Author Topic: 10-Minute Interview with Tad  (Read 4453 times)


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10-Minute Interview with Tad
« on: April 16, 2014, 07:01:53 AM »
Looks like Tad did a couple of interviews with Golf Wire (  I pasted the interviews since they seem to disappear after about a week.  I had to find a cached copy of part I.  Might be common knowledge to many,  but it provides some nice background on how Tad got started in the business.

Part I of the interview

Tad Moore is a name synonymous with clubmaking. In August, Moore signed with Orlimar to design a Signature Series of putters. Limiting Moore, 73, who has more than 50 years of experience, to just 10 minutes on the topic of clubmaking was leaving too many questions on the table, to today's interview is the first of two parts with The Golf Wire's Stuart Hall.

Q.: You have been designing clubs dating back to 1963, more than a half century. Briefly, how did you get started and what was the appeal?

MOORE: What got me interested in it was my mother. She was a very good player, and when I was born in 1941, she was already 35 years of age and was not about to give up her golf. So she would take me to the golf course [outside of Toledo, Ohio].

Back then there weren't swimming pools and all these different activities for kids to do. When I was up and walking and someone could look after me, I ended up pretty much in the care of the person who took care of the clubroom where the bags were stored. And back then, in the '20s, '30s and '40s, that guy was also the builder of clubs and he did repairs of clubs for people who played there. That guy at our club was Joe Battle.

I was really curious how he did things. As I got older, my dad had an appliance business and he would bring home the latest, greatest radio or something and I would be the guy who would take it apart to see how it worked. It drove him crazy.

So the idea of taking and making a better golf club came from that. I was very mechanically inclined and very curious about how things were made.

Q.: We could talk for hours about the changes in club designing over the past 50 years, but in your opinion what has or have been the biggest?

MOORE: I think the biggest change, and it took place in a matter of few years, was the use of computers in the designing of golf clubs. I think Callaway may have been the first, in that they were able to take a computer design that was generated through digitizing of other golf clubs. They would modify them for their use and design, and very easily transfer that into a machine that would create a wax mold that they could then cast a golf club head from. I think Dick Helmstetter and Callaway may have been the first to really revolutionize and use that.

It has changed how golf clubs are made forever, because before that we were basically drawing the item on a drawing board or on a pad of paper and then we would go and make the item.

In my case, if it was a putter, I would actually go to the milling machine and lathe and make it. If it was an iron, I would get a rough forging, and I would grind it to shape, I would weld on added material that I would then grind and shape. So things were done by hand, and those very same things are now being done on a computer with the utilization of a wax machine or one that would make a resin image replica of what you have designed.

That's tremendous. It's really changed the making of golf clubs.

Q.: And when did this take place?

MOORE: Somewhere around 1994 or '95 up to around 2000 everything went to that direction.

Q.: What intrigued you most about designing a new putter series for Orlimar?

MOORE: I had never stopped designing and I was doing other work for companies. When I went to work for Maxfli in 1989, they didn't have any golf clubs in play, so it was a matter of resurrecting that worldwide brand, particularly here in the United States.

This was a similar challenge. I remember very well, the great Orlimar tri-metal fairway woods and the drivers that became a kind of cult thing. And how the company had kind of gone by the wayside and now these gentlemen have an interest in revitalizing and making it a viable product once again. And that was an interesting challenge to me.

I also got to know the principal of the company, John Runyon [president and CEO, Orliamr], and so I thought "Well, this would be something great to try and do."

So that's how it came about.

Q.: Can you describe the satisfaction of seeing your designs in the hands of players, especially when those clubs are helping their game?

MOORE: I think this is one of the things that is the most enjoyable part of designing a golf club and, in particular, designing a putter. When I was first designing putters, it was for friends or professionals that I knew. I would get a response to it and that was great. Then as I started to do more work for professionals and better amateurs it really became rewarding. And to me, whether it's an amateur or professional, seeing the person improve their game is very, very exciting.

I have a friend of mine here in Selma, [Alabama], who has won back-to-back Alabama Senior Amateurs with the Tadpole putter that is now being produced by Orlimar. I was just as excited about him winning those back-to-back amateurs as I was when [Ian Woosnam] won the 1991 Masters with one of my putters.

I was just recently out on the Champions Tour and Sandy Lyle uses one of my putters, and he's been putting really well with it.

It's hard to explain. I'm 73 years old now, but I still get excited watching somebody play good with something I have created. It's just amazing and one of the great thrills of my life - and I would imagine anybody's life who creates something.

Q.: Ian Woosnam once told you that he could not have won that '91 Masters without your help in creating the perfect putter. What exactly did you create for him?

MOORE: In the case of Woosie, being somewhat smaller in stature, he needed a putter that had more head weight because the putter was shorter. He needed a putter that had tremendous feel because even back in 1991 the speeds of the tournament greens were very, very fast.

He told me he practiced for the Masters on his billiard table at home. He would actually stand on it and putt, because it was the only thing he could putt on over there that was a similar kind of speed. And he wanted to see the ball roll off of the putter and roll straight, and not have any side motion to the ball. So he was looking for a putter that was very stable.

In his case, I was making a putter that was somewhat heavier than I had made for anybody at that time and it was probably an additional 10 grams or maybe even 15 grams heavier than the normal putter I was designing for a tour player.

I also wanted it to be slightly longer than what was being used at that time to help him with what he was doing with his visualization of the putt. It was difficult just trying to make him the really right putter. It is easier to make a putter for the normal guy, because there is a lot more experience on making putters that are 34 or 35 inches long and how they make the ball roll, how you get the distance control with it, and how you gain accuracy.

So his putter was difficult to make at that point and time.

Part II of the interview

Tad Moore was first introduced to the craft of clubmaking at a golf club outside of Toledo, Ohio, where his mother played. By the early 1960s, Moore was designing his own clubs for others to play. Moore, 73, has been at it ever since. In the second part of Moore's interview with The Golf Wire's Stuart Hall, Moore talks about the past, including his penchant for hickory clubs.

Q.: Did noted clubmakers Scotty Cameron and Bob Bettinardi work for you?

MOORE: Scotty was involved when we did the first Maxfli milled putters, so I guess you could say he did work for me or worked on that same project. He had left the company he previously worked for and didn't really have anything going. Scott and I were friends, so I had him help me make the Maxfli putters.

Bob Bettinardi actually manufactured some putters for me for about three years. And Bob is a great machinist, and I went to him and we had some great putters manufactured there at Bettinardi.

Q.: For all of the golf club's evolution, you have turned back the clock somewhat and are now making hickory clubs, correct?

MOORE: I got very interested in playing with hickory golf clubs back around 1990 and in playing with them, I found it was very difficult to get certain good scoring or playing clubs over here [in the United States] or even in Scotland.

My friend just said to me, 'Well, why don't you just make them? You make other clubs.'

So I started making hickory clubs about 10 or 12 years ago, and that is ultimately what brought me here to Selma, [Alabama]. I acquired most of the old Otey Crisman club-making equipment. The main thing was the wood lathes to turn the shafts. So we do manufacture a line of reproduction pre-1935 hickory clubs. We even manufacture clubs that were played around 1880 to 1885.

It's a great experience, a lot of people are finding out more about hickory clubs and playing them. It's just a great experience.

Q.: Is there anything you have found by going back and reproducing these old clubs that is applicable to today's designs?

MOORE: The statement people make about there is very little new in the game of golf is probably pretty true.

We're playing the hickory game with a modern golf ball, and we play from yardages that are less than what we would play with modern clubs. People who play with hickory clubs will play basically the same score they shoot with modern clubs, but they're playing from a shorter distance.

So what it has proven to me is that the game is pretty much the same. It points out you have to hit in the fairway, knock it on the green and then have to make putts. The supposed gains in equipment have not necessarily been gains that brought about tremendous reduction in our scores. And I think most people see that.

By looking at the old game and looking at what I do in the new game, I think there are some really good things I can draw from, particularly in the case of putters. A hickory putter, although it really doesn't have much torque - people want to say torque when you're talking about hickory - it does have a lot of feel. So what I try and do is recreate the feel of the old golf club and the new golf club. That way you really do get a true feeling back so that you can understand if you mishit a putt versus hitting a putt on the right place on the putter.

All these kind of things you think about when you're designing something.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 07:05:50 AM by cnosil »


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Re: 10-Minute Interview with Tad
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 12:28:44 PM »
Really enjoyed reading this, thank you.


Re: 10-Minute Interview with Tad
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 10:36:44 PM »
Wow thanks for posting the article. What a great read and a small insight into Tad's amazing journey through his career in the golf industry.  It is always nice to hear the thoughts of people like Tad, whom I hold in hgh regard.


Re: 10-Minute Interview with Tad
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 09:25:59 AM »
Thanks for posting the articles.  I enjoyed doing it.  I have had several things done this year.  It is easy for people to forget and the younger people never hear.  Again Thanks, Tad


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Re: 10-Minute Interview with Tad
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2014, 10:04:07 AM »
Great to read up on and hear directly from Mr. Tad Moore! Thanks for posting these interviews and bringing this artist and builder to another generation.

As a minister, I often hear things said in eulogies that I wish I had heard said much earlier, when those being remembered could appreciate how others felt about them. Our culture is not shy about telling people off, when we are unhappy with them, but for some reason we don't say the kind things, the memorable things to them while we have them around.

Tad Moore is a golf treasure, and we need to not look at his age and say, "73... too old." Rather we need to say, "73 and still on the cutting edge!" Just got my most recent Tad Moore 1/3 prototype a week or so ago and putted lights out!

Thanks for all of the time, blood, sweat, and tears that you have invested into this game Tad!

Jimbo  8)
.: Jimbo :.

Tour Exotics EX9 driver and 3 wood
Tour Exotics EXi irons
Tour Exotics 56*/60* Xtreme Spin Black wedges
Tad Moore Pro1, Slighter Portland, Byron Morgan C/S Spud in AlBz, Byron Morgan cc Proto (they rotate)
Xenon Cu 10* currently in the bag