Genesis Invitational

Riviera Country Club

The Loop

Run your own first tee swindle with legendary hustler Titanic Thompson's clubs

October 30, 2015

The "official" record books say Sam Snead led professional golf in 1938 with $19,500 in earnings. Legend says Titanic Thompson often earned more than that in a week running ambidextrous hustles at clubs around the U.S.

One hustle didn't go quite his way (or, at least that's the story told in the listing), and Thompson lost his set of clubs to LPGA pioneer Babe Zaharias. Thompson's forte was losing early to set people up for a big second bet. Two of his favorite ploys were to call for a rematch left-handed, or to bring along a ringer to perform a "feat of strength" at the end of the day.

After losing an on-course bet to Zaharias, Thompson allegedly bet that his partner -- a mystery figure who turned out to be a former baseball pitcher -- could throw a golf ball farther down the fairway than the athletic Zaharias. Turns out Babe brought her own ringer, and her partner stood in for her and had the longest toss.


Thompson's set of lefty Tommy Armours ended up staying with the Babe -- and her foundation is now selling them on eBay. The lot includes three MacGregor woods, irons 2 through wedge and a Cash-in putter, along with a set of elegant leather head covers and a Burton bag. They can be yours for $9,000 -- about nine holes of work for Titanic back in the day.

If the clubs could talk, they'd probably tell you to ask for more strokes. Or to keep your money in your wallet.