One of the most popular and talked about golf equipment has been “Kenneth Smith Golf Clubs.” They were a classic of their times and are still considered one of the best-made golf clubs.
Kenneth Smith golf equipment is custom-made to suit each golfer’s needs. Each club has a different and innovative design specially designed for a golfer, which makes it unique and fit for their style.
Let us take a look at all you need to know about the clubs and golf equipment in detail.
Kenneth Smith, born in 1901, was a famous craftsman specializing in making golf equipment. He is famous for making custom-made golf clubs.
In 1916, he used to work as a newspaper delivery boy, but then he quit his job to work as a caddie at the Mission Hills Country Club. In high school, he worked with the club maker of the County Club pro shop. He then graduated from the University of Michigan in 1924 with a degree in Business Administration.
In 1928, he then started his business of making custom golf clubs in Kansas City. Later, in June of the same year, a famous golfer, Horton Smith, purchased a set of custom-made golf clubs from his shop. Horton then became a winner in the 1928-1929 tour, so Kenneth’s golf clubs became a huge demand in the market. And then his business flourished.
Kenneth Smith Golf Clubs
After the huge success of Kenneth’s golf clubs after Horton’s win, Kenneth, with his 7 employees, moved the company to Shawnee in 1935. There he employed several dedicated and hard-working craftsmen for his company. The Kenneth Smith Golf Company became known for its handcrafted golf clubs.
The company became famous for its top-notch quality and innovatively designed clubs. Kenneth uniquely crafted each golf club by integrating science with his craftsmanship. They gained a lot of popularity in a small period, as each club set was unique, keeping in mind the golfer’s need and their swing style.
To maintain the quality of the golf clubs, Kenneth was restricted to making only 150 clubs per day. He had over 25 different patents under his name related to golf equipment. Even today, many of his golf innovations, like the perforated non-slip grip, are widely used.
To make custom golf clubs, a lot of things needed to be taken into consideration, and so the clients had to fill out a chart that included height, weight, distance from their fingertips to the floor, and other specific questions about their swing and stance.
Kenneth developed a personalized fitting chart to ease and quicken up the ordering process for the buyers and help him conduct most of his business over the mail. His swingweight scale is also used by the club makers today for accurate matching.
As the company grew more popular over the years, all the pro golfers purchased their golf sets from him. Apart from the golfers, a number of famous celebrities, ministers, and royal families from around the world were his clients. Some of the most famous personalities that have used Smith’s clubs have been-
- Bob Hope
- Sammy Davis Jr
- Mickey Mantle
- George Burns
- Bing Crosby
- Billy Graham
- Errol Flynn
- Dwight Eisenhower
- Babe Zaharis
- Tom Watson
- President Richard Nixon
- President Lyndon B. Jhonson
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower
- King Leopard of Belgium
- King Hassan II of Morocco
Despite all the success and recognition, Kenneth remained a down-to-earth, hardworking man who committed all his life to make quality golf equipment. He passed away in 1977.
After his demise, the Kenneth Smith Golf Company continued to operate in the same manner providing specialized hand-crafted equipment till early 2004, after which it was officially closed.
Kenneth Smith’s Golf Equipment
Besides the custom-made golf clubs, Kenneth also made various other golf equipment that had been and still is a huge success. In 1926, along with the swinging weight scale, he developed a perforated non-slip golf grip.
In 1930, he developed mitten covers for wooden golf clubs.
In 1947, he invented the official golf club balance.
To maintain the best quality of clubs, he made one set at a time and kept all its records. Each club had a “specs” sheet containing the owner’s name, measurements, swinging style, and all other specifications, which were considered during the making of the golf club.
Smith used a total of 9 measurements to design each club perfectly-
- Weight of club heads
- The flexibility of the shafts
- Swing balance of the clubs
- Length of the shaft
- Total weight of the club
- The angle between the shaft and the club face
- The loft of the club face
- Size of the grip
- The correct “lie”
After keeping all these measurements in mind, making the golf club involved a proper step-by-step process.
- The first step was to grind the iron heads and shape the wooden heads.
- After shaping or grinding, the club heads were polished or varnished.
- Then, the shafts were attached to the club heads, and the grips were put on the shafts.
To make sure every club was perfect and correctly made, after this whole process, each and every golf club was sent to Smith’s office for the final inspection.
Why did Kenneth Smith’s clubs become so popular?
Kenneth Smith’s clubs became very popular because they were custom-made and handcrafted to suit each golfer’s needs. Kenneth became famous as his company was the first to manufacture custom-made golf clubs in America.
Are old golf clubs worth anything?
Antique golf clubs are worth a lot of money in auctions, depending upon their make, use, and rareness. Kenneth’s golf clubs are considered to be the best custom-made golf clubs of all time and hence are quite valuable in the market.
Are 30-year-old golf clubs still good?
If they are well maintained and kept properly, the golf clubs can last for a long time.
But if you use them roughly and do not take proper care, they will most likely not perform well over the period.