Ambrosia for the pure golf enthusiast

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Tad Moore is the nostalgic answer to the prayers of golf purists across the country.

His work is the product of a family of avid golfers that has produced golf clubs since 1939.

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He took over the business in 1963, and has since produced custom, hickory clubs for golf purists that are eager to play the game the way it was originally meant.

“It is a small, niche market,” said Moore. “We really are about the only people in the country doing this.”

Prior to his focus on hickory golf clubs, Moore was best known for creating the Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) mill putter. The CNC process is one that allows a manufacturer to make the same piece rapidly, similar to the process involved in creating most precision parts.

Today, most “woods” and drivers created by golf equipment manufacturers such as Ping, Taylormade and Nike are comprised of steel, graphite or titanium.

Moore’s woods live up to their namesake. The shafts are made of hickory, and the club heads do not carry a hint of metal.

Only his irons and putters feature metallic heads, but they do not stray from the hickory shaft.

Moore’s clubs are the result of years of research, testing and innovation with his partner, Otey Crisman III.

Crisman was well versed in the art of club making. His father, Otey Crisman, Jr., was a member of the PGA tour during the 1930s through the 1950s. In 1946, displeased with the blade putter commonly used at that time, he crafted his own mallet-style putter and a business his son continues to run today.

“That’s kind of something we’ve done for the last 35, 40 years,” said Crisman.

Due to the growth and increasing popularity of hickory golf, Moore started a society of hickory golfers. However, it was hard to find good, playable hickory clubs. That’s when Moore decided to create them himself.

“There was a market for hickory golf, but Tad came to me in mid-2004 with an idea to expand it,” said Crisman. “He wanted to know if I could make a shaft. We got some heads made, but it was a learning process.”

Today, Moore’s company, Tom Morris Golf Clubs, conducts the majority of its business online. Moore handles the business and design end of it, while Grisman does all the assembly work.

And thanks to a recent ad, word of the small company is spreading.

“A lot of people saw our ad in Southern Living and bought clubs for Father’s Day,” said Crisman. “A lot of them bought one club, but made it a point to say, ‘If he likes them, we’re going to buy some more.'”

Word has spread to such a degree that NBC’s “The Today Show” interviewed Moore in a segment originally set to run on Father’s Day. However, the floods in Iowa and recent passing of NBC reporter Tim Russert prompted the company to delay the segment’s airing.

“I enjoyed (the taping process),” said Moore. “They were at the house for about 4 1/2 hours and asked a lot of questions. I just hope we get a few minutes on TV.”