by Dave Finn – as published in the December 2017 issue of “The Jigger”, the official newsletter of The Golf Historical Society of Canada.
As a member of The Golf Historical Society of Canada, I’m sure you’ve dreamt about playing in your 19th century regalia, using hickory-shafted clubs while plying your skills on some of the most historic links golf courses in the world.
Last month, I had the unforgettable opportunity of not only participating in the 13th annual LinkedGolfers World Hickory Open Championship in East Lothian, but I also won the two-day Stableford event at Kilspindie!
Not only was this my first visit to Scotland – the “Home of Golf” – which has taken on a whole new meaning for me: it was also my first time playing with hickory clubs that were graciously provided by local collector Chris Homer. I should also mention that Chris was instrumental in organizing a 10-day hickory golf event on the Plains of Abraham to celebrate Quebec City’s 450th birthday!
After a horrendous practise round, Chris consoled me when he said that “every hickory club has its own personality. You have to get to know them individually” but it wasn’t until our official starter Allan Crow, placed his hand on my shoulder and told me “low and slow laddie, low and slow” that I finally caught on. It also didn’t take me long to learn how to hit a bump-and-run shot since nothing would hold on those Scottish greens.
Sean Kelly, the two-time title sponsor told me that “The LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Open Championship celebrates the skill, honor, and camaraderie that are the foundations upon which the game of golf was built. It also honours a period of golf that relied substantially more on feel and creativity”.
The week-long festival is comprised of multiple tournaments, including one that is recognized internationally as Hickory Golf’s most prestigious major. It draws a full field of both professional and amateur players with flights organized to provide the best experience for every individual.
LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Open Championship Package: The £300 price includes Monday’s Team Tournament, the two-day LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Open Championship, a gala dinner, and prize ceremony. The LinkedGolfers 2017 Texas Scramble is an additional £50, and you can also play in the LinkedGolfers Team Triangular Match Play for £150. Worthy investments to round out your hickory golf odyssey.
Kelly assured me the final costs for 2018 will be determined soon, but he doesn’t expect that they will differ much from the LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Festival.
This year there were over 120 competitors from 15 countries vying for world supremacy but there were only two of us representing Canada. We need to change that! By the end of the week I had made new life-long friends from all around the world who share the same passion for hickory golf. I have also made acquiring my own set of matched hickory clubs my personal quest!
The 2018 dates have just been released. The entire festival will run from October 14th to the 20th with the LinkedGolfers World Hickory Open been played on the 16th and 17th. Kelly said, “I wanted the event to follow the Alfred Dunhill Championship and British Masters so we can possibly attract a few more touring professionals this year”. For more information, check out www.worldhickoryopen.com or visit www.linkedgolfers.com for extensive media coverage.
Dave Finn is a multiple national award-winning golf travel writer and photographer from Canada and he’s been hooked by the hickory bug. He claims to have already bought a second pair of plus-fours, a stove-top canvas bag and a set of irons but he’s still on the hunt for a playable brassie. Follow his golf travel adventures at https://golfcodeweekly.com/david-finn and https://www.top100golfcourses.com/reviewer/4956