Olde Master Originals

Olde Master Originals’ Berger
Turns Wood into Golf Club Replicas

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(May 2002) CRESTWOOD, Ky. – At Olde Masters Originals, David Berger produces what he calls “a totally unique product.” His wooden putters return the game of golf to its origins.
Long before metal golf clubs were invented in the middle of the 19th century, wooden clubs were the norm. Berger strives to recreate the history of golf in his Olde Master putters.
Located in Crestwood, Ky., for the last three and a half years, Olde Master Originals are sought as collector pieces but are fully functional as well. Skilled artisans handcraft each putter.

Olde Masters Club

The Scotsman putter

There are no joints or seams in Olde Master’s one-piece putter, which gives it a “great putting feel,” he said. Each putter is weighted and balanced to produce a useable product that will roll the ball with perfect balance and accuracy.
Berger said he stocks 16 different types of exotic hardwoods from which four distinct styles of putters can be crafted: the Wingback, the Offset, the Mallet and the Olde Scotsman. The two most common domestic woods that are frequently used are hickory and curly maple.
The most popular type of wood comes from Africa and is known as zebra wood. The most expensive is pink ivory, also from Africa.
Olde Master Originals also offer several items to complement their wooden putters. These include a solid mahogany and oak putter stand that holds four putters and balls. This larger piece contains an electric ball return.
Also available are walking sticks, complemented with solid brass handles. The buyer gets his choice of head (ball, T-handle, eagle, golf club, duck) and grip (diamond, casino, leaf, chevron, pebble) designs. Walking staffs, plaques and backscratchers can also be custom made at Olde Master Originals.
Berger said his main clientele is comprised of corporations seeking unique gifts to present to faithful customers or honored retirees. The gift-giver will always be remembered because he gave something different than the usual trophy award. A plus is that “you can actually use these,” said Berger.
One of Berger’s main retailers is Taste of Kentucky. Located on Shelbyville Road in Louisville, the company is managed by John Hassmann who said he loves the local flavor of Berger’s product.
“We specialize in good, home-made Kentucky products,” Hassmann said. He resells Berger’s product to many Kentucky golfers who find it unique, he said.
Hassmann said he was impressed with the variety of woods Olde Masters offers and the unique character attached to each putter. “This is the kind of thing you don’t buy on impulse,” he said.
Berger said that each putter is similar, but yet a little different. The process of crafting a wooden putter is begun with rough lumber that is cut to shape. It is then turned on a lathe and hand-finished. Six coats of polyurethane are then applied to protect the wood.
Six different engraving patterns are also available. The purchaser can customize his putter with a laser engraving of a logo, name, inscription and grip design.
He said that his five employees like to work with wood. When it comes down to detailing the head of the putter, he compares his employees to artists.
Bruce Lang is one of the artisans who create these special order items. “No two days are ever the same,” he said of his job. Each time Lang sees a piece of wood, he envisions something unique about it, he said.
Lang became interested in stone carving while in college, and this interest eventually turned to wood. He taught stone carving for 25 years to eighth-grade students.
Lang said he has accompanied Berger to many golf-related trade shows, including the annual PGA Show in Orlando, Fla., to promote Olde Masters.

• For information, call Olde Master Originals at (502) 241-7071 or visit: www.oldemaster.com.

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