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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.

#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.

#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.

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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.

#38 Badger_Golfer

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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.

#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.

#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!


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