As Mo’ Golf previewed, we grabbed another round this Sunday morning out at the Links at Ivy Ridge.  But this was no normal round of Golf.

After watching “Golf in the Kingdom” Saturday afternoon, I revisited the influential Michael Murphy novel.  The book delves into the mystical and spiritual aspects of Golf, and if anything will pique your desire to play a more old-school, primative version of the game, this is it.

After digging in the shed and making some phone calls, I arrived at the first tee with the above tools.

When I first read GITK about a decade ago, I showed up at the Elma Men’s Club the next day armed with a new lease on my golfing life.  I got off to a slow start, which led one of my buddies to ask me why I was still smiling:
“Kev, you’re not doing so well.  Why are you in such a good mood?”
“Gary, the game’s about so much more than that. It’s all in the walking.”
“Kev, I’m worried about you.”

With a renewed Zen approach in my mind, I channeled my inner Shivas Irons.

I loved my Toney Penna  Woods, and used the 3-Wood all the way through 2008.  Unfortunately, my Penna Driver lost its whipping, so the head now shifts on the downswing.  As a result, I had to use a mixed set, with the Wilson Royal 1 Wood taking the “big dog” position.  Since there were no hybrids back in the day, the 1 and 2 irons were resurrected, along with a set of Wilson Staff Tour Blades.  A hickory Sweetwood putter completed the bag.

I regret that I didn’t have this inspiration earlier in the season when the Buffalo courses were firmer.  Links at Ivy Ridge is typically one of the driest in the area, but even LAIR was in a cart-path only situation.  Also, with LAIR’s “cart mandatory” policy, my desire to “savor the walking” was muted by the equal desire to share the social side of the day.

However, despite those few drawbacks, it was a great experience.  I certainly didn’t set the world on fire with my performance, but I managed 7 pars on a waterlogged golf course, each of which were savored with an enhanced sense of “I earned that.”

But this will not be a “one time only” occurrence.  Part of my decision was based on using this as a “training aid” (like high-altitude training for runners) to help correct some swing flaws masked by today’s equipment (mainly tempo).  A few of the primary observations:

– It’s hard to describe the excitement of standing over your first fairway 1-iron shot since the mid 1990s.  I had no idea what was in store, but I was eager to find out (hard, low fade).

– How did I not give up the game out of frustration from this equipment, back when I had a scorecard mentality?

– Chipping and pitching is a completely different animal when the ball doesn’t “jump” off the face.  After the first few attempts, I found this actually made things a little easier to control distances.

– How much have manufacturers strengthened lofts over the decades?  The Pitching Wedge appeared to have the same loft as my current “A” Wedge.  (This was later confirmed by some friends at, as the modern pitching wedge has the same loft/shaft length as an old 8 or 9 iron).

– I realize that “No Spitting on the Golf Course” is a big deal to some.  Am I given a waiver when it’s solely meant to revive some small semblance of tack to rubber grips that are older than Jessica Simpson?
Beyond the throwback to the 1980s, I’ve also been contemplating the purchase of a set of Hickories to complement my “modern” game.  I’ve been communicating with’s own Greg Vogelsang for some advice about the hickory game (see our interview with Greg).  Yesterday only affirmed my desire, and I’ll be even more eager for the 2012 season to begin for that experience.

When was the last time any of you played a “back in time” round?  Is anyone ready to abandon the comfort of technology (briefly) for a retro experience?

A Gift from the Golf Gods?

A funny thing happened near the end of our round that may have indicated the “golf gods” were watching and noticed our little experiment.

As we drove up the 16th fairway, we found a club next to the trees.  It was one of the Original Taylor Made Metal Woods – the “Pittsburgh Persimmon.”

We drove it up to the group ahead, and one of them said “I didn’t lose it, I threw it away!  You keep it!”

So we were blessed with a new “advanced” club, which actually made my Wilson Royal Driver look oversized.  We got a kick out of hitting the club that started it all, and it served a fitting bridge between my persimmons and my playing partners’ 460 cc weapons.