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My First Time Trying MacGregor 693


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#1 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 10:59 AM

Just came back from the range.  I bought a set of original 693's from the mid-1950's and I wanted to find out for myself what all the hoopla is about with 1950's persimmons.  I researched and learned that the 693 is one of the most revered persimmons at the time.  The driver is perfect, with the grain in perfect vertical horseshoes, and there is no lead backweight on the clubhead.  So after a few warm-up shots with the wedge, then the 7 iron, then the 4 iron, I finally wanted to give one of these clubs a whack.  Before swinging it, I looked at the clubhead and realized that they were made when my father was 20 years old, and the shafts are indeed old, with the chrome pitted and shaft labels worn through years of going in and out of some guy's bag.  The clubs have stiff shafts in them, and standard lengths, with the driver at 43" and the 3 wood at 42" and the the 4 wood at 41.5".

OK, first swing with the 3 wood.  I went through my preshot routine, set up carefully, and when I pulled the trigger...HACK!  I hit the ball low on the face, the ball didn't go higher than a foot above the ground and went about maybe a hundred yards.  Disappointing.  I thought it was just a bad swing, so I gave it another try.  HACK!  The same thing.  I noticed when I waggled it and did some practice swings that the club felt heavier than the rest of my clubs.  I do not have a swingweight scale, but to me the club feels heavier in both swingweight and overall weight.

So now I gave the driver a try.  Again, realizing that this vintage club was made when my father was at the same age as when I started playing golf, I was excited to give it a try.  Again, the club felt heavy in the practice swing.  Gave it another swing and HACK!  The same thing, low on the face and only a foot above the ground.  I did a couple more swings and I could not get the ball up.

I though maybe the clubs were too heavy, or maybe persimmons back in the 1950's are not as good as younger persimmons, say, forty years later.  I also had in my bag a Louisville Golf Classic 50's 4 wood.  I decided to give that a try.  Practice swings were great, the club felt what I'm used to (D1 or D2).  Same pre-shot routine, same set-up for normal 4 wood shot and CLICK!  The shot went about 220 straight.  I hit a few more with the same good results.

I decided right there that I had no business with these clubs, and my persimmon bag will still have my newer persimmon woods and certainly not the 693's.  I think the 693's are more collector clubs than gamers.

When I left the range, I wonder what the big hype is with 1950's persimmons.  For now I will consider that the clubs are just heavy for me, but I am asking if any of you had similar first experience with these vintage clubs.

Edited by EmperorPenguin, 09 May 2018 - 11:01 AM.


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#2 elwhippy

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 12:15 PM

I have a 693 re-issue. It is a beast to shape and even get airborne. It is nice to own but I would not have gamed it and expected to hit many fairways.

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#3 raggal62

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 06:58 PM

Just my 2cents here but what you are experiencing sounds like too stiff of shaft, not enough loft, too heavy, too high a center of gravity, or possibly a combination of any or all of the above. One thing I can say with certainty is that the persimmon from that era was better than what came later.

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#4 Texsport

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 07:09 PM

You had to hit down on the old persimmon drivers + the wound balls of that era spun a lot more - the combination hit rising rockets.

Today's swing + today's solid balls with an old persimmon driver is a no-go.

Before I switched to Wood Bros Texan persimmon, I played both MacGregor SS1 Velocitized and 693 drivers with X-300 shafts.

The sound and feel of quality persimmon was well beyond anything available today.

Texsport

Edited by Texsport, 09 May 2018 - 07:10 PM.

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#5 Nessism

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 07:16 PM

Bummer.  Must have been a real letdown.  

A friend brought out his old Powerbuilt driver a while back and we all gave it a go on one hole.  I absolutely killed it, which surprised the heck out of me, and the ball flew out within a couple of feet of my similarly well struck TEE 3 wood.  I laughed in part because those were my two best shots all day.  Anyway, it was fun but I know better than to think I could do that with regularity.

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#6 RobotDoctor

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 07:29 PM

If a new home is needed for the 693s then I know a good place in Colorado!!!  :)
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#7 rex235

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 09:19 PM

Penguin..

" but to me the club feels heavier in both swingweight and overall weight."


Most likely, they are heavier.

Edited by rex235, 09 May 2018 - 09:20 PM.


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#8 tstephen

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 11:28 PM

Some pictures would be nice to see.

I've had Louisville 50's and a set of MacGregor 693's in good condition from the early 50's should be far superior.

I now have a Louisville Classic 50's 693TS driver & 3 wood that I hit recently and would rate 4/10 compared to my Mac 693s 9/10.

Even in the high tech world of today no 2 drivers are exactly the same feel and there would be a lot of potential variables with clubs 65 years old.

Given the fact there are no cracks, if they were kept in certain environments or given interior weights or inferior replacement inserts that would hurt their playability.

There are some real experts on this sight and we don't want to see a potential new fan of MacGregor classic 50's persimmon lost so easily. The shafts tell a story and that might be they were poorly stored.

Edited by tstephen, 09 May 2018 - 11:36 PM.


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#9 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 06:31 AM

View PostTexsport, on 09 May 2018 - 07:09 PM, said:

You had to hit down on the old persimmon drivers + the wound balls of that era spun a lot more - the combination hit rising rockets.

Today's swing + today's solid balls with an old persimmon driver is a no-go.

Before I switched to Wood Bros Texan persimmon, I played both MacGregor SS1 Velocitized and 693 drivers with X-300 shafts.

The sound and feel of quality persimmon was well beyond anything available today.

Texsport

Hit down?  I could not do that on the range.  I did not want any idiot marks on the clubhead, so I made sure the angle of approach was sweeping, like I do my other persimmons.

I do suppose that the problem lies in simple club characteristics, as I am quite sure the club's heavy feel is the culprit.

My Hogan Apex persimmon driver works perfectly well, as it feels lighter and swings to D1.  I do not have a swingweight scale to determine the characteristics of the 693, but I will soon.

Pictures will come soon, but I am a little busy now.

The gist of this thread is that I am wondering if the old-growth persimmon naturally means heavier heads.  Apparently not.

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#10 tstephen

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 06:55 AM

I am very outspoken regarding MacGregor classic persimmons.  With that said, I recently had an early '50's MacGregor 693T driver that was just the biggest piece of manure I've ever had in any classic MacGregor from that time period.  Bottom line is that even with modern clubs you have to hit them on at least 3-4 occasions to know how good the club is for you. I was 0 for 5 occasions with this particular driver and couldn't unload it fast enough.


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#11 tstephen

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 07:04 AM

View PostTexsport, on 09 May 2018 - 07:09 PM, said:

You had to hit down on the old persimmon drivers + the wound balls of that era spun a lot more - the combination hit rising rockets.

Today's swing + today's solid balls with an old persimmon driver is a no-go.

Before I switched to Wood Bros Texan persimmon, I played both MacGregor SS1 Velocitized and 693 drivers with X-300 shafts.

The sound and feel of quality persimmon was well beyond anything available today.

Texsport

X-300 shafts wow.  When my clubhead speed was in the high 1-teens I had S400 or X-100 shafts at best. I'm impressed!  And yes, nothing compares, but whenever I try all the latest and best new drivers I'm looking for just that plus 20-30 yards. The way I swing and hit the ball today I can only count on 10 extra yards at best with today's drivers vs my vintage persimmon and even my early 90's persimmon. How weird is that?

Edited by tstephen, 10 May 2018 - 08:00 AM.


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#12 hnryclay

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 07:15 AM

Did you tee it lower, and move the ball back in your stance? It is hard to hit persimmons off the mats because the tees are too high. I can hit persimmons usually 10-15 yards shorter than modern, but more in the fairway. However I learned to play with persimmon, and because of that have never really grasped the modern swing on 460 head clubs. IE I am 38 and cannot hit the ball more than 260-270 with a modern 460 CC driver.

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#13 birly-shirly

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 07:40 AM

To try and break this down, how a club plays is going to be much, much more a function of its design and specs than the age of the wood.

If you really want to understand what's going on with a particular club, then measure everything you can and the material that it's made from will be in the noise.

You won't learn anything about a club hitting it low on the face - nothing is going to play well from there. I would use a dry erase pen to mark balls and judge the club based on the shots you middle.

Length, weight and swingweight could easily affect your ability to hit it out of the middle. But gripping down a little lets you adjust 2 out of 3 factors even if you can't quantify them.

If you don't have a swingweight scale, you can get a good proxy with a gram sensitive scale, accurate ruler or tape and the online SW calculator at the leaderboard site.

Loft is your friend - but I believe there's not much loft to befriend you in a 693. This is likely to be sub-10* when a standard persimmon driver is still pretty low launching at 11*. A clubhead that sits open, as a lot of good players' clubs did, reduces your effective loft even more.

Range balls? I would not go there with a good persimmon driver. Not very good for the finish, and not very good ballflight in my experience. The balls at my local range are decent quality and condition, but are sketchy to launch with a wooden head. Decent balls on the course are a different story.

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#14 Texsport

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 07:42 AM

Yes - persimmons have weight distribution such that you must tee the ball lower with the intention of hitting the center of the club face.

Modern clubs are designed differently - tee it high, hit up, and contact the driver face above center.

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#15 Texsport

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 07:53 AM

View Posttstephen, on 10 May 2018 - 07:04 AM, said:

View PostTexsport, on 09 May 2018 - 07:09 PM, said:

You had to hit down on the old persimmon drivers + the wound balls of that era spun a lot more - the combination hit rising rockets.

Today's swing + today's solid balls with an old persimmon driver is a no-go.

Before I switched to Wood Bros Texan persimmon, I played both MacGregor SS1 Velocitized and 693 drivers with X-300 shafts.

The sound and feel of quality persimmon was well beyond anything available today.

Texsport

X-300 shafts wow.  When my clubhead speed was in the high 1-teens I had S400 or X-100 shafts at best. I'm impressed!

God gifted fast-twitch muscle genetics + lifetime of sprinting, baseball, weight training.

Can't carry it within 40 yards of my PGA pro son in my old age.

He's got the same genes and youth sports history but was D-1 golfer vs my D-1 baseball. (Geaux Tigers!) - Swing speed 120+

Hey - this is WRX - everyone can hit it out of sight! :superman2:

Texsport

Edited by Texsport, 10 May 2018 - 08:03 AM.

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#16 tstephen

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 08:02 AM

View PostTexsport, on 10 May 2018 - 07:53 AM, said:

View Posttstephen, on 10 May 2018 - 07:04 AM, said:

View PostTexsport, on 09 May 2018 - 07:09 PM, said:

You had to hit down on the old persimmon drivers + the wound balls of that era spun a lot more - the combination hit rising rockets.

Today's swing + today's solid balls with an old persimmon driver is a no-go.

Before I switched to Wood Bros Texan persimmon, I played both MacGregor SS1 Velocitized and 693 drivers with X-300 shafts.

The sound and feel of quality persimmon was well beyond anything available today.

Texsport

X-300 shafts wow.  When my clubhead speed was in the high 1-teens I had S400 or X-100 shafts at best. I'm impressed!

God gifted fast-twitch muscle genetics + lifetime of sprinting, baseball, weight training.

Can't carry it within 40 yards of my PGA pro son in my old age.

He's got the same genes and youth sports history but was D-1 golfer vs my D-1 baseball. (Geaux Tigers!) - Swing speed 120+

Hey - this is WRX - everyone can hit it out of sight!

Texsport

I like that you said carry distance and have you or your son been on the big show? Qualify for any events?

Edited by tstephen, 10 May 2018 - 08:04 AM.


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#17 Texsport

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 08:05 AM

Director of golf at a big resort - frequent competitor at National PGA Club Professional Championships.

Full time Little League, Babe Ruth, traveling select All Star team coach with 2 stud baseball playing sons.

Lives on a lake - loves his life.

Texsport

Edited by Texsport, 10 May 2018 - 08:16 AM.

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#18 Texsport

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 09:04 AM

BTW - fast twitch muscle is facilitated by genetics, which can be detected with testing.(Your genetic test results will note - "You have inherited fast twitch muscle genetics common to elite speed and power athletes") Additional athleticism genes + training are required to become an elite athlete in a given sport.

People with the gene profile for fast twitch speed are wired to be power/speed athletes - but not endurance athletes. A cheetah is the fastest animal on foot, but can't sustain that speed very long.

Russian Olympic Committee screened young athletes for sprinting or endurance potential before admitting individuals to national training programs.

You can't win the Olympic 100 meter or marathon unless you have inherited the genetics for it. Similarly, you won't be a major league .300 hitter unless you have superior eyesight - Ted Williams and Babe Ruth were known to have eyesight at the limits of human possibilities. Elite MLB hitters average eyesight is 20/15.Some players have had laser vision improvement surgeries.

Now, can we identify a gene that makes someone a candidate for finding a cure for cancer?

Texsport

Edited by Texsport, 10 May 2018 - 07:44 PM.

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#19 Ironmaster Oddities

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 10:18 AM

View PostEmperorPenguin, on 09 May 2018 - 10:59 AM, said:

Just came back from the range.  I bought a set of original 693's from the mid-1950's and I wanted to find out for myself what all the hoopla is about with 1950's persimmons.  I researched and learned that the 693 is one of the most revered persimmons at the time.  The driver is perfect, with the grain in perfect vertical horseshoes, and there is no lead backweight on the clubhead.  So after a few warm-up shots with the wedge, then the 7 iron, then the 4 iron, I finally wanted to give one of these clubs a whack.  Before swinging it, I looked at the clubhead and realized that they were made when my father was 20 years old, and the shafts are indeed old, with the chrome pitted and shaft labels worn through years of going in and out of some guy's bag.  The clubs have stiff shafts in them, and standard lengths, with the driver at 43" and the 3 wood at 42" and the the 4 wood at 41.5".

OK, first swing with the 3 wood.  I went through my preshot routine, set up carefully, and when I pulled the trigger...HACK!  I hit the ball low on the face, the ball didn't go higher than a foot above the ground and went about maybe a hundred yards.  Disappointing.  I thought it was just a bad swing, so I gave it another try.  HACK!  The same thing.  I noticed when I waggled it and did some practice swings that the club felt heavier than the rest of my clubs.  I do not have a swingweight scale, but to me the club feels heavier in both swingweight and overall weight.

So now I gave the driver a try.  Again, realizing that this vintage club was made when my father was at the same age as when I started playing golf, I was excited to give it a try.  Again, the club felt heavy in the practice swing.  Gave it another swing and HACK!  The same thing, low on the face and only a foot above the ground.  I did a couple more swings and I could not get the ball up.

I though maybe the clubs were too heavy, or maybe persimmons back in the 1950's are not as good as younger persimmons, say, forty years later.  I also had in my bag a Louisville Golf Classic 50's 4 wood.  I decided to give that a try.  Practice swings were great, the club felt what I'm used to (D1 or D2).  Same pre-shot routine, same set-up for normal 4 wood shot and CLICK!  The shot went about 220 straight.  I hit a few more with the same good results.

I decided right there that I had no business with these clubs, and my persimmon bag will still have my newer persimmon woods and certainly not the 693's.  I think the 693's are more collector clubs than gamers.

When I left the range, I wonder what the big hype is with 1950's persimmons.  For now I will consider that the clubs are just heavy for me, but I am asking if any of you had similar first experience with these vintage clubs.

I always preferred the 653.  weaker shaft, a little more loft.  easier to hit.  Back when I could play (kind of) I used  the M-09 Jumbo.  More loft

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#20 freddiec

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 10:30 AM

Letís remember the 693 was designed for the better to pro player.  Maybe your swing doesnít equal up to that or you didnít have your A swing. When I was 17 I used a keyhole MT1W I found in a used club barrel and it was awesome.  I have a great 693 and a M85 from the early 1950s which I can really still smoke pretty well out there but really gotta be loose and have my A swing.  Be 50 in 6 months..

Edited by freddiec, 10 May 2018 - 10:36 AM.


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#21 Ol_Pardner

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 11:33 AM

In addition to the comments above, consider swingweights. I've had drivers that caught my eye, placed them on the scale, and gotten anywhere from C-5 to D-7+, irons C-7 to E-7, Wedges? D-0 into Fs! Also, to reiterate, an R shaft 60+ years ago, can be totally different to today's TT DGs. I've swung Mac Propel 2s (Med/Firm) that felt like Senior flex and others that were like TT S400+.

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#22 majic

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 12:33 PM

If someone has a new persimmon driver made first in my opinion the club must have loft. If itís a deeper face model 12 degrees. I also think a slightly softer flex as well. Not over 43.5 long.

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#23 Nessism

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 12:51 PM

I bought an old Persimmon driver one time from a thrift store that had a Ladies flex shaft in it.  Loved the head and hit the club well but very high.  Took it to a clubmaker and asked for a mens stiff shaft and after that I struggled to get that thing in the air.  I was surprised.  Guess what I'm driving at is that the shaft may be a big contributor to your inability to hit that club higher.
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#24 rex235

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 02:46 PM

Penguin-

This is your description of your MacGregor TA 693...

"The driver is perfect, with the grain in perfect vertical horseshoes, and there is no lead backweight on the clubhead."

There are no "bad 693s"....

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#25 freddiec

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 03:49 PM

Penguin, stick with it... you said low on the face. Maybe you were teeing them too low, thatís a possibility. I find hitting the ball on the insert a little below the center of the insert on a bit of an upswing feeling can yield higher longer shots. Teeing the ball low you really have less chance of hitting the sweet spot a lot of times. Experiment with tee height and proper swing path .


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#26 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 04:38 PM

View Posthnryclay, on 10 May 2018 - 07:15 AM, said:

Did you tee it lower, and move the ball back in your stance? It is hard to hit persimmons off the mats because the tees are too high. I can hit persimmons usually 10-15 yards shorter than modern, but more in the fairway. However I learned to play with persimmon, and because of that have never really grasped the modern swing on 460 head clubs. IE I am 38 and cannot hit the ball more than 260-270 with a modern 460 CC driver.

I teed the ball up the same height I do when I use my old Taylor Made Burners ('90), which, I understand, is based on the M85: I tee the ball up when I feel the tip of the grass touching my fingers as I press it down on the turf.  This invariably equates to the textbook height: the equator of the ball level with the top edge of the club.  I tee the ball up that high when I use my Hogan persimmon driver, which is perfectly good.

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#27 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 04:48 PM

View Postfreddiec, on 10 May 2018 - 03:49 PM, said:

Penguin, stick with it... you said low on the face. Maybe you were teeing them too low, that's a possibility. I find hitting the ball on the insert a little below the center of the insert on a bit of an upswing feeling can yield higher longer shots. Teeing the ball low you really have less chance of hitting the sweet spot a lot of times. Experiment with tee height and proper swing path .

I will try teeing it up just a touch higher.  My fear is that if I tee the ball up too high, I might leave an idiot mark, which I do not want on this driver.  Besides, when I play my Hogan Apex persimmon driver ('92), I strike it better mainly because, I think, it is about the same size as the Taylor Made Burner ('90) driver I used for the first seventeen years of my golfing life.

By comparison, the 693 is a larger clubhead than the '92 Apex persimmon driver.  Maybe my swing works better with a smaller head.  The M85, I recall, is smaller than a 693 head.

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#28 hnryclay

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 06:30 PM

I have a classic M85, and a 693. Really think they are easy to hit? Little fade and very smooth. Maybe it is the shaft? Mine have original shafts, and I have never had an issue with them. I tee the ball up center of the club face, play it off my shirt label, same as my irons.

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#29 freddiec

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 09:33 PM

Would like to see this 693 Penguin, any chance you can
Post a pic or two ?

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#30 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 10:31 PM

Here you go.  For now I'll post the driver.  It is hard to see, but a closer look shows that the grain pattern is perfect.  The big selling point, for me, is that this particular driver head was perfect in weight after the initial turn, so there was no need for lead backweights.

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

Overall, I think the club is in good shape.  It might need a little refinishing, given the poor screw in the shaft.  Furthermore, the whipping isn't perfect, so I suspect that if it was refinished, it was an amateur job, though it turned out pretty good.  Maybe I should send the club to Dave Wood?  If I do that, I wonder if he can work the specs so it can swing more like some persimmons I do like?  Note that the steel shaft is pitted and the chrome is very old, evident of a club that was made sixty years ago.

One thing about the other clubs is that the grain pattern is not perfect.  For the 3 wood, it is way off, about 45 degrees.  I am guessing that when they first turn the clubheads, the ones with the ugly grain patterns are further turned to become fairway woods?  My fairway woods are not so good, and looking at other listing for classic persimmons, I find that many 3- and 4-woods have horrid grain patterns.


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