Tad Moore Star OA Irons

Yes, I know that was a lame pun.  But, there’s something I needed to admit to everyone.

“Hello, my name is Scrambler, and I’m a Hickory Golf Addict.”

It happened over 36 glorious holes in Cowlesville this weekend, but I am officially hooked. Before this weekend, I estimated I may use my hickories roughly 5% of my rounds this summer.  I was way off.

I’ve been seriously contemplating the switch to hickory for quite some time, and solidified my decision during a “retro round” last fall.  About a month ago, my anticipation was heightened when my woods arrived.  But, there was a delay in getting the shafts prepared for my Star OA Irons due to some material shortages.  As clubmaker Tad Moore said to me, “I cannot just call up True Temper and Golf Pride.” But these beauties arrived last Thursday:

I was all set to head to Ironwood over the weekend, but there was one thing I still needed to do for my round.  I needed a crash course in converting my oddly-named irons to some reasonable equivalent in modern day terms.  Is a Deep Faced Mashie longer or shorter than a Jigger?  Spade Mashie vs Mashie Niblick?  Until I learn these names cold, I prepared this handy chart for my bag:

So why am I doing this?

Friends ask me, “why would you ever play with that old equipment?  I struggle enough with my graphite-shafted clubs.”  That approach is completely backwards.  In fact, I struggle with the modern equipment, too, which is PRECISELY why I loved playing Hickory this weekend.

Hickory Golf completely unburdens you from expectations of what your performance “should be” and just lets you experience the fun of shotmaking.

But more importantly, I’ve been reminded not to take any achievements for granted on the course.  Essentially, playing with Hickory makes each hole a “1/2 par.”  You par a 380 yard par 4 with modern equipment, you take it for granted.  You do it with hickory, and you give a little fist pump.

This weekend, I hit a green from 175 yards out with a Jigger that I’ll remember forever.  A 250 yard drive gave me more satisfaction than any titanium-aided bomb I’ve hit in years. I haven’t savored a back-nine 41 at Ironwood for a long time.  It’s like I’m re-discovering the sport with the same passion I had at Turkey Run over 20 years ago.

With my modern equipment, I obsess about every mishit, because I know I “should” be able to pull it off.  But with hickory, every achievement is appreciated because it’s not as easy.  And a simple visual comparison makes it easy to understand:

Drivers / Jigger vs 4 iron / Mashie vs 8 iron

Plus, your golf stories just sound better with Hickory.  For example, Ironwood’s 7th yielded:

“Hit a stinger cut with my Jigger to 100 yards, then punched a Deep Faced Mashie along the ground which ran up the slope to 8 feet.”

Or if you play the hole aggressively like my buddy Eric (who I roped into buying a set as well):

“Challenged the water with my Tad Moore Fancy Faced Brassie, then pitched a Niblick from 30 yards just past the pin.”

I’m ready to take on Elma, Byrncliff and a host of other courses in the area over this summer (the idea of Hickory golf at Hickory Stick seems destined).  Before that happens, I’m off to Pinehurst for a week of golf starting this Sunday.  But my Hickories are making the trip, too.  Donald Ross’ Southern Pines is just calling out to me for an old school round of golf.

Throughout the rest of the year, I’ll keep sharing my experiences in the Hickory game. Until the next time…