Player And Horschel Try Different Eras Of Clubs

Forbes' Michael Noer explains what happened when Gary Player and Billy Horschel hit the Slammer and the Squire at the World Golf Village with clubs and clothes from three eras.

Horschel is out this morning to play a unique round with a titan of the game: Gary Player, the 77-year-old South African champion who is one of only five players ever to win golf’s career grand slam, capturing titles in all four majors. (The others are Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gene Sarazen, and Ben Hogan.) The twist? The two players, young and old, will play with three sets of clubs: the replicas, sets of vintage Pings from the 1960s, and some fresh-from-the-machinist 2012 Callaways. They aren’t planning to keep score, but they are eager to experience, over a single round dressed in era-appropriate clothing, how time and technology have changed the sport.

Horschel is pumped. “I’m a big fan of the history of the game of golf and seeing the way it has been played by different generations,” he says.

Player was not a fan of the hickories or the 70s era stuff.

Player loves the jazz age duds: “Looks neat, doesn’t it? Hell of a lot better than how we dress today.” But the hickory shafts? Um, not so much: “It feels terrible. It’s like holding your wife’s hand with a glove on.”


After the sixth the duo changes into all-black outfits, commemorating Player’s long reign at the top of the golf world as the “Man in Black.” Even better, they are changing clubs, loading their bags with steel-shafted irons and persimmon woods.

“Still feels terrible,” grumbles Player.


The modern clubs are a relief. Player launches a rocket off one of the last tees. “For me to stand here and to be able to drive the ball within 25 yards of this young man, when I’m getting close to 80, is such an enjoyment,” he says. “I wouldn’t play golf if I had to play with hickory sticks.”

There is a short "making of" video accompanying the story as well.