Nicklaus Vs. Snead at Pebble Beach

In the early 1960s, Shell Oil produced a series called The Wonderful World of Golf. Every week the match was in a different country, featuring an American touring pro playing a pro from the host country.

One of the matches in the year’s lineup would be on an America course. In 1963, the American match was between Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead at Pebble Beach.

Years later, all the WWoG matches were released on DVD–except this one. Because of a contractural barrier, this episode was prevented from being released.

But now you can see it.

Pebble Beach was a different course back them. It was somewhat ragged, especially the edges of the bunkers, not the pristine $500 per round course it is now. You’ll notice that right away when you watch the video.

Notice also that they left the pin in when they putted. The rules allowed that back then.

Notice also the forecaddies marking the way when the players hit their blind second shots on #6. That would not be allowed now.

Notice the dimples on Nicklaus’s ball at 36:55.

And then there’s the dog at 31:11.

Keep your eyes open and you’ll see a lot of other quirky things from the time.

But watch the ball flight when they hit long irons, which they hit a lot of. High, straight, just as easy as pie. I would like to see the pros hit those shots with those clubs today.

Oh, yes, one more thing. Those were the early days of color television. Very few programs were in color and this was one of them. A neighbor who lived down the hill from us let me do odd jobs around his property and in payment I got to come to his house on Sunday afternoon and watch WWoG in color.

The money, if he had paid me, would have have been so long gone and I would have no idea now what I did with it. But the memories of watching these shows is still with me.

3 thoughts on “Nicklaus Vs. Snead at Pebble Beach”

  1. Thanks Bob! Great treat to watch young 23 year old Jack go up against the then 50 year old Sam. I got to meet Sam at the Greenbrier years ago; he was then still “Professional Emeritus” there. Interestingly, I understand Jack was the architect, in 1978, for the Greenbrier course. One takeaway from this for sure: I have to get a 1 iron. If Jack could hit it — straight and high — why not me? And wallop it with an “oily” swing like Sam’s, of course.

  2. Current 3-irons are about the same loft as Sam’s and Jack’s 1-irons. But mostly with a lot more help built in, not the little butter knives they played. 🙂

    The thing that struck me while watching was how hard they hit their putts on those nice, shaggy greens (no 2-digit Stimpmeter results here!). Jack commented on one of his downhill chip shots from behind the green that you couldn’t play it today because the greens are so fast the ball would run off the other side.

    1. Bob,
      The Titleist T-100 (this year’s model) 3-iron is 21*. There is no 2 or 1 in the set. My 1999 Hogan Apexes are 3/22, 2/19, 1/17. My 1988 Hogan Red Lines are 3/23, 2/19.5. I cannot find a 1-iron loft, but it is probably 17 or 18. My best guess at older lofts comes from Cary Middlecoff’s book, Master Guide to Golf, which shows “typical” long iron lofts for 1960, the year of publication, of 3/23, 2/20, 1/discussed, but no loft given.

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