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Cleveland, Ohio . . . A hotspot for golf innovation?

by Taylor Spalding

In the past century Cleveland folk have made some very important contributions to the evolution of golf. Here is a brief summary.


  • Rubber cored ball invented by Clevelander -- According to the forward of The Art Of Golf, by Sir Walter Simpson, the game of golf was changed radically in 1898 by a Cleveland area resident named Coburn Haskell. Although he was only an average golfer, Haskell was very disappointed with the gutta percha ball. With the creative juices flowing he decided to visit his friend at the Goodrich Rubber Company. His friend was very busy and suggested that Haskell might enjoy walking around the plant. While meandering about, he happened upon a pile of rubber strippings. He began to wonder how a better golf ball might be made by winding these rubber strippings around a solid rubber core. With the help of his friend at Goodrich, Haskell developed the rubber cored ball. This new ball revolutionized golf as much as the gutta percha ball did when it replaced the feather stuffed ball in the mid-nineteenth century.

  • IMG founded by Clevelander -- Realizing that sports figures would be turning into major celebrities, Clevelander Mark McCormack founded IMG. With a strong belief that these emerging stars would need professional management, McCormack signed on Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as his first clients. Since then IMG has grown into one of the largest sports management and marketing companies in the world. IMG is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. And of course IMG at present is representing Tiger Woods, a golfer that will likely eclipse all that has happened before him in the world of golf.

  • Medicus invented by Cleveland area inventor-- This device is essentially the technological grandchild of The Ernest Jones method. Jones often used a pocketknife attached to the end of a handkerchief to demonstrate the pendulum properties of swing. See "Swing The Clubhead." This could possibly be the second greatest training device ever devised. Invented by Bob Koch from the west side of Cleveland, the Medicus has earned the Davis Love endorsement. I lived on the west side for a time and recall seeing the yet to be named Medicus being demonstrated back in 1988 or 1989 at Sweetbriar, a public course in Avon, Ohio.

    • There is one key flaw about the Medicus and the philosophy of Ernest Jones in general. We will explore that flaw in a future article.


  • Invention by Clevelander Taylor Spalding to be revealed at this web site -- details


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