It was April last year when my long-time friend Dave Finn asked if I would be interested in joining him for the WHO – World Hickory Open Golf Championship in Gullane. I had no idea what a WHO is let alone where to find Gullane. If someone would have asked, I would’ve guessed Ireland. Well, it’s on the north coast of Scotland, affectionately know as the Scotland’s Golf Coast, the last bastion of soil before the North Sea.
My first thoughts were, I had just gone through some momentous changes in my life and I wasn’t ready for a big trip like this. Too much preparation was in order. I didn’t even have clubs! Where do you start? Playing with hundred-year-old clubs was going to be a challenge but I knew this trip was about more than the golf. It was about the camaraderie and pushing beyond my comfort zone. I knew I had to make this happen!
by Edward Kiersh
My rain and cold weather gear were packed. So were six dozen Titleists, for there would be a lot of traipsing through ankle-deep gorse, all sorts of bedeviling hillocks, and unplayable seaside lies.
An adventure loomed, 12 days in the Cradle—pursuing Old Tom Morris’ spirit, confronting notorious winds along with other trials and tribulations—and just hoping to savor the unique pleasures of Scottish links golf.
So the prolonged terrifying jolts of turbulence punctuating my flight over the Atlantic served as a true portent of what was lying ahead. There’d be memorable visits to fabled Royal Dornoch and North Berwick, even some taming of sharply-contoured greens after hitting “heroic”—cum—gutsy shots over treacherous dunes and beachside ravines. But these glories would also be coupled with too many struggles in yawning bunkers and ensnarling grasses.
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.