For a man who has achieved so much in golf, and who has shaped the current position of professional golf like no other, Jack Nicklaus is a remarkably humble man. As he stood on the famous Swilken Bridge at St. Andrews in 2005, taking a ten minute standing ovation from an adoring crowd, Nicklaus was saying goodbye on the final hole when playing in his last Open Championship. The Golden Bear’s illustrious career achievements remain as fresh and vibrant as ever.
What is certain is that over his career, the clubs Nicklaus used to play the game changed radically. Nicklaus began playing in an era where 250-yard drives were considered top-level play, but technology moved the game on and it is a credit to his unique golfing talent that despite learning to play the game in a different era, Nicklaus continued to be competitive until he finally retired from playing in 2005.
Let’s check out what Jack had in his bag during his final few rounds in that memorable year.
Although he may have began his career playing with the old style wooden headed clubs, Nicklaus was one of the great innovators of golf, adapting his game to suit new equipment and technology as it became available. Emphasis of this was his own brand of golf clubs, of which no greater endorsement was the fact that Jack continued to use these clubs until the day he retired.
What is interesting in checking this bag from six years ago is the fact that Nicklaus was one of the first golfers to use the Hybrid club. Although the rest of his bag may be viewed as being a conventional set, the use of the Hi Max Hybrid 2 shows that Nicklaus wasn’t averse to pushing the boundaries of his game when required. It was that search for perfection that would help bring him so many major titles.
Nicklaus used his own brand of Premium forged Irons for his last few rounds. The clubs have been updated since 2005 and are still available under the Nicklaus brand name.
Although the fashion is now for players to carry a range of different wedges, some even carrying 3 or 4 in a bag depending on the round, Nicklaus was very much a traditionalist, using his sand and pitching wedges to marvellous effects both out of bunkers and from around the green.
It was fitting that Nicklaus’ last putt in the British Open would be sunk for a birdie and perhaps equally fitting that it was his own brand of Cynamet putter that allowed him to trickle the 15 foot putt into the cup on the final green at St. Andrews, to bring to an end a glorious major career.
Although it has undergone several refinements since 2005, the Callaway HX Tour ball is still available and in wide use today by many players. The HX Diablo is the latest incarnation, though it is probably safe to assume that if Jack were to pick a ball to play today from the Callaway range, it would be the Tour i(z) or 9(S) version.
Images by Jack Nicklaus Facebook Page