Lot 104
  • 104


5,000 - 7,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Frank Sinatra's personal golf clubs, with customized bag and other equipment
A partial set of golf clubs, comprising 8 irons and 4 woods: True Temper First Flight "eagle" custom steel shaft irons 3–8 with facsimile of Frank Sinatra's signature in orange on the heads and Golf Pride Traction Action grips; MacGregor MT Tourney steel shaft irons 7–8 with MacGregor Tourney grips; True Temper First Flight "eagle" Model K steel shaft woods 1, 3–5 with Golf Pride Classic "Pro Only" grips, the 4 and 5 woods with knit orange and black head covers. The clubs contained in a black and burnt orange leather bag with carrying strap and five zippered compartments, bag personalized with the moniker The Thin One in orange letters silhouetted against black, bag with two of Sinatra's membership tags from the Hillcrest Country Club, Los Angeles. The bag and clubs are accompanied by a white leather and orange nylon Gino Paoli left-hand glove; 15 vintage gold balls, including First Flight, Tourney, and  Titleist, four of the First Flight balls additionally printed "Frank Sinatra" and three others printed "The Thin One"; four unopened sleeves of Wilson Ultra 500 golf balls printed with the logo of the Frank Sinatra Invitational; a large quantity of vintage wooden tees; and a nylon wheel-board travel bag with the logo of the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational.

Catalogue Note

Frank Sinatra was a dedicated recreational golfer, but he was not serious about the game in the way his contemporaries Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dean Martin were. He liked the game for its camaraderie and the opportunity it provided to talk about music and business. In his memoir Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra, Sinatra’s valet, George Jacobs, wrote that the singer “only played at playing golf.” In a later interview with Golf.com, Jacobs described Martin as the only truly dedicated golfer among the Rat Pack: “Dean would leave a party early and get up at five or six so he could play. Sammy and Frank, if they hit their ball in the rough, wouldn’t look for it. Just drop another ball and play on. Frank could hit it pretty well off the tee, but that was about it. He would hack it around, having fun, you know?” Having fun was one of Sinatra’s principal pursuits, so it is appropriate that he extended that to the golf course. Early in his career when he was singing with Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra, the trombonist and vocalist soon discovered that they both operated on very little sleep. Sinatra recalled, “I’d sit up playing cards with Tommy until maybe 5:30 every morning. … I’d fall off to bed about then, but around 9:30 a.m. a hand would shake me awake and it’d be Tommy saying, ‘Hey pally—how about some golf?’ So I’d totter out on to the gold course” (quoted in Summers & Swan, Sinatra: The Life).

Philanthropy was another of Sinatra’s principal avocations, and in the 1980s, he and Barbara founded the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational to support the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children. (In 1963, Sinatra hosted a one-time PGA event at the Canyon Club, Palm Springs, Frank Sinatra Open Invitational.) In keeping with his general sense of fairness and equality, it is worth noting that when Sinatra joined a Los Angeles country club, he choose Hillcrest, a traditionally Jewish club.

“The Thin One”—emblazoned on the present golf bag as well as some of the personalized golf balls—was an early Sinatra nickname that was eventually displaced by more familiar ones: The Voice, Ol’ Blue Eyes, and The Chairman of the Board. But it had enough cachet still in 1962 that the composer and arranger Neal Hefti—perhaps best known for writing the themes to the The Odd Couple movie and TV series and the Batman series—supposedly wanted to name the second of his two terrific collaborations with Sinatra, which was relased as Sinatra and Swingin’ Brass, “Hefti Meets The Thin One.” One version of the story is that Sinatra would not agree to this rather tortured pun and Hefti, irritated, did not work with him again. Hefti maintained that he decided he could never top that album—Mark Steyn calls it one “of the best in the history of recorded sound”—and simply gave up vocal arranging.