Golf Historical Society of Canada

Classic Steel Golf (2023)

GHSC News Item: January 26, 2023 – Classic Steel Golf (2023)

Reported by: Vaughn Perusse, GHSC Hickory Ambassador and Board Member

Growing up in the Niagara Region in the ’60s and ’70s did not easily lend itself to discovering golf. Thorold was a town that loved hockey and baseball and my high school, Denis Morris, was devoted to football, basketball and rowing. I came by golf casually. Like all youngsters, I played everything—hockey, soccer, baseball and football (both briefly) as well as tennis and badminton. Golf arrived when I found some Spalding pyratone-shafted clubs in the basement and knocked around a 7-iron while walking our dog at the schoolyard.

There was a handful of us who were interested in the game and we joined a 9-hole local club called Beechwood. A junior membership was only $40 for unlimited play and a locker in the barn! Our clubs were a mishmash of acquisitions. I loved my Northwestern 6 iron, my Campbell 9 iron and my oversize (at the time) driver upon which I painted flames over the head. It looked more like a ’57 Chevy than a golf club! Eventually, I inherited a matched set of Spalding Executives from my late Uncle Leo (a priest who also served as a Chaplain for the Canadian Air Force).  There was no looking back! Eventually, I got a set of Ping Eye 2’s, Wilson Ultra 45s, Tommy Armour 845s, a Mizuno MSX driver, Big Bertha woods etc.

You know the drill, buy a game if you can and create a graveyard of clubs! It was an exciting time to be introduced to golf. We also followed the game. I was a “Lee” guy. While I appreciated Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, I was drawn to Lee Trevino. He was an entertainer whom I chose to follow at the ’79 Canadian Open at Glen Abbey where he emerged victorious. Soon thereafter, I would experience a lengthy hiatus from the game while I attended school and had no income!

I returned to golf around 1990 with alarming enthusiasm. I played everywhere and often! I briefly had a membership at Deer Creek but spent a great deal of time at Don Valley. My experiences there led to many friendships with other public golfers. The game introduced me to friends whom I would not have met otherwise. This has been one of the greatest byproducts of the game for me. 

I became familiar with golf through a historical lens during a trip to Scotland. Playing Musselburgh Links, The Old Course (in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland) with a set of hickories was just what I needed to reignite my enthusiasm. Like many other golfers, I had equated my enjoyment of the game with the score I had achieved. I was always trying to improve, and as we all know, aging does not help in this pursuit! This “new/old” game has been one of the most rewarding endeavours to date. I have become part of a vibrant community which celebrates both the game and its history. 

I invite you to consider “historical golf.” You may find your bliss. You may not have to take a “giant leap” back to hickory and only a “small step” to the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s.  “Classic steel” equipment is both affordable and accessible. You’ll have a more difficult time trying to find double-knit plaid pants or a rust-coloured velour sweater vest to look the part. 

Welcome aboard!

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