The World's Tallest Golfer

The Legend of Robert "Waddy" Wadlow*

by Steve Divnick

Being an innovator in the golf business has come naturally for me. My grandfather, Edward "Divy" Divnick was well-known for creating some very unique golf clubs and baseball bats during the era of Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Forrest Galbraith, Babe Ruth and other famous people.

As a young farmer, my grandpa developed a secret method for curing pickles. His company grew to eventually supply the entire Northwestern United States with barrel-cured pickles that made the taste buds stand up and dance. The secret recipe was eventually sold to a large food company that continues to dominate the pickle market today. Because of non-disclosure agreements, we are not allowed to mention the name of the company, but they are no doubt your favorite pickles.

Grandpa was bored after the sale of the company, so he decided to take up golf to fill in his time. Being an inventive person, he believed it was always better to build his own tools than to buy them, so he formed his first shaft out of an old pickle barrel stave. He knew the material had unusual rebound-flex capability, and he wasn't disappointed. After some practice, he was winning long drive exhibitions with an unorthidox swing, occasionally taking money from the best golfers in the world who couldn't believe they were being taken by a farmer. Of course, he didn't tell anyone what the shaft material was, letting them assume it was some kind of hickory...the same as they were using.

In time, he formed a close friendship with Forrest Galbraith and told him the secret. Galbraith asked him to fit all his clubs with pickle barrel stave shafts, and to promise not to make shafts for anyone else. Galbraith immediately began to dominate the tour. When Grandpa honored his agreement and refused to make shafts for other pros, the golfing authorities ruled them illegal citing the lack of equal competition. So hickory shafts continued to be the norm until steel shafts took over.

 

Grandpa met Robert Wadlow, "The World's Tallest Man" at a county fair where Grandpa was putting on exhibitions driving golf balls over the ferris wheel and Wadlow was posing for pictures. They formed a fast friendship, and Grandpa taught Wadlow how to play golf. He also built a set of custom extra long clubs, including a 5' driver...out of his secret pickle barrel staves.

Grandpa built the extra long driver to fit Wadlow's enormous stature. Wadlow didn't have as smooth a swing as Bobby Jones, but he had what is probably the fastest club-head speed of any golfer before or after. The combined lenth of his 4' arms and club was near 10', so his club head speed was over 150 mph. (For comparison, Tiger Woods' is 130 mph.)

In his old farmer language, Grandpa wrote in his diary, "Waddy could drive the ball out of sight, but he never knew where it was going. You put your life at risk if you were anywhere in front or beside him. When he hit errant shots, he didn't need to holler 'FOUR' because the rest of us yelled 'FIRE IN THE HOLE' before he even swung!"

People loved to watch Wadlow tee off, even though he invariably nailed the gallery. In fact, it became a badge of honor to get hit by a Wadlow drive. One young boy got hit at a county fair in Arkansas. He came up with a brilliant idea and started following Wadlow around and selling tee-shirts that said, “I Got Laid Low By Wadlow.” Little Sammy Walton sold out at every event.

Sammy later expanded his product line to general merchandise and called his little Arkansas store Wal-Mart!

Wadlow loved his driver and never went anywhere without it. He used it as a cane which can be seen in most of the pictures in the record-books today. In fact, seeing Waddy with his club on stage one time, Bob Hope adopted the use of a golf club as a prop. Said Hope, "I tried to carry Waddy's club on stage one time, but it was taller than I was, and I kept tripping over it. He let me swing it once at the Riviera Golf Club, but I hit the ball so far I got in trouble with the Burbank airport traffic pattern!"

Waddy is shown here being interviewed by a young Bob Hope.

Wadlow was not supposed to tell anyone about the special pickle-barrel shaft material, but one day he let it slip back-stage during a joint-media event with Babe Ruth. The persistent Ruth contacted Grandpa and convinced him to make a bat for him. That was during the off-season after 1919 when Ruth had hit a record 29 home runs. But armed with the new pickle barrel bat, he hit an amazing 54 in 1920, and the rest is history.

A few years after his retirement, Babe credited his home run success to a, "Pickle farmer in Oregon who made my bats from wood soaked in pickle juice. Not only did the bats knock the cover off the ball, I ate one of his pickles before every game so the bats would feel at home in my hands."

 

Two Generations Later...

The torch of innovation has been passed on. DivnickGolf is known for its innovative clubs including the Whole-In-One Adjustable, Telescopic Travel Clubs, Super Wedges, and BIG STIK Drivers.

And in the spirit of the 5' Waddy Driver, we have made "The World's Longest Driver" for Peter Jöhncke, who is the preeminant Trick Shot Master. The driver is an impressive TWELVE FEET LONG! That's 366 centimeters for the metric crowd.

Click here to read one of the most recent articles about our clubs in Golf Inc. Magazine.

Get Your Own FIVE FOOT BIG STIK DRIVER

I tell the above stories and show these pictures as an introduction to our "BIG STIK Drivers. Our special Five-Footer is easily the world's longest production driver ever made."

*Of course, for the discerning readers, I made most of this legend up, along with quite a bit of photo manipulation. In fact, the only parts of the story that are true are that my grandfather made the best pickles in the Northwest, Robert Wadlow was the tallest man in the world, Babe Ruth hit a lot of home runs, and BIG STIKS are the best drivers in the world. The rest of it....well....I'm just having fun with my imagination. I hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

Click here to read more about the BIG STIK High-Loft/Low-Spin drivers.

Click here to see how you can get your own FIVE FOOT BIG STIK Driver.

 

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