Golf Historical Society of Canada

Guttyfest #1 (2021)

Above (left to right): A few players from Guttyfest #1 – Jim Wilhelm, Ron Archer, Gunnar Eriksson (front), Vaughn Perusse, Gerald Achtymichuk

GHSC News Item: October 6, 2021 Pre-1900 Hickory Play

Location: Oak Gables Golf Course, Ancaster ON

Reported by: George Supol, GHSC Board Member 

On October 6, 2021, fourteen GHSC members participated in the first annual “Guttyfest” event, a celebration of pre-1900 “gutty golf.” Oak Gables’ Pine and Maple nines were played and the course was in good shape though quite wet and soft. Forward tees were used so the course played to approximately 3,700 yards which was suitable for gutty play under wet conditions where there was little roll. Longish drives in gutty golf are typically in the 150- to 170-yard range and that’s under normal conditions.

Due to the wet conditions, carts were not allowed on the course so half the players used pull carts while the rest carried their clubs. Had carts been allowed, more players would have attended. Interestingly, this reporter played the event walking the course using crutches due to pending hip replacement surgery. Lorne Emery acted as a player/caddie and he was able to tie our two golf bags together on a single pull cart. This was the first time in several years that this reporter had walked an entire 18 holes.

Each player’s bag contained anywhere from 1-3 long nose or transitional replica woods (from Louisville Golf and Kelly Leonard Golf), 4 or more original antique “smoothie” irons and a putter. GHSC provided 3 loaner sets of pre-1900 clubs for the event. The players were able to draw golf balls from GHSC’s ample supply of replica “Braid” golf balls. These golf balls have interesting scoring lines on them as opposed to traditional dimple patterns. In this reporter’s opinion, the Braid replica balls perform better than the “Park” replica balls, which are also available from McIntyre Golf Company. Both these balls were originally in play circa 1850 – 1905.

After the golf, players had “hickory” burger combos on the Oak Gables Grill patio and shared their golf stories from the day.

Thanks to Ken Leedham, Russell Dick and Lorne Emery for organizing this fun event. Also, thanks to Paul Dietz and Doug Marshall for supplying the replica balls to GHSC and for making some smoothie irons available for purchase. 

All players who participated in Guttyfest #1 clearly enjoyed the challenge of playing gutty golf. Future plans at GHSC are to have two or maybe three pre-1900 gutty golf events per annum at GHSC.

Three additional pictures from Guttyfest #1 are presented in the gallery below.

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