Hidden golf course once home to golf club manufacturing giant

Hidden behind a tree-lined fence on Woodman Drive is the former headquarters of one the most prolific golf club manufacturing businesses in the world.

In the early 1900s, the Crawford, McGregor & Canby Co. (CMC) of Dayton was the world's largest producer of golf clubs, and its MacGregor line became the biggest name in golf for 40 years.

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Much of this success had to do with Crawford Brothers who started the Dayton Shoe Last Company. Shoe lasts are shaped pieces of wood used to form shoes. The shoe lasts look like wooden feet. These shoe lasts were made on a copying lathe so they could be rapidly reproduced according to Dayton History which had temporary display of the machinery and clubs several years ago.

Until 1900, golf heads were completely hand-carved. Using a copying lathe, woodworkers could cut identical items in rapid succession by following the contour of a metal model.

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In 1928 CMC built the first company golf course on the 126 acre site now known as MacGregor Park on Woodman Drive. The course had nine holes and was used as a marketing tool to allow golfers to test MacGregor golf clubs.

The rapid demand of CMC’s persimmon woods and soon to be irons, drove the company to form MacGregor Golf which saw annual sales into the multi-millions.

MacGregor sponsored players such as Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Curtis Strange have been PGA, US Open, British Open and masters winners since the 1940s according to the Miami Valley Golf Association website.

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MacGregor Golf changed ownership more than half-a-dozen times in the past 100 years and is currently United Kingdom based. MacGregor Park became the Headquarters for Dayton Power & Light in 1988.

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