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What happened to Northwestern?


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#31 brianV

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:18 AM

I have in my bag / basement two nearly identical putters that I think were made by Northwestern.

The first is a Pro Select 'Select Edition 4" putter, more or less identical to this one on eBay. The second is a 'Powerpoint by Tour Select' putter - can't find similar online.

The both have the same 'Tour Match' grips and 'Acculite' shafts. One has a 'Pro Select' foil sticker on the shaft; the other has a 'Tour Select' foil sticker.

The heads are identical in shape, except for the different stamps in the base. Also, the Tour Select has a basketball-like pebble in the centre of the face / sweet spot.

Anyways, both these putters are, at least in my hands, surprisingly good... I tried to look this equipment up online, and from what I can tell, Tour Select was one of Northwestern's brand names. Given that these are nearly identical clubs, I presume 'Pro Select' was another Northwestern brand name.

Does anyone know anything more about these two putters? I suspect they were both cheap K-mart gear... I'm just surprised how good they feel.


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#32 ScooterMcTavish

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:29 AM

I'm not 100% sure of this, but if memory serves correct, the Northwestern name had really developed negative connotations by the 90s.  I remember my first new 7 piece set, Northwestern "Classics" which were muscle back 3, 5, 7, 9 irons, and a 1+3 solid plastic woods.  Yecccch.  Though the price was right from Woolco.

So I think they started marketing more clubs under the "Pro Select" badge, which was reserved for mid-level retailers such as Sears.  Northwesterns likely still showed up for a bit in the bargain retailers (K-Mart), but those too eventually turned into Pro Select.  Then they went under.

Except for their really crappy stuff, I never had a problem with their gear - my brother had a set of their higher-level clubs (likely $350 in 1986), and they were well-made CB irons with decent metal woods.  Putters are a funny animal though.  I once had a Northwestern putter similar in design to the one you highlighted on eBay, and I hated it.  Almost like it was out of balance or something.

This being said, you can putt with just about anything if you like it and are comfortable with it.  Though I typically run screaming from any putter with a graphite shaft.  Seriously?
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#33 cmusic

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:37 AM

When I was on my HS golf team (1988-1989) I had a teammate with a set of Northwestern clubs he bought new from K-Mart.  In two seasons of play, the grooves wore off his most used irons (6-PW).   I've seen other clubs with worn grooves, but they were well over 10 years old.  He really liked the soft feel of the irons, because they were soft pot metal.
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#34 brianV

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:19 AM

View PostScooterMcTavish, on 09 October 2013 - 10:29 AM, said:

I'm not 100% sure of this, but if memory serves correct, the Northwestern name had really developed negative connotations by the 90s.  I remember my first new 7 piece set, Northwestern "Classics" which were muscle back 3, 5, 7, 9 irons, and a 1+3 solid plastic woods.  Yecccch.  Though the price was right from Woolco.

So I think they started marketing more clubs under the "Pro Select" badge, which was reserved for mid-level retailers such as Sears.  Northwesterns likely still showed up for a bit in the bargain retailers (K-Mart), but those too eventually turned into Pro Select.  Then they went under.

Except for their really crappy stuff, I never had a problem with their gear - my brother had a set of their higher-level clubs (likely $350 in 1986), and they were well-made CB irons with decent metal woods.  Putters are a funny animal though.  I once had a Northwestern putter similar in design to the one you highlighted on eBay, and I hated it.  Almost like it was out of balance or something.

This being said, you can putt with just about anything if you like it and are comfortable with it.  Though I typically run screaming from any putter with a graphite shaft.  Seriously?

Ok, thanks for the info. Yeah, I agree that putters are funny like that. If you are used to a specific 'feel', anything else that comes along that doesn't feel the same will initially feel worse in a sense.

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#35 NRJyzr

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:22 AM

View PostbrianV, on 09 October 2013 - 10:18 AM, said:

I presume 'Pro Select' was another Northwestern brand name.

Indeed it was.  

There was a time in the late 90s when a Pro Select driver was produced (the Black Plasma IIRC, it was under 250cc, that should give you the time frame), it had some form of ceramic treating to the face.  The face was harder than anything else on the market, so it was claimed, and was said to produce some rather healthy results.

Of course, because of the Pro Select name, it wasn't likely to go anywhere.

I nearly acquired one in 1999 or so.  There were a LOT of positive reviews on it.

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#36 Seadweller

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:41 PM

Awesome stories Tom.  Thank you.


View PostTomWishon, on 06 November 2012 - 03:17 PM, said:

View Postlefty76, on 05 November 2012 - 07:21 PM, said:

Last week, Nat Rosasco Senior passed away.  

WOW, that's too bad and I am sorry to hear that.  Nat was without question the last "character" in the golf equipment business, one about whom you could say really was larger than life.  A couple of my best memories of things in my life in the golf equipment business can be attributed to Nat Sr.

In 1984 when I was doing research for my first book, The Golf Club Identification and Price Guide, a big part of the book was to be a somewhat detailed synopsis of all the equipment companies who were going to have their club models listed in the book.  I made a trip to Chicago to interview people with the then several golf companies located there to get their history.

I interviewed Nat personally and was able to do so in his office.  WHAT AN OFFICE it was!  it was all done in ornate Louis XVI furniture and art, perhaps a little gaudy, but definitely a show and definitely "Nat".  Their office and factory at this time was right in the middle of old Chicago, right next to a branch of the elevated train, so stories about possible involvement between Nat, Northwestern, and the old Chicago mob were passed around the industry a lot.  Probably none of them were true because Nat and his bother LeRoy were very upstanding guys, but given Nat's image and the company's location, one could definitely wonder!

During my interview, Nat did tell a story about a day when a number of guys from GOLF magazine were coming to his office to interview him for an article on the company.  Most of the GOLF mag guys were vets and long time friends of Nat, but one of them was a green, wet behind the ears writer, a real rookie.  So the GOLF mag vets along with Nat thought that it would be appropriate if they would pull this newcomer's leg a little during their visit.

While sitting in the reception area on the second floor outside Nat's office, the veteran GOLF mag guys started to wind this kid's chain, making up stories about Northwestern's alleged mob involvement and planting the seed that possibly Northwestern was one of the mob's top money laundering places.  This kid's eyes apparently were getting larger with each yarn the GOLF mag vets were spinning.




Finally Nat comes out to greet them, and being in on the joke, down the hall with Nat comes one of his employees in his janitor's uniform, with a big laundry bag hoisted over his shoulder.  As the guy walks past the GOLF mag guys, Nat says to the janitor, ". . . and you be sure to take real good care of that "laundry" because we wouldn't want to lose it."  The kid's eyes were as big as silver dollars as he watched what he thought was the "money launderer" head down the stairs with a sack of currency over his shoulder!

That was Nat and God bless him.  I wish this industry had more like him, but we're all happy he was a part of this industry and left some great accomplishments and memories.

TOM

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#37 driverhead

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:04 PM

i remember in the late 70s the Powerkick shafts and clubs having them created a buzz.

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#38 Badgergolfer2

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:08 PM

My brother had a set of Northwesterns in the late '90s that he bought at Farm and Fleet in Janesville, WI.  They were decent clubs but had graphite shafts that were pretty whippy.

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#39 HackerDave

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:24 PM

My first set of clubs were Northwesterns.   My father bought them for me as a Christmas gift (I think) probably around 1978 or so.   I'm sure they came from either Kmart or Montgomery Wards at the time.    Didn't really pickup the game back then but did go to the range a few times a year.   For all I know, they may still be buried in my Mom's garage.

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#40 super20dan

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:13 PM

iforgot about the powerpiont shaft. i have a 3 wood i used to crush with one in it. one of the best sand wedges i have ever used is a northwestern. has almost no bounce. picks the ball clean from tight lies. real players club.ladies model has nancy lopez on it-mens has gary player on it. its better than any other wedge i have seen. just a killer club. also have a 13 wood -i kid not!

73 hogan apex

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#41 dando

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 11:19 AM

hi guys,
I have my eyes on a lefty set of Northwestern signature blades on ebay here in the uk with a starting bid of £25 - they look in pretty good condition and I am seriously tempted to make an offer on them.

Does anyone on here have any info on them as I cant find anything on the net about them

thanks,

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#42 bermuda

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 01:53 PM

Thanks for the replies to this thread. I heard Bob Murphy on PGA Tour satellite radio the other day, and it made me think, "Whatever happened to Northwestern?"

I started playing golf seriously around 1980 when I was 12, and my friends and I noticed that Northwestern was the K Mart brand. When one of us would hit a really bad shot, we'd say, "Maybe you could be on the Northwestern staff like Bob Murphy."

Later on when I learned a little more about him, I realized he had been a pretty darn good golfer and probably wasn't playing what was on the rack at K Mart.

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#43 bullrambler

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 04:25 PM

Nice thing about Northwesterns were that almost anyone could buy them and get out on the course.

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#44 golfisnotforfun

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:21 PM

Hi. Googled Chico Miartuz and this thread came up.

My first clubs were a set of Northwestern Chi Chi Rodriguez with very flexy aluminum shafts. Never been able to get away from the hook since. As far as the old Tomahawk clubs, I think Bryan Symonds, owner of the course where I live, Winston Trails, has the license to reproduce them. Last I talked to him they were being sold in Sports Authority (several years ago).

I use to be an assistant at Bayshore, where Chico taught. He helped me tremendously with my game. Been struggling and trying to remember what he taught me. "Communism is the right hand, democracy the left" "Hold the club like you hold your p****", Etc. Chico's teaching style was one of a kind but he got results.

Lefty, I think I use to play with you in the Clevelander game. Hows life? Or are you Lefty from the Bayshore Par 3. If so how the heck are you? If you know how Chico is doing give me a holler.

Up in Palm beach now if you ever want to play.

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Edited by golfisnotforfun, 03 September 2014 - 07:26 PM.


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#45 cazio

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 09:22 PM

Great thread, brings back fond memories. In Ohio we had a Kidding's auto store that sold auto parts (of course) also sold fishing and golf equipment and a ton of it was Northwestern as well as Wilson. My first full set of irons was a set of Wilson Autographed Mickey Wright, I didn't know Mickey was a women but didn't bother me when my uncle proudly told me I was playing women clubs as I hit them great, I even went back and bought a Laura Baugh SW. Like I said fond memories.


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#46 Dangela

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 01:17 PM

Nat Rosasco started my father in business around 1950. The story my father told me was that he sent several golf companies a letter explaining that he was a WW2 war veteran and wanted to start a sporting goods store. He asked each company if they could front him several sets of golf clubs and he would sell them in his store and pay for them after he sold them. Most companies either didn't reply or told him no. Nat sent him a couple dozen of sets of clubs and told him to send the money when he can, no hurry. That was the start of a long business relationship and great friendship for my father. I remember going to Chicago to visit Nat II in the mid 60's. Him and his family were very gracious hosts. He was obviously very wealthy but always made us feel extremely welcome. I remember riding in his limo and getting a tour of his factory. My father made a decent living off of that store for more than 40 years thanks to Nat.

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#47 Titleist87

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 02:37 PM

My dad's first metal "wood" was a Northwestern Thunderbird with the "power kick" shaft IRC. Shaft had one step and it was a fairly pronounced one at that. This must have been 1983 or 1984. He loved that club. Been looking periodically on ebay for one just to give to him for kicks.
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#48 Chazb

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 02:49 PM

I believe that one of Northwesterns sales pitch were the "lost wax process" for making clubs.

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#49 augustgolf

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 03:46 PM

View PostChazb, on 03 February 2017 - 02:49 PM, said:

I believe that one of Northwesterns sales pitch were the "lost wax process" for making clubs.

Actually, that was a term usually given to Ping clubs in the early '70's, but most anything that was cast (or, "investment cast") utilized the "lost wax method" for casting.

My first full set of clubs was a set of Chi Chi Rodriguez Northwestern woods and irons from K-Mart in the late '60's or very early '70's. I had saved up my money caddying, and bought a set of 9 irons (2-9, PW) and 3 woods (1-3-4).

Used to absolutely blister the driver....for about a month, then the face insert popped out, and that was that! They were only epoxied in...no face screws.

Passed that set on to buy a used set of Power Bilt Citation woods (1-2-3-4) and irons (2-9...had to scrounge up a wedge). I had a pretty fair slice at that time, as I had never been properly taught, but I could hit the driver & 4 woods pretty well, but never the 2 & 3 woods. They sat EXTREMELY closed (I'd guess about 8 degrees) and I sold them off to another guy who played at the course I was now working at for $20. Straightened his tee ball right out!

Wish that I still had that set of Chi Chi's....I remember the faces of the irons being exceptionally rough, not the light sand-blasted finish you usually found on irons at that time. Had the reminder grips on them as well...they hadn't be deemed "illegal" quite yet.

Guess the good old USGA has been poking their nose into making golf easier for the average Joe for many more years than most people consider
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#50 Davidv

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 03:52 PM

View Postpingman1, on 17 September 2012 - 06:34 AM, said:

Who cares?
Exactly.


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#51 Nessism

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 04:11 PM

View PostDavidv, on 03 February 2017 - 03:52 PM, said:

View Postpingman1, on 17 September 2012 - 06:34 AM, said:

Who cares?
Exactly.

I'm staring at your response and trying my very best to not respond back with some sarcastic put down.  This has been an interesting and informative thread, and it's clear that many different people's lives have been touched by the Rosasco family.  Not to mention a lot of people used Northwestern clubs early in their golfing life.  If you are not capable of respecting that please go away and find a different thread to comment in and leave this one be.

Edited by Nessism, 03 February 2017 - 04:14 PM.

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#52 Joe9977

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 10:30 PM

View Posthoganfan924, on 17 September 2012 - 07:43 PM, said:

My first set were Northwestern's from Sears (I think) and cost $25 for D, 3W, 3,5,7,9 and a putter, purchased in 1977.  I've still got them!  Forged muscle back blades and molded plastic woods!
I had these when I first started playing. Dying to see them again I developed my game w them

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#53 cbbaron

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 10:40 PM

Worked at Caldor 1984 bought my first set of clubs there and they were Northwestern
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#54 joe293

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 01:28 AM

Played football and basketball in high school. They started a golf team and some friends asked me to play on the team to give it some credibility. This was late 70's so they were taking some crap for the golf team. I joined mostly because my mom got in my arse about it. No clubs so they had two school sets. I played my first season of golf on the varsity team with the schools set of Northwestern golf clubs from Kmart. The next year mom got me the Lee Trevino Faultless set. Great memories!!

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#55 joe293

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 01:32 AM

https://www.ebay.com.../201788497792††

I think it was these that I used in high school ?

Sorry if the link doesn't work..😖

Edited by joe293, 10 March 2017 - 01:35 AM.


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#56 Ewmcdade

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:25 AM

My first club was a NW Nancy Lopez blade 6 iron.  Learned to hit a ball with that thing out in grass field by our elementary school.

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#57 fox88gt

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 03:31 PM

I'm very pleased to have stumbled upon this thread. I had no idea about the company history or the unique owners. After learning the game as a kid with a yard sale set of mixed clubs, my dad bought me a brand new set of northwesterns at Kmart in the early 90s, completely out of the blue. My dad didn't play, but knew I enjoyed the game a lot. I cherished those sticks. Sure they weren't the best, but they were light years better than what I was using. I distinctly remember washing them after taking then to the range for the first time, and the gold paint fill on the irons washed away with lukewarm water! Several years later we moved to Florida, near the coast, and within a few weeks being in the salt air those clubs rusted so bad. They must have been cast from pot metal! Regardless, they were my first new, matching set and hooked me for life.
Titleist 905T 10.5 Driver
Titleist 906F2 15 3W
Titleist 906F2 18 5W
TaylorMade RAC OS 2 3-PW
Titleist Hi-Performance 56.15
Titleist Vokey SM5 60.04
Odyssey White Hot Pro #9 Black

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#58 TollBros

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:34 PM

Hit an old Northwestern persimmon head with a steel shaft today. Man am I glad technology is where it is. Highest ball speed was 15 mph below my M2, launch angle 3 degrees lower, spin 1000 rpm higher. Longest overall was 42 yards below my longest of the day with my M2, and when I mishit it, I lost 30 yards instantly. Horrible. Haha
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#59 bluedot

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:07 AM

View PostNessism, on 03 February 2017 - 04:11 PM, said:

View PostDavidv, on 03 February 2017 - 03:52 PM, said:

View Postpingman1, on 17 September 2012 - 06:34 AM, said:

Who cares?
Exactly.

I'm staring at your response and trying my very best to not respond back with some sarcastic put down.  This has been an interesting and informative thread, and it's clear that many different people's lives have been touched by the Rosasco family.  Not to mention a lot of people used Northwestern clubs early in their golfing life.  If you are not capable of respecting that please go away and find a different thread to comment in and leave this one be.

Well said, Nessism!

I think most of us that didn't get hand-me-downs from our dad or another relative started playing golf with Northwesterns or Sam Snead Blue Ridge, or Nicklaus Golden Bear or something of the like.  And it isn't just nostalgia for that stuff that makes this thread a really interesting read; clubs like Northwesterns and the others were an important part of the evolution of golf equipment in the days before Ebay and big box golf stores.

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#60 cardoustie

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 09:20 AM

My first metal driver was a Northwestern I begged my father to buy me in Buffalo

Solid stick until TM came out

TMade '16 M2 Fuji Motore Tour Spec 6.2x
TMade '17 M1 3HL Fuji Tour Spec 8.2s
TMade r15 5w 19* Fuji Tour Spec 869x
Callaway Apex 4h & 5h Kuro Kage 80s
Ping Rapture J spec 6 iron 1150GH x
PIng s55 7 - PW Nippon Tour 1150GH x
Vokey SM2 50 54tvd 59tvd DG Onyx s400
Scotty Cameron X7m

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