Skip to main content

Geiberger sells '59' clubs, other memorabilia

Al Geiberger in 2012
Getty Images

You'd think a golfer who shot the first 59 in PGA Tour history would have it made.

You might be wrong.

Al Geiberger, who recorded the historic number – matched only four other times on Tour – in the 1977 Danny Thomas Classic, has auctioned off much of his memorabilia, including the clubs he used that day, according to a report in Golf Digest.

Geiberger's clubs sold for $12,457 and the Wanamaker Trophy he received for winning the 1966 PGA Championship went for $62,967, and the medal he won for that tournament fetched $24,275, according to the Green Jacket Auctions website. The bucket hat he wore that day went for $1,811. Other memorabilia sales accounted for a take of nearly $130,000, the magazine said.

The memorabilia was auctioned Saturday night by Green Jacket Auctions. It was not immediately revealed what the auction firm's fee was or who bought the memorabilia.

According to a posting on Geiberger's Facebook page, the clubs included a Spalding Al Geiberger model driver, TopFlite 4-wood, TopFlite Legacy 2- and 3-irons, Spalding Al Geiberger 4- through 9- irons, a Wilson sand wedge, a TopFlite wedge and a Con-Sole wedge. The Ping Pal putter he used in that round fetched $8,305.

Geiberger's name has been included on a California Franchise Tax Board list of the top 500 delinquent taxpayers, which claimed that he owed $219,060. However, he said that was not the reason he sold the memorabilia.

'We settled with the IRS,' he told Golf Digest, 'but the state is ridiculous to work with.'

He said he sold the memorabilia to augment his retirement income. 'I didn't make any retirement on the regular tour,' he said. 'The senior tour is where I built up some, but the annuity ends in 10 years.'

Geiberger told the magazine that his Champions Tour pension, an annuity on which he began collecting at age 65, expired at age 75 and that his PGA Tour pension pays 'a whopping $128 a month.'

The memorabilia had been gathering dust in a storage facility near his home in Palm Desert, Calif. The original World Golf Hall of Fame, then located in Pinehurst, N.C., wanted the clubs he used in shooting 59 in the second round in Memphis in 1977. 'But I was still playing with them,' Geiberger told Golf Digest. Instead, he sent the ball, a Hogan model that he used for all 18 holes. It has turned up missing, he said.

Between 1962 and 1979, Geiberger won 11 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1966 PGA and the 1975 Tournament Players Championship, and played on two Ryder Cup teams. He also won 10 times between 1987 and 1996 on what is now the Champions Tour.

He earned $1,265,188 on the PGA Tour and more than $5 million on the Champions Tour, where he most recently partnered with Jimmy Powell to tie for fourth in the Demaret Division of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga.