Innovation: Club Dread

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Club Dread Cameron Morfit February 2007 For every two-piece ball and titanium driver that revolutionized the game, there have been thousands of innovations that failed to take flight. From the anti-slice driver to the telescopic putter, here are some of our favorites. The anti-slice driver In the late 1920s, the Arden Company hyped this Jaws look-alike as the ultimate "anti-slice driver." The wings were built to stabilize the club through impact and the fin improves lateral stability. Too bad Greg Norman wasn't around to promote it.
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The Streamliner driver This sleek, compact driver from 1937 concentrated all its weight directly behind the ball. One problem: It was about as forgiving as a stood-up prom date. ("Oh, baby, forgive us. We totally thought the prom was tomorrow night!")
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The rake These toothy irons from around 1910 were built to help golfers get out of sand or casual water. Decades later, Arthur Fonzarelli created a new demand for them when he started carrying one in his back pocket.
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The forked shaft Isaac Palmer's forked-shaft driver and iron from 1901 hinged on his contention that extending the shaft to both the heel and toe would reduce clubhead twist at impact. The clubs were a bust, but Palmer didn't give up: his fork-hosel putter was a hit a few years later.
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The adjustable-loft iron Why carry an entire set? By turning the wing nut on the hosel of this do-it-all club from 1900, you could hit any iron you wanted. Though a clever concept, this design was doomed when it was named "Ugliest Club of the Century" in 1901.
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The Simplex This wooden niblick, patented by Francis Brewster in 1897, was from a family of clubs designed to take the place of irons. Brewster believed that if aligning the shaft directly behind the center of impact worked for hammers, it should work for golf clubs, too.
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The telescopic putter Designed by George Rees in 1916, this club would have been right at home in Inspector Gadget's golf bag. The telescoping alignment rod collapsed and swung into a cavity hidden in the back of he blade.
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The alignment-bar putter The tail extending from the back of the putterface on this Arthur Hardingham design from 1905 was helpful for lining up putts -- and picking ice. The back of the alignment bar curved up to prevent the club from nicking the ground during the backstroke.
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The adjustable-weight putter If you think your TaylorMade driver is cutting edge with its moveable weights, then you weren't alive in the '20s. About 80 years ago, this MacGregor putter came with a set of lead weights, and the cylinder doubled as an alignment aid.
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The ring mashie W.G. Roy dreamed up this bageliron in 1876 to help golfers escape from water, casual or otherwise. Roy's iron quickly proved impractical, however, as it was almost impossible to avoid striking the ball twice, an infraction that results in loss of hole.