The High Priest of Persimmon...
Elmore Just’s life and livelihood revolved around Persimmon, he called the wood “nature’s gift to the game of golf.” Not only did he craft the finest golf clubs from it, but he built a course in the late 1980’s called Persimmon Ridge, and lived on Persimmon Ridge Drive. The course was sold to a management company in 1991, but thanks in part to Louisville Golf’s reemerging success, Elmore and Louisville Golf repurchased the course in February of 2001. Designed by Arthur Hills and rated one of the top courses in Kentucky, Persimmon Ridge is the home course of Louisville Golf, now owned by Elmore’s widow Lawren.
Elmore passed away on April 23, 2001 at the age of 53 after having suffered a heart attack completing his round of golf at Persimmon Ridge. He is buried in a plot of ground adjacent to the 7th hole. Mike Just, one of three Just brothers who still works at the company, took over as Louisville Golf president following Elmore’s death and now is its owner. Every April golfers celebrate Elmore Just’s life and legacy at the Elmore Just Memorial golf tournament, affectionately called The Elmore.
Elmore was a keeper of the game’s traditions; he truly believed that golf was better played with wood golf clubs. Elmore would have agreed with Gary Player who called the sound of a well-hit Persimmon wood “the symphony of golf.” Yet another major championship winner, Davis Love III, who was one of the last to play a Persimmon driver on the PGA Tour, said in his recent biography: “Golf is somehow more enjoyable with Persimmon (woods).” Tiger Woods, who in 2004 had Louisville Golf build him a Persimmon driver, said in a Golf Digest article that if it were up to him golf “would be all Persimmon and balata (balls).” Now there are several initiatives for Persimmon woods to once again be played, from John Erickson’s proposed Persimmon Golf Tour to the blog Persimmon Golf Today, Elmore’s steadfast loyalty to Persimmon may yet one day be realized.
Elmore simply wanted the game of golf to be enjoyed, and his belief was consistent with Love’s, that golf is more enjoyable with wood golf clubs. It is why he persisted with Persimmon when all other golf companies were going metal, and it is the legacy we honor today in his memory.
“So here is the challenge if you want to play better golf: forget about trying to play better and concentrate on enjoying the game more. For in the long run this is the surest way to play better golf. I love this game.”
– Elmore Just, Louisville Golf founder
More about Elmore Just
Elmore's Last Column