The Sand Wedge
When Bobby Jones hit a spectacular sand shot
with his new fangled sand wedge, from a down hill side hill lie
to 3 inches on the par 5 16th at Hoylake in the 1930 British Open it was determined
that either the club was illegal or Jones should be burned at the stake as
surely he was a
witch. In January of 1931 the United States Golf Association
rendered its decision and despite the rumblings from many of its members Jones
was spared ( although he did retire from competitive golf ) and the club was banned from USGA play.
"The Squire" Sarazen, winner of 8 majors ( whose birth name was
Eugenio Saraceni) was so upset with the decision he decided to take
matters into his own hands....and redesign the sand wedge.....what ? You
thought he was going to burn Jones at the stake ? Geeez. Anyway, Sarazen
finished his approved design in 1933 and although he never patented his
design he became known as the inventor of the modern sand wedge for which so many
golfers are thankful.
little facts don't you think ? But wait let's take a peek under just one more layer
and see what we can see. In 1930 during the Southern Open at Augusta Country Club,
Horton Smith gave a newly designed club called a sand wedge to Bobby Jones. Jones then uses this new club and pulls off a miracle shot that helps him
win the British Open, the 2nd tournament in his quest for the grand slam.
1st Masters Champion
Smith is then invited to and wins the 1st Masters Tournament at Augusta National
using a new Bobby Jones model driver he borrowed from Paul Runyan who had
defeated Craig Wood in the 1934 PGA finals. Wood finished second to Smith
in the Masters by one stroke. And just to help keep things straight Runyan
was paired with Jones for the first 36 holes of the Masters. You with me so far ? Well in the mean time the club that Smith gave
Jones is banned in USGA sanctioned competition leading Gene Sarazen to redesign
it to the satisfaction of the USGA club gurus.
Sarazen is then invited to play
in the 1935 Masters which he wins with a miracle shot of his own for a double eagle on the
famed 15th par 5. ( More witch craft ? ) Had enough ? But wait.... just two more
tid bits, Horton Smith won the third Masters held in 1936. Although Horton would
win 30 PGA events over his long and storied career, his only 2 majors were the
1934 and 1936 Masters. Sarazen would go on to win 39 PGA events yet he is
most remembered for his 1935 Masters double eagle. Did you get all that ?
Well I hope so, because at it turns out there is
more. It seems sometime in 1932, the great golf writer and close friend of Bobby
Jones, Grantland Rice introduced Babe Zaharias to the game of golf. She was later introduced
to Gene Sarazen with whom she
ended up doing an exhibition tour. Sarazen among other things gifted Babe a sand
wedge along with a few tips on how to use it, some suspect "magic" and
You see in April of 1935 Babe Zaharias entered
only her 2nd golf tournament, the Texas Women's Golf Championship at River Oaks
Country Club in Houston Texas. As fate would have it she played herself into the
finals where she was to face 3 time champion Peggy Chandler, who upon hearing of
Mrs. Zaharias's entry remarked, "We really don't need any truck driver's
daughter in our tournament. " (For
the record Babe's father was a highly skilled furniture maker.)
The 36 hole final was vicious and it appeared
that Mrs. Chandler had the match well in hand with a 3 hole lead after 26 holes.
Babe managed to cut the lead to 1 hole on Mrs. Chandler by the 33rd hole where things would get
"interesting" . Babe with the honors stripes her drive 250 yards dead
center, into a ditch that crossed the fairway. Then in her attempt to reach the
par 5 from this dreadful lie in two with her 3-iron, she blades her approach over the
green into a muddy rut. Peggy Chandler in the meantime was on in 3 within tap in
distance for am easy birdie four.
Mrs. Zaharias now faced with a "no
in a do or die situation selects, you guessed it, her sand wedge and knocks it
in the hole like it was "guided by remote control" for a match tying eagle 3. "Fans watching from the edge of the green ran forward
to witness the impossible inadvertently collided with Babe, knocking her face
down into the muddy puddle." As Babe was recovering her composure the now delirious
spectators "exploded in ecstatic disbelief ." Babe went on to win the
championship on the 36th hole.
So now you tell me, how important was this
"magical" sand wedge to these larger than life golfing heroes ?
Babe Zaharias blasts out
of a sand trap
A sand wedge trio, Gene Sarazen, Babe Zaharias,
Horton Smith all carrying golf clubs.
The woman is that Sarazen appears to be smitten with is golfing great Joyce
Sand Wedges have come along way since Edwin MacClain's finned
beauty, with an endless selection of models and styles.
To learn more about your sand wedge options, continue your search