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The Five Thousand Dollar Putter

April 23, 2003

When I was a youngster I worked in the family golf club manufacturing business. Our company, named "George Sayers" and owned by my grandfather and father was the United States affiliate of the "Ben Sayers, Ltd." company which was located in North Berwick, Scotland. 

Ben Sayers, Ltd. was founded by my great-grandfather, Ben Sayers, and managed by my great-uncle, Ben Sayers. 

If you haven't already done so, check out Ben Sayers by clicking HERE. You'll see my namesake playing a shot from some short rough. Included are some beautiful pictures of North Berwick and some interesting stories about my great-granddad.

Click BACK after looking at the page because you'll be leaving the web. 

Because my dad believed in having me start at the bottom--knowing all about the business from the ground up, as he explained many times--my job most of the time was sweeping, dusting, rearranging and, in general, being the person who did all the dirty jobs. 

One afternoon, I was told that some extra space was needed for a new shipment of the famous stainless steel heads which were forged in the North Berwick facility. It was my job to move dozens of boxes from here to there to make room for the new heads. 

I ended up in the second floor storage area which was seldom visited except by an errant pigeon or a lost mouse. During my task of moving things around, I came upon six wooden crates which were so heavy that I couldn't pick them up and could barely make them slide across the dusty floor. 

With some effort using a large chisel and a big hammer I was able to get the top off one box. Much to my surprise the box was filled with putter heads. Aluminum putter heads. Six boxes of aluminum putter heads was a strange thing to find in a secluded storage area of a company made famous by forged stainless steel club heads. 

Not only were the heads aluminum instead of stainless they had the name "Beaumont" stamped on them instead of "Sayers."

I opened a few more boxes and found more of the heads all very neatly wrapped in a thick kind of paper which was like pliable cardboard. Between each wrapped head and its neighbor in the box there was a layer of fine hay-like material. Every head was separated by an inch or more of the packaging material.

After investigating the contents of the boxes I took a handful of the heads downstairs to show my dad. When I showed them to him he was as puzzled as I was. He had never seen them before. 

What puzzled both of us was the mere presence of a huge number of club heads without the name "George Sayers" or "Ben Sayers" stamped on a single one. 

We searched for my granddad and asked him what they were. His response was, "Oh, them! I haven't seen them in about 30 years!" He then told us a story about a man whose last name was Beaumont who had a design idea for a putter made from aluminum. 

Because the Sayers companies didn't make any heads from aluminum the word was given to Mr. Beaumont that he'd have to settle for stainless steel. 

He had his mind set on aluminum. He would pay what every it took to have an aluminum putter head.

My granddad made some telephone calls. As it turned out, granddad was able to get some aluminum heads in the design Mr. Beaumont wanted but the minimum order was for 1000 heads and the price would be $5.00 per head.

Mr. Beaumont agreed to the deal. He got his putter 999 that he didn't need. 

Granddad had long forgotten about the putter heads until I found them. Because they didn't have the 'George Sayers' name or the 'Ben Sayers' name on them I'm sure he forgot about them rather quickly.

Although the time period when I found the heads was the mid-1950s, what makes this story so fascinating is that the episode of making the heads took place in the mid 1920s. 

In 1925, Mr. Beaumont paid $5000 to get one putter head plus the cost for our company to make the head into a useable putter.

In 2002 dollars, Mr. Beaumont's putter would cost over $100,000!  

After composing the above material, I did a Google search for the words "aluminum golf club heads beaumont" and was amazed to find the following picture and description.

The second head from the left with the black circle is the "Beaumont" putter. Look at the picture of my granddad and the putters from an article in a local Philadelphia paper. The round circle is clearly visible. I don't remember why a patent was applied for on the head. 

From the web page I found:

5 AN UNDERRATED "BEAUMONT" ALUMINUM head mallet. "F" and "Pat Apl'd For" on the sole and "Beaumont" on the back. The "C" shaped aluminum head has a raised black sightline and a steel face insert. A nice collectible from the late 1920's. $150-300

After the newspaper article and the interest it generated among our customers, my dad and I attempted to convince my grandfather that George Sayers should add the Beaumont putter to the company catalog. 

Granddad was very much from the 'old school' and at first didn't see the wonderful story in the putter heads and how I had found them. Clubs sold by Sayers were supposed to have the Sayers name on them. Granddad finally relented. The Beaumont putter was added to the Sayers line.

My dad wrote all the advertising copy for the catalog which included a shorter version of the story of the Beaumont putter. The putter was advertised as the "5M Putter" in the catalog.  

Because of the story in the catalog and the newspaper article, the demand was so great that we sold out very quickly. Everyone knew they were buying something very limited and which had a great story associated with it.

I regret I didn't get a putter or a head.

Here is the full newspaper article:

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