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Author Topic: QE2 "Q2" Golf Clubs made from her propellors  (Read 42284 times)

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Offline Waverley

QE2 "Q2" Golf Clubs made from her propellors
« on: Sep 02, 2010, 09:25 PM »
Seems that the old propellors were cut up to make sets of golf clubs by a complany called Swilken of St Andrews.

Does anyone know how many sets were made and what the price was  to purchase a set.   

I dont suppose anyone out there has a set?

A historic photo from Fairplay 1 who posted this on Flickr

Note: link not active so has been removed
« Last Edit: Jul 11, 2012, 06:08 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Robert

Offline IainM

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #1 on: Sep 02, 2010, 09:45 PM »
apparently there were about 7,500 sets made.....most of them went to Japan

I remember seeing a set in a golf shop in Glasgow, they were on sale for £1500 (a lot for a set of clubs at any time, even more so in the late 80's!) - I used to go into the shop as a teenager and just gaze longingly at the clubs - it was over a year before they were sold, they were the most stunning looking clubs as they all had a gold graphite shaft

Apparently they were a nightmare to use, so most of them are still in the wooden crates that they were sold in, occasionally they pop up on Ebay and some golf related sites but not very often -they sell now for round about £5k


Offline cunardqueen

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #2 on: Sep 02, 2010, 09:50 PM »
I remember the brochure, And they called them Q2 , a very lavish brochure, Correct me if lm wrong but wasnt it a 1000 sets and the price was along the same lines as well. They came all bound up in a wooden crate.
At the time and lm sure it was around about 1988 l gave serious thought to purchasing a set, Not that l play around you understand... but the price seemed expensive just to leave them in a box,so instead l purchased a picture instead, which gives more enjoyment.

There was also the Q2 Putter Royale. again a limited edition putter made from one of the props from QE2
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #3 on: Feb 24, 2011, 03:23 PM »
Cast from the original bronze propellers, right?
yes. These were created after the 1986-7 rebuild when the props were replaced.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline riskygizmo

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #4 on: Jul 08, 2011, 06:33 PM »
I played a (tiny) part in producing these. In 1988 I was working in a timber merchants near to St Andrews when I took a phone call from the joiner whom Swikens had commissioned to build the wooden crates (unfortunately I can't recall his name). Anyway,
he explained that he needed a quantity of dressed "joinery quality" white pine in an unusual size to make up boxes for a special
edition of golf clubs. OK says I and spoke to the sawmill and worked out prices and delivery times. I also mentioned it to my boss who, being an avid golfer and probably smelling "freebies" took the job away from me and made the sale. It was only then that
we discovered that they were to be made from the QE2's props which my dad had spent 10 years trying to keep turning.
Full Away on Passage.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #5 on: Jul 08, 2011, 06:57 PM »
What an amazing story! I love it when the Forum brings out background such as this... thank you for writing it up for us!

Did you ever get to see those boxes later, after they were produced?

bobso

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Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #6 on: Jul 08, 2011, 08:02 PM »
I have just read the story of the QE2 Golf Clubs. The propeller that was melted down, was-- for a time--- on display in a local shop car park. I sat on top of the Prop and if i can find the picture would anyone like to see it?

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #7 on: Jul 08, 2011, 08:30 PM »
Absolutely, Bob, if you can find it -- but take your time!

I wonder has anyone here ever played with those golf clubs? I suppose they were not really made for that...

bobso

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Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #8 on: Jul 09, 2011, 06:58 AM »
Hi Isabelle, Am feeling a lot better just now--still not back to normal --but i am slowly getting there. Will look for the picture of myself sitting on top of the QE2 propellor and when i find it, i will post it for you all to see.

Offline cunardqueen

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #9 on: Aug 14, 2011, 08:40 PM »
Im not one to play golf, indeed l know very little about the game indeed, But l did buy these recently to keep my Q2 golf clubs warm during the winter...all l need now is someone of the same mindset to play around with.

From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Paul Ableson

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #10 on: Jul 05, 2012, 11:37 AM »
Hello Everyone who is interested in the Q2 Golf Clubs.

My name is Paul Ableson, I was the concept man behind the project to turn the 64tonnes of aluminium manganese bronze into the unique sets of golf clubs that became world famous in the late 80's early 90's

If you have any questions at all then please do not hesitate in contacting me by email :sandhillbullion@aol.com or post your questions and I'll respond as soon as possible.

I have all the history and mountains of images

Read on (below) for the rest of the story!!

« Last Edit: Apr 17, 2020, 09:32 AM by Lynda Bradford »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #11 on: Jul 05, 2012, 12:13 PM »
Hello Everyone who is interested in the Q2 Golf Clubs.

My name is Paul Ableson, I was the concept man behind the project to turn the 64tonnes of aluminium manganese bronze into the unique sets of golf clubs that became world famous in the late 80's early 90's

If you have any questions at all then please do not hesitate in contacting me by email :sandhillbullion@aol.com or post your questions and I'll respond as soon as possible.

I have all the history and mountains of images

Hello Paul,

Perhaps to save you some time, and to allow us all in the Forum to know more about that fascinating story, you might be willing to post something about the background and history here?

For many of us, the story of the golf clubs is something we first knew about in this Forum, and we still know very little about the background and the connections.

We might also not be active golfers (I don't remember ever holding a golf club in my hands...) but the QE2 connection interests us all.

Paul, the floor is yours if you would like to share some of this story with us. I for one am all ears and eyes!

Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #12 on: Jul 05, 2012, 02:51 PM »
Hello Everyone who is interested in the Q2 Golf Clubs.

My name is Paul Ableson, I was the concept man behind the project to turn the 64tonnes of aluminium manganese bronze into the unique sets of golf clubs that became world famous in the late 80's early 90's

If you have any questions at all then please do not hesitate in contacting me by email :sandhillbullion@aol.com or post your questions and I'll respond as soon as possible.

I have all the history and mountains of images

Absolutely brilliant! Welcome!

If you need help posting images, and the more the merrier of this fascinating story, please let us know!

It is great to get the chance to record and preserve this story like this. Thank you.

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 35 years and creator of this website.

Offline Paul Ableson

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #13 on: Jul 05, 2012, 09:29 PM »
Kind of you to ask about the story . Its quite a long one so I may have to come back over the coming days and add pieces.

It all started back in late 1983 or early 1984 when Cunard announced it was going to undertake a $150 million refit of the QE2 in Bremhaven in 1985.  As producers of medallions for royal and state occasions we saw an opportunity in striking a commemorative medal for the re- launch of the ship .

Subsequently we were invited by Cunard in New York  to make a presentation to them so Malcolm Ableson went to New York to pitch for the business . We won the contract to produce some 20000 medal packs for the re launch which were given away and also sold on board.

Whilst Malcolm was in discussions with Mr Ron Santangelo VP Cunard ,from memory, Malcolm was offered the entire contents of the ship prior to it going to Germany for the refit . Everything from the carpets, curtains, furniture , crockery ,you name it it was on offer . Cunard did not want to land any of these goods in Germany as they would have to pay duty on them so most of the items we were told were going to be dumped overboard . During this conversation it was mentioned that there was an original pair of propellers that were fitted to the QE2  lying at the King George V dock in Southampton . When the ship was built 2 pairs of props were made just in case of an accident as it would take nearly 9 months to make a new one and the ship could not be out of service for so long

Being in the precious metals business the props were immediately of interest to Malcolm . He went back to his hotel and call me at 5.30 am and said get in the car and go to Southampton and have a look at the props from the QE2 . I of course said what on earth are we going to do with 2 propellers from the QE2 .

I went to southampton late that day and stayed overnight and on a very cold winters day turned up at the entrance to the dock are and asked the guard if he knew when these propellers were. He said " carry on for half a mile , there on the right hand side and there's no way you can miss them " odd I thought.

There they were two enormous bronze propellers . As it happens I have the part of the boss that was stamped with all the details so here they are.

19ft diameter, pitch 22.21ft at 5' 11 1/4 ", cast in Superston 70  weight 32ton 3cwt 3quaters 0lbs.  Cast by Stone Manganese Marine. They are stamped BOT 13 -6-67.

They were enormous to say the least and back in 1967 may have been amongst the worlds largest props.

It was the early days of those brick sized mobile phones , so I called malcolm at 3 am his time and said what the hell would we do with these  as there was enough metal for a whole counties coinage.

We made our interest know to Cunard that if they decided to sell them then we would like  purchase them.

Some 6-7 months went by and we received a Telex from Cunard NY stating that they were putting them up for sale   and bids were due by a certain date . As the most famous passenger liner in the world we knew we had to have them at any price.

Some weeks later we were informed that we have acquired them but at that stage didnt really have a clue what we would do with them but written in the contract it was stated that any souvenirs had to have the status and cuedos of the QE2.

Being based in the centre of Leeds we didn't have space to move the props and Cunard we happy for us to leave them there as there was no way anyone would even try and move them  not unless they had a 100 ton crane and  specialist moving equipment.

We spent months trying to figure out what to do with the metal after doing physical analysis of the material we discovered it was harder than stainless steel so we couldn't strike commemorative medals from it it had to be smelted and cast .

We then spent a great deal of time in trying test castings with similar material still not knowing if we had just purchase 64tons of a metal that was ideal for propellers and possibly nothing else . The deal was looking very good for Cunard but not for us.

At the same time as this was going on I had taken up golf again after some 15 years absence and hacking my way round the course .

It was on a friday morning that I came into the office met with Malcolm and said " Golf Clubs" we'll make Limited Edition sets of Golf Clubs made from the propeller metal of the QE2 . Thats how it all started.

We couldn't set up a manufacturing facility for possibly a one off project so we decided joint venture was the way to go. We rushed out to WH Smiths and bought every golf magazine on the shelf . Sat round the boardroom  table and looked at all the manufacturers advertising and then we came across " Swilken of St Andrews"   What could better Golf Clubs made in St Andrews the home of Golf from the propeller metal of the QE2.

The next step was to make contact with Swilken , which we did the same day . I spoke with their MD Ian Bunch and asked to make an appointment to see him but couldn't tell him what it was about except to say that I wasn't going to sell him Telex or Toilet rolls . He was reluctant as anyone would be but said we would be coming from Leeds so agreed to see us.

Two days later we turned up at the Swilken factory and met with Ian Bunch and Iain Lumsden company accountant. After the niceties I opened the conversation with " We have an original pair of propellers from the QE2 and we want to make a Limited Edition sets of Golf Clubs." Their first reaction was priceless . They thought we the the Morcambe and Wise of Leeds .

After weeks of discussions we finally put the JV company together Sandhill Swilken Corporation Uk Ltd .  We announced to the press of the launch of the project in July of 1987. So far it had taken some 2 1/2 years and still the props lay in Southampton .


The intention was to have product ready by spring 1988. In July of 87  we looked into having the props broken up ready for smelting and instructed explosives experts to look into removing the 6 blades from the boss so it would be easier to move and place into a furnace. After their inspection of the props they reported back saying that the explosives would remove the blades but also bring down a nearby footbridge over the railway line and probably destroy part of the rail network by the side of the docks. Oh dear we thought !!! It was then mentioned use a thermic lance . You only see Thermic lances in James bond fils and you cant find Thermic Lane operatives in yellow pages.

We timed the press release to coincide with the cutting up of one of the props which we undertook on the 10th December 1987 .With the press launch came the Uk interest from the local Press in Southampton , Leeds and St Andrews , quickly followed by the regional and national TV networks and then press coverage in New Zealand , Australia, USA and Japan. The magical combination of Golf and the QE2 came together like a perfect marriage and the Q2 Golf Clubs were born.

















Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #14 on: Jul 05, 2012, 09:38 PM »
Absolutely fascinating! Thank you for the start of this long story -- and looking forward to the next instalment.

What an adventure  ;D ...

Offline cunardqueen

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #15 on: Jul 05, 2012, 10:06 PM »
Absolutely amazing and a great story.. ;D
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Rod

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #16 on: Jul 05, 2012, 10:42 PM »
Really amazing!

Offline Paul Ableson

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #17 on: Jul 06, 2012, 07:21 AM »
a couple of more pics that didnt download last night.
These pics show the press and the starting of cutting one prop with a Thermic Lance

Offline Paul Ableson

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #18 on: Jul 06, 2012, 07:28 AM »
Pic of one of the cut blades being lowered into the furnace for smelting and then the metal being poured into ingots

Offline Paul Ableson

Re: QE2 Golf Clubs
« Reply #19 on: Jul 06, 2012, 08:54 AM »
It seems I can only load one image at a time so here is the pic of part of a blade being lowered into the furnace