East Lothian Scotland – As a true golf enthusiast you must have imagined yourself standing on the first tee at one of the most historic links golf courses in the world with 5-foot ocean waves pounding on the coastline forming an ideal backdrop. The forecast is for an overcast day with a high of 15 degrees C. The onshore winds are blowing directly into your face averaging 30 miles per hour but gusting to 50. The fescue looks like it rises above your knees and there are two deep-faced sod bunkers that look almost impossible to escape.
Links golf at its finest!
Now imagine that everyone around you is dressed in vintage regalia – men with their knickerbockers, knee-high ornate socks with ladies adorned in long flaring dresses and fancy hats. Add to the fact that you are all playing with hickory golf clubs, it feels like you could be playing against Old Tom Morris and Willie Parker Senior for the first official British Open.
Trust me – Dreams can come true!
In October, 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”, it was also my first time playing with hickory clubs.
After a horrendous practise round, local resident Chris Homer, who graciously lent me one of his sets, 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.
Valuable advice indeed and the rest is history!
Sean Kelly, the two-time title sponsor told me that “The LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Open Championship celebrates the skill, honor, and camaraderie that are the foundations upon which the game of golf was built. It also honours a period of golf that relied substantially more on feel and creativity”.
The week-long festival is comprised of multiple tournaments, including one that is recognized internationally as Hickory Golf’s most prestigious major. It draws a full field of both professional and amateur players with flights organized to provide the best experience for every individual.
LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Open Championship Package: The £300 price includes Monday’s Team Tournament, the two-day LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Open Championship, a gala dinner, and prize ceremony.
LinkedGolfers 2017 Texas Scramble is an additional £50
LinkedGolfers Team Triangular Match Play is £150. Worthy investments to round out your hickory golf odyssey.
Kelly assured me the final costs for 2018 will be determined soon, but he doesn’t expect that they will differ much from the LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Festival.
This year there were over 120 competitors from 15 countries vying for world supremacy. By the end of the week I had made new life-long friends from all around the world who share the same passion for hickory golf. I have also made acquiring my own set of matched hickory clubs my personal quest!
The 2018 dates have just been released. The entire festival will run from October 14th to the 19th with the LinkedGolfers World Hickory Open been played on the 16th and 17th. Kelly said, “I wanted the event to follow the Alfred Dunhill Championship and British Masters so we can possibly attract a few more professionals this year”. For more information, check regularly for updates at www.worldhickoryopen.com and visit www.linkedgolfers.com for more extensive media coverage.
Dave Finn is a multiple national award-winning golf travel writer and photographer from Canada and he’s been hooked by the hickory bug. He claims to have already bought a second pair of plus-fours, a stove-top canvas bag and a set of irons but he’s still on the hunt for a playable brassie. Follow his golf travel adventures at www.golftravelandleisure.com.