Sticking with the moniker that bought it so much success is probably a good idea. Selling really good clubs at a terrific price will work too.
By Tony Dear
There have been other product names through the years – EVO, EQL, TA1, Royal Scot, Diamond Scot, Launch, Torch, Atomic – but whenever anyone thinks of Tommy Armour golf clubs (which admittedly probably isn’t very often) the first thing that comes to mind is nearly always ‘845’. The company’s original 845 Silver Scot iron was launched in 1988 and sold well over 600,000 sets during the next seven years, second only to Ping’s Eye 2 iron.
But, according to 14th century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer who first used the phrase, all good things must come to an end (not Chaucer’s exact wording perhaps) and, sure enough, the years following the 845’s initial success were dogged by bad luck, bad timing, bad managerial decisions and unfortunate ownership changes that eventually saw Tommy Armour’s then parent company, Tear Drop, declare bankruptcy in December 2000.
There then followed an avalanche of companies who bought the intellectual property, licenses and trademarks only to relinquish them to the next in line. Canadian Extreme Sport’s equipment manufacturer Gen-X bought the brands and was then bought itself by bicycle-maker Huffy which, about a year later, sold Gen-X but kept Tommy Armour which it soon let go, selling to financial firms Hilco Consumer Capital and Crystal Capital. They, in turn, sold to Sports Authority which went bankrupt in 2016.
Later that year, Dick Sporting Goods bought the rights to everything Sports Authority and, 18 months after that, announced it would be re-introducing Tommy Armour clubs. From the start, Dicks was clear about where the brand stood. It would honor the company’s legacy as well as that of the three-time major champion and Hall of Fame golfer for whom it was named by making quality clubs with cutting-edge technology but which sold at an affordable price.
The TA1 Driver that accompanied the announcement was red, clearly sending a “Look, I’m back” message that was actually met with a good deal of positive feedback and some solid reviews. The $299 price-point certainly helped.
In the short time Dicks has been proprietor, Tommy Armour clubs have evolved somewhat. No, they haven’t gone from one end of the player spectrum to the other and now have the look, and tech, of high-end players’ clubs, but they have toned the eccentricities in favor of a slightly more refined look.
Game improvement/forgiveness is still very much the theme, however. The TA1 (2018) and Atomic (2019) both featured a carbon composite crown and titanium face, while last year’s 845 Driver had two separate carbon sections in the crown. For 2021’s 460cc 845 MAX the single-section carbon crown is back but this time a little lighter allowing for more weight in the bottom of the club, consequently raising the Moment of Inertia (MoI) slightly – to around 5,500 g/cm².
New for the 845 MAX is Flex-11 Technology which Dicks says creates 11 different thicknesses across the 6-4Ti face, ranging from 3.3mm in the center to 2.1mm at the edges and helping to retain ball-speeds no matter where on the face contact is made. The six-position, adjustable hosel allows you to change the loft up to two degrees, higher or lower, and even set a draw bias.
The 845 MAX may not be giving you elite-manufacturer tech, but you are getting a semi-loaded driver at a great price – $250-$300 less than the big boys’ drivers, about $100 less than Tour Edge’s excellent Exotics C721 and $50 less than Ben Hogan’s GS53. For the game-improver on a budget, the 845 MAX could well be the ideal choice.
The 12˚ ladies club is lighter and shorter, comes with the Tensei CK Purple ladies-flex shaft and features a purple-accented head.
$300 (already available at the Dicks web site at $250)
Lofts – 9˚ right-hand only, 10.5˚ right and left.
Shaft – Tensei CK Red (55g in regular or senior-flex), Tensei CK Blue (65g stiff flex).
The 845 MAX family also includes fairway woods, hybrids and game-improvement irons at similarly attractive prices. On the company’s web site, the irons are already discounted to $450.
For more on the latest and greatest gear in golf, visit our GEAR PAGE.
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