GOLF’s 60th anniversary: A look back at the events that made the 1980s

November 13, 2019
Golf 60th anniversary 1980s

From the inaugural April 1959 issue until today, we’ve covered every moment, invention and trend in golf — a smart, independent voice for the game we love. We’ve made a bunch of aces (and a few double-bogeys) over the past 700-plus issues. Here, we celebrate some of the most memorable of them from the 1980s.

Highlights from the 1980s

-We want our MTV
-Mac Computers launch
-The Berlin Wall falls
-Watson chips in at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

Player of the Decade: Tom Watson

“The game calls him. Which is not to say that finessing a little wedge up below the hole is something like receiving the call of the Lord. But it is a calling, nonetheless. Tom Watson eyes the game as a shimmering lure forever out of reach. … ‘I’m waiting for that day. That day when everything falls into place, everything makes sense, when every swing is with confidence and every shot is exactly what I want. I know it can be done. I know it’s been touched. Hogan touched it. Byron Nelson touched it. I want to touch it. Then I think I would be satisfied.’ ” —“Watson: In Pursuit of Jack and ‘It’ ” (Yearbook, 1980)

Before ESPN's "Body Issue," there was GOLF in August 1983.

Movie review of the decade

“True to their vision, the filmmakers have come up with a cast of characters that would make USGA officials blanch.” — “Caddyshack,” August 1980

Metal Mania!

“Here Come the Metal Woods” By Lew Fishman (Dec. 1981)

“Just one big surprise after another, that’s the golf equipment business for you. It is amazing that an industry bound to a game so rooted in history and tradition, serving in a sport, which as a whole, is probably more conservative and resistant to change than any other, can consistently manage to be successful with introductions of a revolutionary nature. … The bottom line, according to firms that already have clubs of this nature in their lines as well as those that don’t, is that these pseudowoods are here to stay ….”


Say hello to Dave Pelz

“Professor Putt: Former NASA scientist Dave Pelz is the putting guru of professional golf.” (May 1982)

“My research indicates that if you were to aim consistently for a spot about 17 inches past the cup, you would make more putts.” (Aug. 1983)


A bear comes of out hibernation (June 1986)

“At Augusta National, Jack Nicklaus staggered the world of golf as he charged to his sixth green jacket.”

Kick-ins (1980-1989)

-GOLF’S earliest Phil sighting, age 16: “Junior Players of the Year” (Dec. 1986)

-Humblebrag much? “Why Watson Is Number One” (Sept. 1980)

Johnny Miller: “I had Watson pegged in 1974 and 1975, when I was winning most of the tournaments I was playing in. I knew he was special … I remember thinking, ‘Gee, I don’t know how I’m beating this guy.’ ”

-What do Jack LaLanne, Jerry Lewis and Donald Trump have in common?

“100 Great Celebrity Golfers” (Oct. 1985)

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