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Thread: TP Mills designs for Spalding

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    TP Mills designs for Spalding

    There was a time when I was very into collecting and restoring the Spalding putters that were designed by Mr. Mills during the 60's, 70' and 80's. I put together this little thing some time ago and it was posted on a few different sites so I thought I would add it here.
    During my quest to locate these putters, I really got into doing some research on Truetts work with Spalding which lead me to put together this chronological list of the putter for those interested;


    Designed by T.P Mills Spalding’s. Chronological Order.

    NOTE: Spalding marketed the T.P Mills (first numbered series) line of black finished putter’s which were primarily designed as a flange style blade. Each model was numbered, the insignia found on the heel side of the face. Center of the face is noted by a dotted line cross, or crosshair. In 1984 most of the T.P.M putters sold for $25.00 RN series and between $30.00 and $40.00 later versions.


    The first series released in 1970 was the Roman Numeral Series. Numbered I thru IX. These were produced predominantly in carbon steel, although stainless steel versions do exist. These were made with a black finish with the words Spalding Touring Pro Model engraved in the sole. They have a sight oval on the top line. They have the dotted line crosshair on the center face. The insignia TPM with Roman Numeral number is engraved on the face at the heel. These putters were shafted with True Temper 0.280 diameter shafts. The shaft could be straight, step less with flute or stepped steel in head with a black ferrule. The grips were a mix of either smooth black rubber pistol with Spalding in white or brown leather Spalding. Paint fills were in white. All were right hand only.
    Numbers are; I – II – III – IV – V – VI – VII – VIII – IX.

    The second series released in 1984 was the Numbered Series (first release). Numbered 1 thru 14. These were produced predominantly in carbon steel, although stainless steel versions do exist. These were made with a black finish with the words Precision Ground (toe), Spalding (center), and Designed by T.P Mills (heel) engraved on the sole. They have a sight dot on the top line. They have the dotted line crosshair on the center face. The insignia T.P.M with the number below is engraved in the face at the heel. These putters were shafted with True Temper 0.280 diameter shafts in head with NO ferrule. Most all of them were of the stepped steel type. Paint fills were white. Grips were smooth black rubber pistol with TPM or Spalding in white.
    Numbers are; 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 – 11 – 12 – 14. There was no number 13. Number 10, was left hand only. Number 14 is of the mallet type.

    The third series released in 1985 was the Tour Series. These were numbered 15 thru 19. These were produced predominantly in stainless steel, although a few carbon versions are known to exist. These were made with a black finish with the words Precision Ground (toe), Spalding (center), the number below Spalding (center) and Designed by T.P Mills (heel) engraved on the sole. They have a sight dot on the top line. NO crosshairs on the face of this model. The insignia T.P.M with Tour Series below it was engraved on the face at the heel. These putters were shafted with True Temper straight step less steel shafts in 0.350 diameter over stem. Grips were black rubber textured with Tour Series in gold. All paint fills were gold.
    Numbers are; 15 – 16 – 17 – 18 – 19. All right handed.

    The Numbered Series were re-released in 1991 with these changes. The top line had a narrow line added the full length with a sight dot. The faces of this release were brushed raw finish (no black). Paint fill on the face engravings was in black. The number 12 had a milled pocket in this release. Everything else remained the same as the same of the first release. Grips were smooth black rubber pistol with TPM in white.
    Numbers are; 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10 – 11 – 12 – 14. There was no number 13. Number 14 was changed to a flange style in left hand. Number 10 remained left hand only.

    The Numbered Series were re-released again in 1994 with these changes. The top line had a short wide line on each side of the sight dot about Ύ inch long. Paint fill color of this line/dot was lime green. Face paint fill color was black. Sole paint fill was white. Crosshairs on face. Numbers 1, 9 and 19 had TPM engraved on the back with white paint fill. These putters were cast and not forged or milled. Most were black in color with a rough texture with the face brushed raw. The number 9 was grey in color with a rough texture. Shafts were True Temper step less steel in 0.280 in head with no ferrule. Grips were black to dark grey wrapped textured with TPM in white.
    Numbers are; 1 – 6 – 9 – 10 – 12 - 14 – 15 – 19 – 20. Numbers 10 and 14 were left hand only.

    The Gold Series was released in 1987 in Roman Numerals. All were made of brass. Paint fills were deep red. Shafts were True Temper straight step less steel in 0.350 diameter over stem. Grips were black rubber pistol type with Spalding or TPM.
    Numbers are; I – II – III – IV.

    Notes: Additional putters were released after 1994. Registered Series was a black oxide long style Number 1 with a pocket, white paint fill with T.P Mills engraved on the face top near the toe. This putter was also released as brass version.
    There were a few other putters designed by Mr. Mills after he stopped working with Spalding released. One was a Tour Series III. Some of the first Numbered Series were released for the Japan market that had Cold Forged engraved in the bottom.

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    Major Champion c_ault's Avatar
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    That is some great information. I was looking at the Spalding TPMs but ended up buying a Mizuno TPM 9. Do you know of any good areas with information on them?

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    Attachment 1853

    I did not get involved with the Mizuno's any. Jay Green may be able to add some info here. I do have this one pic.

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    Thank you for the pic. I am really enjoying the #9 but may have to look into the #1 some time.

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    Good putters. I think they were made from carbon, nickle plated and then black oxide treated. The plating did not effect the feel and it made them fairly rust resistant. I think these were done during David Mills early days of having taken over the company. Can't remember the years of release off the top of my head, but I want to think it was late 90's into 2000/2001.
    This setup was like the earlier arrangement with Spalding only of course with Mizuno and it allowed David to have a putter line as OTR models of the putters he was selling himself as customs and handmades.

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    I still have a couple of these T.P. Mills Spaldings.
    I had a computerer milled one I got rid of.It was a georgeous putter but as with the ones I still have I never was able to get them to perform for me.
    Thank god because if I had who knows where the addiction would have led.

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    Spaldings

    I was able to collect at least 55 different versions (out of maybe 65) of the Spalding line in a couple of years. I enjoyed collecting and restoring them.
    When they were current and new, they were good putters, readily available in many sports shops across the country and very fairly priced for the times, at $20/$30 and Spalding sold thousands of them. They were not super high quality, but for the price point they were good. If you wanted a better quality version of any of them, you could have TP make you one for a price.
    Not a lot different today given the fact that Mills sells a basic OTR version, mainly in the Asian market, several models and you can still get a better version made by David.
    I think in the current custom putter world today, this is still a bit of a overlooked brand, because you can have a custom made at a better/lower price than say a Cameron in the same style and end up with a very well made putter. David learned well (he had a great teacher) and is as good as anyone at putter making.

    My old collection;

    Attachment 1857

    Mills1.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by jefffann View Post
    I still have a couple of these T.P. Mills Spaldings.
    I had a computerer milled one I got rid of.It was a georgeous putter but as with the ones I still have I never was able to get them to perform for me.
    Thank god because if I had who knows where the addiction would have led.
    Here is a computer milled one. I had bought one of those a few years ago from Jay Green. He had found a box of them in Davids shop during a visit. That was one of the last ones sold by Spalding. Larger head than the older Spalding lines. Very well made putter for a OTR putter.


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    I really like T.P. Mills putters.
    I have a T.P.M. 3 that I bought maybe 25 years ago and I used it for many years and it's still one of my favorite putters.

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    TPM's

    Keep in mind the Spalding putters were and were not Mills putters. Mr. Mills only sold designs to Spalding. They produced, marketed and sold these putters.

    These putters in my opinion have a great significance in the putter world today because they were all original designs of his which have survived the test of time and are still being copied today by almost every custom putter maker. I hate to ever see that point lost.

    They are also significant in the fact that some of the Spalding models are the only known examples that have surfaced as of today of a particular style. There is little doubt that TP would have handmade each and every model at some point, for some customer somewhere, but these just have not surfaced yet.

    Other models, such as the No.1 was the "One" as a handmade from TP (and David today) and these were handmade by TP in larger numbers. It simply a more accepted or functional style.

    I never had the chance to meet him while he was living and making putters, but I would hope that he would be very pleased where his company is today. I would also think he would be very pleased knowing that people still enjoy collecting and gaming these old simple putters from so long ago.

    He was one of the last true pioneers in club making. New guys still surface today, bringing some new style of putter to market, but none have had the impact TP had on the putter business. He and Karsten Solheim changed the putter world forever.

    Big Bertha 2005 454 13* Driver
    Big Bertha 2007 15* 3 Wood
    X24 2012 18* 5 Wood
    Edge 2014 22* 25* 28* Hybrids
    Edge 2014 7 - 8 - 9 Irons
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    "Golf doesn't build character, it reveals it"

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    Can you tell me about this putter

    Quote Originally Posted by HoosierGolfer View Post
    Keep in mind the Spalding putters were and were not Mills putters. Mr. Mills only sold designs to Spalding. They produced, marketed and sold these putters.

    These putters in my opinion have a great significance in the putter world today because they were all original designs of his which have survived the test of time and are still being copied today by almost every custom putter maker. I hate to ever see that point lost.

    They are also significant in the fact that some of the Spalding models are the only known examples that have surfaced as of today of a particular style. There is little doubt that TP would have handmade each and every model at some point, for some customer somewhere, but these just have not surfaced yet.

    Other models, such as the No.1 was the "One" as a handmade from TP (and David today) and these were handmade by TP in larger numbers. It simply a more accepted or functional style.

    I never had the chance to meet him while he was living and making putters, but I would hope that he would be very pleased where his company is today. I would also think he would be very pleased knowing that people still enjoy collecting and gaming these old simple putters from so long ago.

    He was one of the last true pioneers in club making. New guys still surface today, bringing some new style of putter to market, but none have had the impact TP had on the putter business. He and Karsten Solheim changed the putter world forever.
    This was my Grandfather's putter and his last gift to me. Can you tell me a little about it? I'm not so much looking for value (though that would be appreciated), but whether or not i should use it. You seem to be an expert on these, so any help you can offer would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mike

    Apparently I cannot post pictures or links yet but if you email me at residualmaverick at gmail dot com I will proved photos.

    Thanks In Advance

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