Biggest Transitions in Golf

In honor of this week’s Transitions Championship, we’re taking a look at some of the top transitions in the game of golf.

Arnie ? Jack

Many point to the changing of the guard at the 1962 US Open at Oakmont Country Club. Arnold Palmer was adored by the fans and had won 30 tournaments over the last seven years, including his third Masters the previous April. Jack was a young 22-year old brute known for his powerful swing and stellar amateur record at Ohio State. The two played very tight throughout the tournament,  and eventually tied to force an 18 hole playoff. Arnie bogeyed the opening hole, and Jack never looked back. Although Arnie won many more times, it became apparent that there was a new sheriff in town.

Persimmon ? Metal

Over the last 25 years, one of the biggest transitions in the game has certainly been the technology used in club construction. Up until the late 80’s/ early 90’s, wooden driver were seen in every golf bag. But that all changed when steel drivers hit the market. Balls traveled much farther, the clubs were lighter and larger, and wooden clubs were quickly replaced. Today’s clubs feature a variety of different alloys and composites, but this all took place due to the initial replacement of wood in the club head.

We can even look at the material changes in the shaft of the golf club. For hundreds of years, shafts were made out of hickory. Then along came the steel shaft, which was eventually replaced by today’s highly advanced graphite shafts (although steel is still very common for irons). The materials and technology that have gone into club design can easily be argued as having the single greatest impact on golf in the history of the game.

Metal Spikes ? SoftSpikes

This is a very subtle transition that’s taken place over the last 10+ years that most people don’t think about. Although metal spikes are still worn by several players on the professional circuits, they’ve become virtually non-existent for the amateur. In fact, many golf courses have rules against the use of metal spikes. Although SoftSpikes still get a great deal of traction with the ground, it’s not quite the same as have a metal cleat. However, this can be both a good an bad thing. Less traction obviously means less power is transferred from the ground to the swing, but it also allows the shoe to move a bit, saving the knees and ankles. Many players, most notably Tiger Woods, have made the transition to SoftSpikes for that very reason. Some, such as Fred Couples and Justin Rose, have taken it a step further by going spikeless and wearing shoes with built in grips and nubs instead of removable cleats.

Jim Furyk

Ok, this guy’s swing is so unique in the transition from the backswing to the downswing we just had to include it. Take a look at this one of a kind move.


What are your top transitions or changes to the game?

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