I was first introduced to golf when my Dad took my brother and I to a 9-hole course called “Lakeview” in Jackson’s Point, Ontario. We were about 11 or 12. It was a great course to play as beginners. We learned a lot of golf etiquette, as young players. First and foremost, allow faster players to play through and keep up with the group ahead. I wish today more golfers would adhere to that even today.
“As beginners, after about 2 weeks our mother would drop us off at the course and pick us up at the end of the day…. probably to get us out of her hair. Living in a small town, many people knew who we were, and if we were misbehaving on the golf course, we were not allowed to go back for 2 weeks. Our Dad taught us just to have fun; no score cards at first.
My introduction to Hickory golf was on a trip to Pinehurst, North Carolina in October 2009. My friend had signed us up for a hickory tournament, on Pinehurst #3. The night before I was still skeptical whether I should play or not. I was worried about breaking the clubs. My friend, assured me that if I did, he “knew a guy” that could fix them and that fellow’s name was Dr. Jay Harris. As it turns out, on the 2nd hole I broke my first club. I was told to pick up the parts, which I did, and after the round we went to Jay’s house. When we got there, I had never seen, nor could I imagine, so many wooden shafted clubs. I could not even begin to guess how many he had. He was working on building a set for someone and we got talking swing weight, grips, pinning heads, total weight, etc. I had so many questions. At this point, I knew I was hooked on hickory. Oh yeah, Jay gave me another club to replace the broken one. I went back in December and bought a set from him. I had no idea at the time if there was a hickory group here in Canada but was told by Jay to contact Doug Marshall, who, lived in London, Ontario and sat on the Board of Directors for the Golf Historical Society of Canada. I called Doug and he got me up to speed with GHSC. I’m now a member of GHSC, Carolina Hickory Association, and the Society of Hickory Golfers.
In 2014, I had some health issues and needed something to do in the winter, so I contacted Jay and he gave me direction on how to build my own set. I got a swing weight machine and I was off. Jay sold me the heads and shafts. Jay would send me all the spec’s on the clubs and I learned to glue the shafts, pin them, grip them, and weigh them, so that each club was the same. Even getting the flex the same. Great experience.
I feel, once you have had the chance to play hickory clubs, and talk to different golfers about hickory golf, you will be as enthused about the equipment and the Grand Old Game as myself and all the other GHSC members.
I have a number of clubs now, including a pre-1900 set of smooth faced clubs, which I don’t play with as much. Since I started playing post-1900 hickory’s. I found I need different clubs for different shots, so of course, I’ve added to my collection (maybe to many times). I also have 2 sets of replica clubs.
I mostly play with Stewart Model hickory replica’s made by Louisville Golf, and a Tad Moore mallet putter. I also have a couple of authentic clubs to round out the set.
I really enjoy Donald Ross designs. Pinehurst #2 and #3, Mid Pines and Pine Needles, all of these are in the Carolina’s. I also like my home course Wildwinds, near Fergus. It is a links course.
I joined the GHSC in 2010 and a few years later was asked to sit on the Board of Directors as a Director-at-large. I have assisted in many hickory events and enjoy helping celebrate different Golf Course Anniversary events.