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Hickory Golf

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This is a growing thing, has anyone on here tried it? I am interested but it is rather expensive to get in to.
A few places make/sell reproduction clubs--they cost about the same as top line modern clubs. There are a couple of national organizations and they have an "Open" every year.

Guess I have been watching too much Golf Channel movies--"Stroke of Genius" about Bobby Jones, "Greatest game ever Played" and "Legend of Bagger Vance"

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I guess it would be similar to people racing old race cars or motorcyles or something like that, never really thought about it. Might be interesting especially if the participants were to also wear clothing from the same time period as well and use balls from the same era, though i bet those would be hard to find. I doubt many people would have the time or money to invest in old club technology to play just for nostalgias sake but worldwide there's bound to be a few and apparently enough that they have their own tournament each year.

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That's kinda where I am, don't have the time or money for another hobby--barely have time to play regular golf.

It is interesting to me though, both from a nostalgia/understanding history perspective and simplicity. Just a stick and a ball and no worries about MOI, or kick points, or square or v grooves, or 460cc drivers, or hybrids. I might even start walking and carrying my bag again.

Tad Moore of putter and wedge fame actually markets a reproduction ball, but I think most just use some of the softer modern balls.

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The Triple A Club in St. Louis use to have an annual hickory stick tournament. Lots of people went all out, wearing period attire and all. Golf course got completely rebuild over the past year - not sure if hickory will return.

I talked to a golf shop owner who carried used hickory-shafted clubs. He said since you would only play a couple of times a year with hickory, a 3-5-7-9 iron set with a putter and a couple of woods would probably do it for you. One of the keys appears to be working the shafts with linseed oil so they don't dry out and break.

A couple of years ago, Golf Digest (?) has an article in which Greg Norman and some other pros test hit clubs from earlier eras. Norman really liked the hickory-shafted 5 iron (Wilson?) - said it had superb feel.

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TOne of the keys appears to be . . .

You gotta get the vintage (or reproduction) balls though or you'll shatter the clubs. Definitely no 2-piece distance.

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I guess it would be similar to people racing old race cars or motorcyles or something like that, never really thought about it. Might be interesting especially if the participants were to also wear clothing from the same time period as well and use balls from the same era, though i bet those would be hard to find. I doubt many people would have the time or money to invest in old club technology to play just for nostalgias sake but worldwide there's bound to be a few and apparently enough that they have their own tournament each year.

That greg is a very very good idea

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Yes I play hickories every day. Yesterday I shot a 75. Why play hickories? It's kinda like the old saying about Harley's "If you have to ask you wouldn't understand". Suffice it to say that I've played golf my whole life. Went to state in high school and was a medalist in one tournament then. Won the club championship once and then lost it the next year by 4 strokes after taking a nine on a par 4 and 6 on a par 3. Most of us play the game because modern golf is too easy. Mistakes aren't killers like they were a few years ago. With the hickories, particularly the vintage hickories, mistakes cost you strokes so you end up being a much better player. My swing is improving with hickories where it was stagnant with modern clubs. Nothing like hitting a 1 iron 215 yards low off the tee.

Now as for a few of the comments, let me provide some correction. We typically use Shellac on the shafts not linseed oil. It's easy to reapply mid-season.

As for the ball you can play many of the modern balls. Many play the Pro V1 but a lot of the top players are now playing the Wilson Fifty Elite or the Wilson Zip. They're cheaper and just as good. Oh and you don't have to get reproduction balls. Yes the Top Rocks will cause problems on mishits but a good quality 3 or 4 piece ball works just fine. And yes I have shattered more than a half a dozen shafts but only 2 because of the ball. The rest were really crappy swings.

As for the clubs reproductions are allowed for play in hickory events in the US but not British. A good share of us have vintage clubs that are restored. They aren't that expensive if you know what you're buying. I have 4 sets of Tom Stewarts which is what Bobby Jones and Francis Ouimet played. A really good niblick will set you back $100 prior to restoration. A mid-iron maybe $39. Overall the Scottish clubs are some of the best with Tom Stewart being a choice of many of the better players. Louisville Golf and Tad Moore have really good replicas. So good I think they're a little too modern but still good.

If you want more information there are a number of websites, including my own, and organizations that support hickory golf. If you're in NC there is a great league that meets at least once a month. In SOCAL there is a group that plays weekly at Rancho Bernardo. Other areas have plenty of hickory golfers. If you're in CO holler and I'll take you to play a round. You'll get hooked quickly.

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Thanks for the great info, brinkley.

While I am not yet where I think modern golf is too easy, LOL, I am interested in the simplicity and fluidity.

What is your website, by the way?

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I started playing with a set of old hickories, plus some new hickory woods form Louisville golf. Played for about a year. It is way more interesting for me then regular golf, although I still do that too. Most of my irons are pre 1930, rusted, some with slightly bent shafts. I score exactly the same. Hickory has great feel. A lot of run-up shots. But the woods go straighter, not as far. On a long course it's tough so I will sometimes include my Cleveland five wood. I never intend on entering a tournament. Anyway, give it a try. Just get one club and start from there.

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On 5/21/2010 at 2:21 AM, brinkleyr said:

Yes I play hickories every day. Yesterday I shot a 75.

Impressive. @Jack Watson Is convinced that’s impossible however. Brandt Snedeker played older clubs (not hickory) and couldn’t break 80. You must be a much better skilled ball striker than Snedeker. The skill required to play those clubs is far beyond that of a modern day pro.

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Society of Hickory Golfers (hickorygolfers.com) can provide you with information on acquiring and playing hickory clubs. There are also playing groups in many states which meet regularly for golf outings. Its an acquired taste but a great deal of fun. 

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

@Vinsk, that's trolling too, man. C'mon…

Yeah sorry...I did want him to see it and I figured any way I did would be deemed as such. My apologies to @Jack Watson. But I must say this all makes me want to hit a hickory stick..good luck finding a left handed one....

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My buddy sets up a hickory tournament at Mount Washington every year and plays hickorys off and on throughout the year. He has offered to let me use /try some of his clubs and states that it is a different swing to play them. I believe he said it was a smoother sweeping swing. 

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1 hour ago, Valleygolfer said:

My buddy sets up a hickory tournament at Mount Washington every year and plays hickorys off and on throughout the year. He has offered to let me use /try some of his clubs and states that it is a different swing to play them. I believe he said it was a smoother sweeping swing. 

I just don’t see how I wouldn’t break them.

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