I took only 19 putts on the nine holes, with two three-putts and one one-putt. Nor great, but not as bad as I expected from the skinny Wilson Augusta blade.

The irons and the would felt kind of stiff and dead compared to today's more springy clubs, and although the distance was somewhat less that I was used to, just adding a club or two to the distances compensated nicely. I really enjoyed the classic "golf shot" sound of the woods (click here) and like the classy look of the chrome and leather of the irons. I also found it refreshing to use the bare minimum in putter design. It was just me, the hole, the ball and one thin piece of metal on the greens. Unlike many of today's clubs, these irons, when mis-hit, did not nudge the ball back in its intended direction. If you don't hit these clubs squarely, you find yourself digging through the weeds not very far from where you just struck the ball.

All in all it was great fun, and gave me a whole new appreciation of the golfers of yesterday and the clubs of today, and was an experiment I'd highly recommend to everyone.

BritesideGolf.com is a site dedicated to the belief that you don't have to break the bank to play good golf and enjoy your time on the golf course

Click here to go to Brian’s BritesideGolf Club Shop on eBay

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Better to be lucky than good!

I've not yet had one of those days on the golf course when everything seems to go right, but yesterday I did play the front nine in a fashion that made it seem like I really knew what I was doing. It all fell apart on the back nine, but that's another story altogether. Anyway, on the front nine I started off slowly, but not badly , for me, bogeying the first 3 holes. On the fourth hole, a short par 4, I hit an eight iron about 4 feet from the pin and sunk the birdie putt. On #8, a 168 yard par three, my four iron landed about 12 feet short on a line straight at the pin and I was able to roll in another birdie putt. Those two birdies couple with two more pars and overall fairly decent play got me to the turn at 40.

The shot that sticks out in my mind, however, was not a particularly good one. I was lying two, about 120 yards out on the 457 yard par 5 seventh hole, after pushing my drive into a bunker and then hitting a decent five iron back into the fairway. In other words I was right where I wanted to be. I grabbed my nine iron and walked confidently up to the ball. I swung and hit an ugly, fat shot left of the green which was going to land about 25 yards short. However, the ball caught the edge of the cart path and bounced crazily toward the pin, ending up about seven feet right of the hole. In one of my normal rounds, the ball would have bounded left, or maybe even right back toward me, but on this day, my positive energy seemed to have charged my game and even my bad shots turned out good. It's a feeling I'm not used to!

I just missed the birdie putt, which was OK with me, since I figured I didn't really deserve a birdie after that shot anyway.

On the back nine, my karma totally reversed itself as I pressed a little harder, realizing that my lifelong goal of breaking 80 was with possible reach. Nothing went right, from chunked chip shots, to shanked tee shots, to a greens maintenance guy riding noisily up to the edge a the green just as I was about to chip on and parking there staring at me as I muffed the shot. (That's no excuse, but annoying none-the-less)

So, at the end of the day, my score was a lot worse than some days, and a lot better than others, but basically average. I did experience for nine holes that rare feeling of invincibility, where even my bad shots turned out good and where my luck ran to the positive side. I'm still waiting for the day when I can ride that wave for 18 holes.

BritesideGolf.com is a site dedicated to the belief that you don't have to break the bank to play good golf and enjoy your time on the golf course

Click here to go to Brian’s BritesideGolf Club Shop on eBay

You can contact me anytime at via email at brian@britesidegolf.com

Be sure to make BritesideGolf.com a regular stop in your online golf journey!

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