For the last year or so, I have contemplated taking up Hickory Golf.  It seemed absurd to many of my friends.  While everyone is looking forward to the latest advancement in Golf club technology, I was yearning for an experience from 80+ years ago.  Some believed it was all talk and that I would never forgo the forgiveness of a 460 CC driver.

Until these arrived…         

For a little background, this has been in the back of my mind for awhile.  I’ve always liked playing the game along the ground and manufacturing creative shots.  Most of that creativity was born out of necessity (I’m called Scrambler for a reason), but I even enjoy trying something a little different from the middle of the fairway.

The problem is, when you have a perfect modern club in your hand, there’s often no need to try something unusual – you can have a club suited to every possible shot.  If you put yourself on the wrong side of a fairway and have to approach over a bunker, it generally doesn’t matter because you can generate as much spin as you want.  Playing the angles has been diminished in relevancy by today’s equipment.

But I wanted to make the game more interesting and embrace the romance of shotmaking like the days of old.  I took a smaller step back in time this last December, breaking out my “1980s” set of Persimmons and forged Staff blades for a trip around Ivy Ridge.  That led to me having several discussions with our own Hickory Guru, Greg Vogelsang (see interview).

I took to the internet and researched my options, with the leading candidates being Tad Moore Golf Clubs and Louisville Golf Clubs, made by Mike Just.  After test-driving some clubs with Greg at the dome, I made my decisions opting for the following:

Set of Louisville Woods: (Driver – 12 degrees / Spoon – 16 degrees / Baffy – 25 degrees).  These Mike Just woods are based on the original Jack White driver.  White was a renowned Scottish clubmaker, whose most famous customer was Bobby Jones.

Amby-Dex Putter – Wilson model from ca. 1925; Oval shaped head with dual brass plate faces.

Set Of Tad Moore’s Star OA Irons – Tad Moore offered various lines of iron, including the Victor Model.  However, I didn’t want those because the irons are numbered 1,2,3,4,5….  I wanted the clubs with unusual names full of character, so I have a Driving Iron (18 degrees), Mid Iron (22), Jigger (26), Deep Faced Mashie (32), Mashie (37), Spade Mashie (42), Mashie Niblick (48) and Niblick (54).

The next step was unlike any other club buying experience.  When you call Tad Moore Golf & Louisville Golf, you do not speak to a sales representative that passes your order along.  No, I was speaking to the men themselves that would be making my clubs.

Mike Just was first and immediately put me at ease.  I had so many questions about the switch to hickory, and he pleasantly answered them all.  You could tell he was a passionate golfer who was happy to see me take up this version of the game.  He asked me several questions about my modern game in an attempt to arm me with the most appropriate hickory shafts.

When I called Tad Moore, there was no secretary or reception desk.  It was him.  I told him why I was calling and he said “Are you the guy from Buffalo? Greg told me you’d be calling.”  In five minutes, I learned about the process of sorting a batch of 2,000 shafts and the testing / rating that is involved.  It was a unique experience realizing I would forever know the face & voice of the man who made my clubs.

Plus, I will know without a doubt that these were made specifically for me:

Throughout the rest of the year, I will share my experiences in the hickory game.  Luckily, I won’t be making the journey alone, as I have roped my one of my primary golf partners into the experiment as well.  Until the next time….