The 21 best, worst and most awesomely terrible golf infomercials from the 1990s
Thanks to the miracle of YouTube many of those awkwardly awesome golf infomercials live quietly in the archives for posterity. Like panning for gold, all you have to do is go searching. Or, you can just read on and watch this round-up of the greatest 1990s golf infomercials. (Or at least, those that we could dig up.) Also included: each ad’s best line and whether I’d buy the item today if it were available. Operators are standing by!
Premise: The greatest golf irons ever made, all thanks to unique design and engineering.
Best line: “My name is Marshall Pengra, and right now I’m on a golf course. Chances are you aren’t.” Truer words have never been spoken on television.
Price: Only $595 for a set of graphite irons and $659 for steel!
Would I buy it today? Definitely not.
Premise: An iron that is as long as a driver but even more accurate, GUARANTEED to shave six to eight shots off your score.
Best Line: “It’s scientifically designed to automatically correct hooks and slices…so come with me let’s play some golf.”
Price: Just three easy payments of $29.97!
Would I buy it today? They also throw in a pair of sweet Condor sunglasses, which would be a hit at any 90s-themed Halloween party. I’m in.
The Stand-Up Putter
Premise: A putter with a wide and heavy base that allows you to place it on the green and crouch behind it, as it stands freely, to line up your shot.
Best Line: “Regardless of your handicap, get that extra edge that lets you STAND UP to your competition. Pun intended. Call now.” Seriously. This line is in the commercial.
Price: Three easy payments of $19.95!
Would I buy one today? A five-stroke improvement in 30 days, or my money back? Who doesn’t love a money-back guarantee?
Premise: Running on Golf Channel for several years, instructor David Lee unlocks the mysteries of the golf swing in a series dubbed “the century’s greatest golf discoveries.”
Best Line: “You have some wonderful innate mechanisms in your body that will teach you to do all the things you need to do to develop a consistently repeating golf swing without running a 40-point checklist every time to make a golf swing.” Actually, I only have 26 thoughts passing through my head on any given swing, but point taken.
Price: Three easy payments of $49.95!
Would I buy it today? Nope. But some of these drills, especially where you finish on one foot, seem kinda fun.
The Hammer X Driver
Premise: Possibly the greatest infomercial pitchman of them all, former long-drive champion Jack Hamm’s full commitment to the power of his absurd product is the stuff of legend. This driver has zero body! Zero CCs!
Best Line: “POOOOWWW.”
Price: Only $99!
Would I buy it today? Zero chance!
The Hammer Zero-Axis Putter
Premise: Jack Hamm is back! He can hit it a mile but he can’t putt worth a lick. Now the problem is solved! This putter has all the weight in the back, and a comically narrow face to keep you on line with ease.
Best Line: “It’s all sweet spot. Hey, four-footers are now gimmes…this will be the last putter you ever buy!”
Price: Just three easy payments of $39.95!
Would I buy it today? And start whiffing putts? Just LOOK at that thing. Hard pass.
Premise: A VHS tape (or DVD!) with workouts and stretches to help you stay in peak golfing shape.
Best Line: “And now I’m going to show you the buttocks squeeze.” This video careens off the rails at about the 6:00 mark, when the female co-host, a Scottish physiotherapist, grabs the male host’s derrière to (ahem) “assess” which cheek is stronger. (Spoiler alert: It’s the right.)
Price: Only $14.95! (DVD only $19.95!)
What I buy it today? There’s no way anything in the workout tape can surpass the awkward and wildly entertaining sexual tension featured in this infomercial. So no, not buying.
The Perfect Driver
Premise: The greatest driver ever made. It’s also slightly shorter than a standard-length driver, which is pretty much its secret. Incidentally, the “Perfect Club” was endorsed by the “Voice of Golf” Peter Kessler, who for a time was a GOLF contributor and more recently the subject of a feature story in our magazine. YouTube videos of Kessler’s 30-minute demos don’t seem to exist online, but at least there’s this.
Best Line: “Using this club will give you more confidence, more accuracy and more fun on the golf course.” Also, the video outro jingle/graphic is spectacular.
Price: Not given.
Would I buy it today? Nah.
Premise: A ball that looks, feels and reacts like a real golf ball, but is also safe to knock around indoors.
Best Line: You wouldn’t hit a ball indoors … OR WOULD YOU?”
Price: Only $19.95!
Would I buy it today? Would you prefer I use my Visa or my Mastercard?
Premise: I don’t remember this one at all, but it appears to have been redubbed in Japanese, adding to the intrigue — and mystery.
Best line: “このゴルフクラブはとても良いです”
Price: Only 29,800 Yen! (About $275 American today)
Would I buy it today? Kotaeha nōda to kakushin shite imasu
Spin Doctor Golf
Premise: A wedge that features a “replaceable insert system” that will help you spin approach shots just like the pros.
Best Line: “Introducing the first wedge that will never wear out and never become outdated by technology … your wedge for life!
Price: Sadly, not given.
Would I buy it today? Maybe! You can never have too many wedges.
Premise: ABC golf analyst Jack Whitaker pitches a grip that acts as “a unique bio feedback device.” It beeps at address if you grip it too tightly. A beep at the top of the swing means you’ve made a smooth transition.
Best Line: Not many snappy one-liners, but the program features an appearance from none other than Jack Nicklaus!
Would I buy it today? No way. There’s enough going on in my head without a beeping grip.
Flat Face One Titanium Driver
Premise: The greatest driver ever made. It has no curve on the face so, the theory goes, it’s all sweet spot. Endorsed by PGA Tour winner Fulton Allem!
Best Line: “Believe it or not, your current driver was designed in the 1920s. Since then then clubhead of drivers has never changed. There’s only one spot on the clubface to hit it in the sweet spot.”
Price: Not given, but they include a headcover and instructional video.
Would I buy it today? Not sure I’d be able to swing it while staring down at that rail-flat clubhead.
The Dream Swing
Premise: Part swing machine, part tetherball pole, it promises to get you on plane once and for all, in just 15 minutes a day!
Best Line: “Each practice session is very productive. You don’t get off course with this.”
Price: Not given.
Would I buy it today? Where would I set this up in Manhattan? No chance.
The Potty Putter
The Premise: Practice putting while, um, seated in the smallest room in your house.
Best Line: “Don’t limit your life to a tiny toilet, let your imagination soar.”
Price: Not given
Would I buy it today? Ab-so-lutely. The perfect white elephant gift for GOLF.com’s office holiday party.
Premise: One of the most successful infomericals ever, the medicus has a collapsible shaft that breaks down anytime you make a flawed move in your swing.
Best line: “Practice makes perfect, right? Well, not exactly.”
Price: Not given, but I’m guessing many GOLF.com readers have one. What did you pay for it?
Would I buy it today? No, but I’d be happy to borrow yours if you’re finished with it.
Greg Norman’s Secret
Premise: Swing it just like the Shark! It’s essentially a brace for your right wrist to keep it from breaking down in the swing.
Best Line: “The Secret actually shows you the secret to playing good shots.” Seriously. Greg Norman says that in this infomercial.
Would I buy it today? No, but I’ll take a price check on a vintage Shark polo shirt and Aussie cowboy hat.
Premise: A laser built into a putterhead improves your line. When you’re done practicing, pop the laser out for a USGA-conforming putter. This ad may have landed just after the 90s, but it was still enjoyable and therefore made the list.
Best line: “Stop guessing where you’re aiming and let the laser show you the way.”
Price: Payments as low as $35.99! (How many payments? Who knows!)
Would I buy it today? Tell me how many payments!
The Perfect Swing Trainer
Premise: Two jumbo plastic rings mounted on the ground to keep you on plane.
Best Line: This video features Bill Tryon and — incredibly — his golfing prodigy-son, Ty! The kid looks about 7 years old. “The most important thing he’s gotten is positive feedback and the ability to have fun in his golf swing,” says Bill while watching his son’s beautiful action. Too bad that fun didn’t last forever, right Bill?
Price: Not given
Would I buy it today? It won’t fit in my living room, so I’m out.
Orlimar Trimetal Driver
Premise: At last, a driver that hits the ball higher, farther and straighter than any driver EVER, thanks to something called an “alpha maraging” metal face that’s 85% harder than pure titanium. Among the pitchmen appearing here: Roger Maltbie, Ken Venturi and PGA Tour pro Frank Lickliter!
Best Line: “It’s literally like teeing up your driver in the middle of the fairway and hitting it again.” To be fair, the man who said it has a mustache that’s even better than his quote.
Would I buy it today? Not until I google “alpha maraging.”
Premise: A golf exercise machine to help you improve your swing and your fitness…and your scores!
Best Line: “Once I might’ve told you to dream on — that your best golf swing may only comes from lessons and hard work, or unless you’re a natural at birth. But now I can tell you your dream can come true.”
Would I buy it today? Dream on.