I was saddened by the news that former Master’s Champion Gay Brewer passed away from complication of lung cancer at the end of August. It is not often you custom build golf clubs for a PGA tour player, let alone a former Master’s champion so you tend to remember that vividly. More importantly, Gay was such a genuine down to earth person. The few times I met with him, he treated me as if I had know him all of his life, which I am sure he did with everyone he encountered.What I remember most was Gay was a tinker extraordinaire with custom golf clubs and probably never saw a club he did not like or try. He was one of the first to experiment with graphite shafts when Jim Flood (Aldila founder) handed him some to try. He even experimented with a no-hosel driver two decades before Callaway introduced the Big Bertha by cutting off the hosel of an old wooden wood. How I was fortunate to even associate with him was by happenstance when I worked at Dynacraft in the early 1990’s.
Gay was at a driving range in Palm Springs and happened to look inside the bag beside him. The gentleman said to go ahead hit them, in which he did. He asked the guy were he could get a set of those iron. The gentleman replied they were built by a guy in Oregon and we could make a call and have him make you a set of Dynacraft C/S Classics. He used that set throughout the 1992 season, including the Masters, in which he won back in 1967. In June of that year, he signed a contract to play Dynacraft equipment.
He was 60 years old then so he was on the Super Senior series so he was not going to contend as much and the youngsters on the Senior Tour. That didn’t matter to us as we were beaming with excitement that he was using Dynacraft golf equipment and he was such a great ambassador to the game and to golf clubmaking. In addition to the ’67 Master, he won 10 other times on the PGA Tour and once more on the senior circuit during his career.
Besides myself, there was a few others of our staff that would build some clubs for Gay to use (err, well maybe) as they would be shipped to whatever tournament there was for the week. Truth be known, he would probably hit those clubs at the range a few times, then head on over to one of the tour vans where he would have them re-shafted with whatever was new. I think he thought that the shafts wore out as he was always changing as Paul Hughes, former clubmaker on True Temper Senior Tour repair van, would tell us he was always looking for something new. So eventually we got smart and just shipped the clubheads to him.
In November of last year I was cleaning up an area in the swing room and the memories of Gay came back. I grinned as I came across two boxes of C/S Classics that we had always held in reserve when Gay ever needed a set.
Gay was laid to rest in his green Master’s jacket in his hometown of Lexington, KY and survived by his daughters Erin and Kelly.