Hickory News

Fixture Calendar



 22nd April
 Kiama Hickory Challenge  Format: 18 hole Single Stableford
 Venue: Kiama Golf Club
 Time: 9:00 am
 Contact: Kiama Pro Shop
 (4237 7339)
 7th May
 J. J. Paine Trophy  Format: 9 hole Single Stableford
 Venue: Windsor Country Golf Club
 Time: 8:30 am
 Contact: TBA
 9th September
 Craigieburn Cup  Format: 18 hole Single Stableford
 Venue: Peppers Craigieburn
 Time: 12:00 noon
 Contact: TBA

2017 Australian Hickory Championship Draw

The draft draw for the 2017 Australian Hickory Championship has been completed, and is:

Player 1
Player 2
Player 3
Player 4
11:40 Les Browne Mark Meares Barry Leithhead Tony Mountstephens
11:50 Darron Watt Warren Smith Paul Skinner Doug Turek
12:00 Tim Sayers Phil Baird Simon Gore Luke Kavanagh
12:10 Barry Meares Paul Gladwin Geoff Martin
Warwick Stanwell
12:20 Alan Grieve
Nick Griffin
Lachie Wilson
Paul Padagas
12:30 Chris Webster Peter Watts William Aguirrezabal Andrew Wilson
12:40 Andrew Baker Ross Haslam Dennis Sundin
12:50 Tony Pickrell Ross Howard Steve Doorey Jim Glenday



Times may change due to the arrival of previously unbooked players.

2017 Muirfield Hickory Day

Hickory golf returns to the North Rocks with Muirfield Golf Club Hickory Day, to be played this year on Sunday 29th October from 3:00 p.m.. Nine holes of four-ball Ambrose golf is followed by a dinner in the clubhouse, with the possibility of a guest speaker.

Cost is $50-00 all inclusive, and the contact for the event is Tom Moore on 02 9871 2798. If last year's event is anything to go by, it will be a cracking good afternoon and is not to be missed.

2017 Australian Hickory Shaft Championship

One of Australia’s greatest golfers and course designers, British and Australian Open winner Peter Thomson, rated the Long Reef Golf Club course as “the best site of any golf course in Sydney”.

Competitors in the 2017 Australian Hickory Shaft Championship will be able to judge for themselves when the event moves from Carnarvon after six years to the picturesque - and hickory-friendly - Collaroy layout.

As in past years, the format will be 18 holes of stroke play, with the lowest gross score for both men and women being crowned the Australian Hickory Shaft Champion. Handicap events will be held in conjunction. The event will be following by drinks, dinner and the presentation of prizes.

The scheduled tee time is 11:30 with a two tee start if numbers warrant it. With this is mind, players are asked to be at the course and registered with the starter by 11:00 a.m. at the latest.

Costs for the day are as follows:

 Playing only - own clubs  $25
 Playing only - hire clubs  $35
 Playing and dinner - own clubs  $70
 Playing and dinner - hire clubs  $80

The official entry form may be downloaded from here. Those intending to play are asked to complete the entry form (emailed details are fine if paying by EFT) and return it and your payment by Friday 15th September so that definite arrangements may be made with the host club. 

Queensland Chapter - March Hickory Event

The AGHS Queensland Chapter’s second event for the year was played on Friday 31st March 2017, over the back nine at Royal Queensland Golf Club.

Remarkably, this event occurred just one day after ex-tropical cyclone Debbie had passed through south-east Queensland causing major flooding and damage along the eastern seaboard. After receiving approximately 200mm of rain in just over 24 hours, the RQGC links once more confirmed the Club’s founders’ peerless selection - in 1920 - of its sand-based Eagle Farm site adjacent to Brisbane River.

While the city of Brisbane and surrounds were awash, a small but enthusiastic band of AGHS aficionados played a course offering firm fairways and hard-and-fast greens. While most golf courses in the region were closed and will suffer the after effects for weeks to come, our group was playing bump-and-run hickory golf in the traditional manner.

Winner on the day, with 18 stableford points off a handicap of 16, was Scott Makiol. A birdie on the 358 metre par four thirteenth hole was the highlight of Scott’s round. Second place was attained by AGHS Treasurer Trevor Kidd with an extremely consistent round resulting in 16 stableford points. He placed ahead (on count-back) of the injury-plagued Ross Haslam who bravely battled through the round with an achilles tendon injury.

- Andrew Baker

2017 U.S.Hickory Open

The U.S. Hickory Open, hosted by the Society of Hickory Golfers, makes its West Coast debut at the historic Del Monte Golf Club in Monterey, Calfornia, July 10-12, 2017.

Operated by Pebble Beach Resorts, Del Monte is a landmark course that has played an instrumental role in popularizing golf in the West since its inception in 1897.

The U.S. Hickory Open is a fixture of the Society of Hickory Golfers and represents their premier hickory golf tournament of the year. Over 100 Hickory Players from throughout the United States, Canada and Europe will participate in this event using wood shafted clubs conforming to the era from before 1935. The winning score last year was just 7-over par.

The 2017 USHO is the fourth and final of the major “championship series” events of the SoHG in the 2016-17 season. Players compete, year round, for total points, akin to the famed FedEx Cup and the PGA Tour.

About Del Monte

Only a few visitors to the Hotel Del Monte in 1897 would have heard about, much less played, the newest craze in sports sweeping America: the game of golf. Golf was introduced to California in 1892 when a recent English immigrant, Charles E. Maud, laid out the Pedley Farms Golf Course (later to become known as Victoria Golf Club) in Riverside, some 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Interest in golf grew rapidly and the 1890s saw many new golf courses being built. By 1900 there were nearly 100 golf courses in California.

In the Bay area, the Burlingame Golf Club, still in existence today, was the first to organise in 1893. It was followed by the Presidio Golf Course in 1895. The Hotel Del Monte Golf Links came soon after in 1897, with Maud as its architect. The nine-hole course measured 2219 yards. At the time, the Hotel Del Monte was a popular destination resort for the “smart set” and included a polo field and a race track.

In spring of 1901, the former U.S. Open champions gave an exhibition at Del Monte. Del Monte hosted the inaugural amateur and open championships of the newly formed Pacific Coast Golf Association, comprising clubs from California, Oregon and Washington, Some regard thos open championship as the first California State Open, won by Scotsman Robert Johnstone, club professional at Presidio, with a score of 148 for 36 holes. The course was expanded in 1903, becoming the first golf course in California to boast 18 holes.

Today, only two of California’s earliest golf courses remain in operation: Del Monte Golf Course and at the Presidio in San Francisco.

The 11th hole at Del Monte.

Members of the AGHS have had success at the U.S. Hickory Open in the past, and the Society of Hickory Golfers would be pleased for the opportunity to welcome Australian participants to the 2017 event.

U.S. Hickory Open Schedule

Monday July 10

7:30 a.m.—6:00 p.m.                                                                                                     Practice Rounds. Scheule your practice round with the Pro Shop at Del Monte Golf Course — 831-373-2700.                                                                                                                5:00 p.m.—7:30 p.m.                                                                                                   Welcome reception and Club Swap/Trade Show. Hors d’oeuvres served.

Tuesday, July 11

9:30 a.m.                                                                                                                            First round 2017 U.S. Hickory Open.                                                                                   6:00 p.m.                                                                                                                 Tournament dinner and raffle drawing.

Wednesday, July 12

9:30 a.m.                                                                                                                            Second round 2017 U.S. Hickory Open.                                                                                   2:00 p.m.                                                                                                                        Results and prize presentations.

Details and registration:


Further information may also be downloaded direct from this site by following these links:

2017 Randwick Show & Tell

The 2017 playing program gets under way on Thursday, 19th January with the Randwick 'Show & Tell'.

Randwick Golf Club is a links style course - eminently suitable for hickory play - on the southern point of Malabar Beach, and overlooking the picturesque Pacific Ocean. Its 18 holes cover approximately 3400 metres, with a par of 59.

The course is an easy walk and a round will take about 4 hours to play. On a perfect day, it is one of the most benign places on the planet. However, if you factor a bit of wind into the equation it is not only a spectacular place to play, but a true test of golf.

Randwick Golf Club

Lunch will be available from the 'Bay Window' after the round, followed by the "Show & Tell" session. For anyone not familiar with "Show & Tell", the idea is that you bring along an item or two from you collection, and brag about them.

Tee time is 9:30 a.m., and anyone intending to play should contact Captain Ross (0402 148946) and reserve a spot.

2016 Queensland Hickory Shaft Championship

Planning has been completed by the Queensland Chapter for a weekend of hickory golf centering on the 2016 Queensland Hickory Shaft Championship.

Queensland Hickory Shaft Championship:                              

The weekend will begin on Friday 4th November with the 2016 Queensland Hickory Shaft Championship itself. This will be 18 holes of stroke play, with the player recording the lowest gross score to be declared State champion. A handicap event will be held in conjunction, with the player recording the lowest net score to be declared the winner and presented with The Captain’s Trophy. The day will round off with dinner and presentations in the Silver Boomerang Room.

The Royal Queensland Golf Club 

Friday 4 November 2016—11.30am for 12.30pm tee-off.            

Presentations and dinner at 18:00pm.                                                          

Cost (including dinner) is $55, to be paid in cash on the day.

Nudgee Golf Club    

On Saturday, players will have the opportunity to play a round at the Nudgee Golf Club. The event will be a fourball over 18 holes of the Nudgee South Course, a relatively flat and short layout with a par of 69 which is easily played in a little over three hours.


Saturday 5 November 2016—12.30pm for 1.00pm tee-off.            

Light luncheon available at 12:00pm.                                           

Cost (including luncheon) is $25.50, to be paid in cash on the day.

Queensland Hickory Shaft Foursomes Championship:   

The weekend of hickory golf will finish with the inaugural Queensland Hickory Shaft Foursomes Championship.  This will also be 18 holes of stroke play, and the players recording the lowest gross score will become the first State champions. A handicap event will be held in conjunction, the players recording the lowest net score declared the winners, and presented with The Secretary’s Trophy.

Brisbane Golf Club       

Sunday 6 November 2016—7.00am for 7.30am tee-off.            

Presentations and light luncheon at 12:00pm.                             

Cost (including luncheon) is $35, to be paid in cash on the day.

A number of basic hickory sets are available for loan on all days, but will need to be booked early. Period golfing attire is encouraged.

Entries for all events will close Tuesday 1 November 2016, and players are encouraged to register as soon as possible with Andrew Baker at andrew@andrew-baker.com.

When doing so, you will need to advise:

  • Your acceptance to play in the events you nominate
  • Your Golf Link number
  • Your intention to attend the dinner or luncheon
  • Partner names if playing in the foursomes event (partners can be arranged for individual players)
  • If you require a loan set of hickories.
For further information, phone Andrew Baker 0412 990 356 or Ross Haslam 0417 762 506

2016 Australian Hickory Championship Draw

The draft draw for the 2016 Australian Hickory Championship has been completed, and is:
Player 1
Player 2
Player 3
Player 4
12:00 Alan Grieve Warren Smith Lachlan Wilson
12:10 Andrew Wilson Dennis Sundin John Honeybrook
12:20 Darron Watt Rob Downie Ross Haslam Chris Webster
12:30 Geoff Martin Tony Doggett Barry Meares Paul Gladwin

12:50 Phil Baird Tom Moore Stephen Fletcher
1:00 Tony Pickrell Trevor Edgoose Jim Glenday Martin Pickrell
1:10 Ross Howard Steve Doorey Arthur Penton Rod Clark


Times may change due to the arrival of previously unbooked players.

2016 Australian Hickory Shaft Championship

The 2016 Australian Hickory Shaft Championship returns to Carnarvon Golf Club on Friday 16th September for its sixth successive year at the Lidcombe venue. As in previous years, the Championships - scratch and handicap - will be decided over 18 holes of individual stroke play.

Cranarvon Golf Club

Tee-off will begin at 12 noon, and continue until the field has been despatched. The usual fine dinner and presentations will follow. Players intending to compete are asked to complete the entry form that can be downloaded here. Payment options are listed on the form.

2016 Craigieburn Cup

September is a big month in the NSW Hickory calendar.

It starts with the Craigieburn Cup, eighteen holes of hickory golf on a course that was designed during the hickory era, built during the hickory era, and changed very little since.

The course sits on the Peppers Craigieburn retreat at Bowral, in the NSW Southern Highlands. Nine greens are approached from 18 separate tees on a short, but challenging and easy to walk layout.

The player with the lowest gross score will be crowned the victor in the 2016 Craigieburn Cup, and acknowledged as thus in the records of the Australian Golf Heritage Society..

A handicap event will be played in conjunction, and the player with the lowest net score will - naturally - be declared the winner of the event, and acknowledged as thus in the records of the Australian Golf Heritage Society.

This year's Craigieburn Cup will be played on Sunday, 11th September, teeing off at 12:00 noon. Anyone intending to compete should contact Tony Doggett on 02-96392849 or apdoggett@hotmail.com.

Coming a mere five days before the 2016 Australian Hickory Shaft Championship, this is a gilt-edged opportunity to hone your hickory game skills immediately prior to the premier event of the year.

The Coast Show & Tell

Seven hickory participants fronted The Coast on a beautiful winter’s day for 15 holes of Stableford competition. Why 15? A commercial for “lamb” was being shot on holes 13 to 15. Watch for the release !

Barry, Paul and Geoff played a three ball with Neville, Denis, Andrew & the writer completing the field. Highlight of the day was Barry holing a 2 iron on the uphill par 5 6th for a 4 a 4.

The Coast
The Coast
The Coast
The Coast

Click photos to enlarge. Images courtesy of Mr. Andrew Wilson.

Scoring was varied, with Barry Meare’s 29 being a very creditable winner for 15 holes. Unfortunately, due to prior commitments only the 2nd group met in the Clubhouse after the round to table Show and Tell items.

Andrew Wilson, who had travelled from Kiama for the day showed us a variety of photos and articles dealing with the history of Kiama Golf Club since its start in 1933 as 9 holes to 18 holes in late 1950s. Great to see the photo from early 1960’s showing virtually a large open field with few trees to the current day with wonderful stands of trees fringing the 18 holes.

My dear Dad (who was responsible for the extra 9 holes design in the late 1950s) would have loved the seen the photographic evidence. I take this opportunity to encourage all the AGHS members to make the journey to Kiama for the Hickory Day in April 2017 that Andrew organises.Put a note in your diary now ! Please.

Denis Sundin then showed us three clubs that he had purchased from an old wares store on the Northern Beaches. The brassie had Peter Merrilees name stamped in the head. Peter was a North Berwick pro who arrived in Australia in 1909 and had a most varied career before departing our shores in 1939 for the USA to join his brother.

The second club was an old putter with no markings on the face but a surprising amount of loft and branded “Auchterlonie”, definitely a club of interest. Discussion was held about the old stymie rules and the need for putters to have “loft” to put on the green surfaces of old.

The third club was a mashie, branded/stamped “Made in Scotland, Warranted Hand Forged, STAR emblem, SPECIAL with Tom Howard Concord in oval outline”. Also “5” punched in the sole. The club appears to have a minor fracture line around the socket and needs a professional restoration job. Denis then very kindly donated to club to me to add to my growing collection of Dad & Grandpa Tom’s clubs.

The last item tabled was a trophy from the Howard family collection of the “1937 Roseville Gold Mashie Runner-Up, A C Howard 65”, in original condition. A C Howard was my late Dad.

In closing, a beautiful winter’s day + golf and the delightful and enjoyable company of my playing partners.

Ross Howard (Captain)

Rosnay Show & Tell

There were nine starters at the 2016 Rosnay Show & Tell event. These hardy souls were greeted by conditions that were bright, sunny, cool tending towards cold, and windy enough to blow the milk out of your tea. Or the dog off his chain if you're a coffee drinker.

The Auburn course was in excellent condition considering the pounding it - and most courses in the area - received over the previous few weeks, though a few of the bunkers were still out of play.

While the standards of golf varied across the field, the best score for the day was recorded by the capable Jim Glenday who returned 18 Stableford points for the nine holes. The minor placings were filled by Bruno Pase (playing on his home course) with 16 points, and ex-captain Tony Doggett with 15 points (on a countback).

 Jim Glenday 18 points
 Bruno Pase 16 points
 Tony Doggett (cb) 15 points
 Tom Moore 15 points
 Steve Doorey 13 points
 Tony Pickrell 12 points
 Steve Nyul 9 points
 Arthur Penton 7 points
 Ross Howard 7 points

As anyone who has attended a Show & Tell event will know, the activities in the clubhouse after the game are just as important as those one the course, and after some rehydration and light snacks, those attending got down to the 'Tell' part of the day.

First cab off the rank was Ross Howard,    who presented a silver jug presented to his  father Al to mark 25 years as a member of  PGA Mutual Ltd., the association's trading company which helped club professionals with the marketing of goods in their pro shops.

(It must have been a success while it lasted, because Al Howard sold my father - always careful with a dollar - the first set of clubs that I ever owned. From the pro shop at Rosnay.)

Ross was able to back up the object with a brief history of the organisation.

(Click for full sized image)

PGA Mutual Jug

Next up was Tony Pickrell. Tony presented items close to his heart, namely copies of newspaper cuttings and an original banquet menu - signed by some of the participants -  from the 1930 Tamworth Golf Club's Easter Tournament. The year 1930 was remarkable in that Joe Kirkwood and Walter Hagen included Tamworth as part of their tour, and the Tamworth Open and the Northern Daily Leader Cup were won by W. J. (Jack) Pickrell, Tony's father.

Originally established in 1925, the Northern Daily Leader Cup was presented to the winner of the Tamworth Open as the North and North-Western Golf Champion. The winner received a smaller replica of the trophy, and the competition conditions stipulated that the first player to win twice received the full-sized trophy. W. J. Pickrell won in 1925 and 1926, and the trophy is now held by the Tamworth Golf Club courtesy of Tony and Julian Pickrell.

(Click for full sized images)

Newspaper Cutting
Banquet Menu

Tom Moore passed around two clubs. The first was a Himmerman & Kirk mid-iron which is stamped - curiously - Rose Bay Golf Club. While Carnegie Clark served at the Royal Sydney Golf Club which is addressed at Rose Bay, there has never been a 'Rose Bay Golf Club' as such, and the club was manufactured more than a quarter of a century after Queen Victoria granted permission for the use of the 'Royal' prefix. The jury is still out on the reason for the stamping.

The second was a club said to have been given by Bobby Jones to Bill Bolger during the 1936 Lakes Cup event in the U.S.. Efforts are currently in train to confirm the provenance of this artefact.

Rose Bay Golf Club Mid-Iron

Jim Glenday tabled four balls from his collection. These balls are remarkable in that they measure (from left to right) 1.70", 1.68", 1.64" and 1.66" in diameter. Some lively discussion followed as to why this was so, and while nothing concrete was determined, some facets of the Rules of Golf as they apply to ball sizes were clarified.

Again, investigations continue as to where, when and why the odd-sized balls were manufactured.

(Click for full-sized image)
Variable Sized Golf Balls

Dr Michael Sheret opened his contribution to proceedings with a calendar produced by the Muswellbrook (NSW) Golf Club to mark its centenary. Rather than use the customary shots of the course for each month, they used snippets from the history of the club - a novel and engaging way of sharing the event.

Michael then presented a handsome piece of silverware - the Lakes Golf Club Open Champion's Cup, presented by W. J. Sanders Esq. in 1936. Michael asked if anyone could see anything unusual about this object, and one of the audience was able to correctly point out the the trophy did not have the names of any winners inscribed.

(Click for full-sized image)

The Lakes Open Championship Cup

Michael went on to explain that W. J. Sanders was a more than competent golfer, a captain of the Lakes Golf Club, and a prominent Sydney silversmith. He added that research into the Cup has shown that the names of the winners were - at one time - inscribed on a complementary plinth that has been 'lost'.

Michael's research project has rediscovered the names of the winners, and an exercise is currently under way to have the plinth replaced and the winners names again inscribed - by W. J. Sanders Pty. Ltd., who still exist in Marrickville NSW. The Cup will then once again be proudly put on display in the clubhouse of the Lakes Golf Club.

The 'Show and Tell' days are always interesting, informative, and thought provoking. They also serve to illustrate the breadth of member's collections, and the lengths to which they go to record and preserve the history of the game in Australia.

The next 'Show and Tell' day is scheduled for Friday, 29th July at The Coast Golf Club (see the 'Fixtures' list at the top of the page for details).

Nudgee CANTEEN Charity Day . . . With a Hickory Flavour

Brisbane's Nudgee Golf Club held a charity golf day on Friday, 6th May 2016. This year, they were favoured with much better weather than in 2015, and over 110 very generous Brisbane locals joined together for the second annual Charity Golf Day for CanTeen Australia. The day commenced with glorious May sunshine, a BBQ breakfast and putting competition, and ended with a delicious lunch in the clubhouse, raffle draw and a huge Sporting and Golf Memorabilia auction.

A mix of local sporting legends including Ryan Harris (former Australian test bowler) and Andrew Slack (former Australian Wallaby captain), many corporate sponsors and Nudgee members dug deep on the day.

The money raised will cover the costs to send 50 CanTeen members for a three day camp to Magnetic Island, North Queensland. The members can connect with other young people in similar situations and create a community of grieving, sharing knowledge and coping techniques, and growing through their adversity.

Prior to the event Australian Golf Heritage Society member Ross Haslam contacted Troy Scott - organiser of the event and new club captain - to ask whether he would be interested in a hickory only par 3 hole. Troy was thrilled with the idea.

Luckily, Ross has a lot of good quality mashies, mashie-niblicks, niblicks and putters both, left and right handed. Ross was also lucky to have a ready assistant in his daughter Ruby, and a hole well suited to such an endeavour, the 110 metre par 3 14th hole.

 Ross Haslam's Clubs

Ross Haslam's Clubs

Ross' plan was to start with both of them on the tee, then walk to the green with the players taking whatever clubs were need to finish the hole. A selection of putters stayed green side. Once the putting started, Ross would walk back to the tee to get the next group ready. Once the putting finished, Ruby could walk back to the tee, or stay green side. The 14th has a lot of shade and areas that are well protected from the odd stray shot.

 Ruby - as a teenage cancer survivor - is a member of CanTeen, which added a face to the day for those participating. She finished her treatment for lymphoma just before Christmas 2015, and has been all clear since January this year. She is back for regular checks but everything is progressing really well. She is feeling and looking great.

Nudgee Canteen Day

Ross & Ruby Haslam (centre) and Nudgee CanTeen Day participants

They raised over $25,000 on the day to nearly match their $27,000 contribution from 2015 - an outstanding result.

What's In My Bag - Darron Watt

This article appeared on an earlier iteration of the AGHS website. As the current Australian Hickory Shaft Champion, Darron's words and advice are well worth heeding.

A certain commercial site sends me a periodical email which always finishes with an article describing “What’s In The Bag” of a particular professional player. It occurred to me that there might be some interest in similar articles based on the play sets of AGHS members, so I approached member Darron Watt for input purely on the grounds of his detailed responses to the recent membership survey. I reckon I made a pretty good choice. I’ll be chasing up other members for their input in the future – anyone that wishes to volunteer can reach me via this email address. Go on – you know you want to. – Steve.

Name: Darron Watt
Club: Wagga Wagga Country Club NSW
Handicap: 2.5

Hickory Achievements:

2015 – 1st Place Australian Hickory Open, Carnarvon Golf Club, Sydney, Australia
2014 – 2nd Place Australian Hickory Open, Carnarvon Golf Club, Sydney, Australia
2013 – 2nd Place Australian Hickory Open, Carnarvon Golf Club, Sydney, Australia
2013 – 10th Place World Hickory Open – Montrose, Scotland
2012 – 2nd Place Australian Hickory Open, Carnarvon Golf Club, Sydney, Australia (First ever 18 hole round with hickory). (Darron is perhaps being a bit modest here. The runners-up were only decided after two holes of sudden death play-off. )

Best Rounds with Hickory:
72 – Wagga Wagga Country Club ( par 72)
70 – Monifieth Ashludie, Scotland ( par 70)

Darron at the World Hickory Open Championship – Montrose, 2013.

A. G. Spalding 2 Wood – 14 degrees (pictured right):

The most recent purchase in my playing set. I have found it difficult to find a wood that works well off the tee and off the ground. Most clubs have a strong fade or draw bias for me. We have found that running this wood at 43 inches and placing a slight bend in the shaft to bring the hands back in line with the face have worked wonders. In our experience gripping down on woods promotes a better shaft flex through impact. I can consistently hit this wood 215-220 metres off the tee, and nearly as far off the deck.

A. G. Spalding 3 Wood – 16 degrees (pictured right):

This is an old favourite that has just found its way back into the bag. Back in 2012 in my first ever hickory round I hit every fairway I used it on. Unfortunately on the 18th hole it cracked all along the face. With a complete rebuild and plenty of glue curing time, this club has wound up in the bag as my backup wood. Its range is consistently around the 200 metre mark.

A. G. Spalding 2 Wood – 14 degrees
A. G. Spalding 3 Wood – 16 degrees

W. J. Gibson Kinghorn Wayrite 1 Iron – 20 degrees:

This is my favourite club in the bag. It’s that good I could survive without a wood on some courses. Very strong flighted iron off the tee, and penetrates out to the 195-200 mark. Off the fairway this club is almost even better, allowing me to play a true links running long shot. A very thin flanged sole that is not typical of most of the clubs that I play.

W. J. Gibson Kinghorn Star Maxwell Mid Iron – 25 degrees (R)

Although the Wayrite is my favourite club, this mid iron was my go to club on long par threes due to its higher ball flight. Unfortunately last round I noticed a crack appear in the shaft. This shaft has been reglued and binding has been applied over the repaired areas. I need to regain my confidence with this club, learning to trust the shaft (which is stronger than before). Maximum distance – 170 metres.

W. J. Gibson Kinghorn Wayrite 1 Iron – 20 degrees
W. J. Gibson Kinghorn Star Maxwell Mid Iron – 25 degrees

R. Forgan St. Andrews Scotia Mashie – 30 degrees (R):

This club has a number of key roles in my bag. It is a strong mashie that produces a high ball flight with plenty of distance. Comfortably handles 160 metres. This club was one of my first hickory clubs, and it also ignited the hickory flame for my good friend, Lachie Wilson. This club reminds my regularly of the reason why I play hickory golf, and the friendships that I have built along the way.

R. J. Gibson Royal Calcutta Triplex Mashie – 35 degrees (R)

This is the prettiest club in my bag. I am a huge fan of blade golf irons, and this small head is a beautiful forging that would not look out of place in a modern set. This is my iron that I can work both ways and land a ball softly from 150 metres. On most medium range par threes this is a go to club. Strangely it has the markings of Royal Calcutta Golf Club – India I’m presuming – although research indicates that it is out of the Winton factory in England.

R. Forgan St. Andrews Scotia Mashie – 30 degrees
R. J. Gibson Royal Calcutta Triplex Mashie – 35 degrees

W. J. Gibson Kinghorn Deep Faced Mashie – 40 degrees (R):

My first ever hickory set was a four piece W. J. Gibson mid iron, deep faced mashie, mashie niblick and putter set. It hung on the wall as a collectable. After going through a period of poor health and golfing struggles I nearly walked away from the game. This club was the first ever club that I middled a golf ball out of, and it began my hickory odyssey. From 135 metres this slightly onset iron is deadly. The dot punched face is not very attractive but somehow it can generate a world of spin. This mashie is also my bump and run special when approaching greens. Most people struggle with the way it looks at address, but it is a great club.

G. Brodie Breeze Mashie Niblick – 45 degrees (R):

Once you get the hickory bug you begin a quest for some special clubs. One I wanted early was a niblick with a wide sole and plenty of bounce – you know – the kind that are better out of the sand than the knife like niblicks. This club originally run around 48 degrees and was just a little strong for the touch bunker shots. However it was always dynamite from the fairway around the 100 metre mark. As my set progressed I found that the biggest hole in my bag was around the 115 metre mark. After a lot of testing it was determined that this high bounce club could be strengthened to fill that gap. Now it plays very much like a modern pitching wedge / old school 9 iron. It is versatile on full shots, pitches, fairway bunkers and chip shots.

W. J. Gibson Kinghorn Deep Faced Mashie – 40 degrees
G. Brodie Breeze Mashie Niblick – 45 degrees

Hoylake Southern Cross Niblick – 50 degrees (R):

This is the only Australian forging in my bag. Stamped with an 8 on the sole I can see that is was once the most lofted club in its set. This niblick has a large tear drop face and minimal offset, looking very much like a modern wedge. A club that maxes out at 100 metres it is very playable from all distances inside that number. With a thinner sole than most of my shorter clubs I need to play the ball more forward in my stance to ensure a clean contact. Most of my lofted chips are played with this club.

R. J. Gibson Royal Calcutta Niblick – 56 degrees (R):

My one true indulgence is this wide flanged sole niblick. The frustration on not being able to get out the sand with the same reliability as a modern sand iron drove me on a quest to locate a true sand club. This is the only iron that I have purchased from outside of Australia. Every other iron has been found locally. Upon arrival this club was very upright, light in head mass and difficult to control. Now rebuilt, this niblick has given me confidence out of most bunkers. I am slowly learning to master the flop shot over bunkers with it as well.

Hoylake Southern Cross Niblick – 50 degrees
R. J. Gibson Royal Calcutta Niblick – 56 degrees

A. H. Scott Monoplane Putter – 4 degrees (R):

This was the most amazing find out of all my Australian purchases. Amongst 6 clubs advertised with minimal information I found this beautiful blade putter. The monoplane putter is famous for its low profile, long face, vertical groves on face and a flat side to the leading side of the shaft. I have added extra wraps of leather to this grip to build it up to settle my aging hands. If a sand club is a dream, a favourite putter is an essential. This club is the money maker in the bag. Even when playing a round with modern clubs, I always put in the hickory putter.

A. H. Scott Monoplane Putter – 4 degrees (R)


Best advice I can give you:

I played with a mixed bag of clubs for a while and thought I was doing okay. Then my good friend, Lachie Wilson, introduced me to the concept of analysing and fine tuning my clubs. Now my clubs all swing around the C6 mark. Have good quality grips, straightened shafts, reglued heads and adjusted lofts and lie angles. The old forgings are easily bent if you have access to good quality equipment and someone with an understanding of hickory clubs. My set has a consistent gap of 5 degrees between irons and all clubs feel and swing the same. If a shaft breaks we set out to replace the shaft as close as possible to the old profile.

“The one club you would like to have in you play set, and why”.
I am a huge fan of the W. J. Gibson clubs out of Kinghorn, Scotland. The dream club that I continually search the internet for is the Gibson Dominie Sander Niblick with Danga Wood Shaft. I probably shouldn’t be sharing this with you as it will ultimately make it harder for me to find. I have a Tad Moore Replica of this club and it is better than any modern sand iron I have ever hit. Tad modelled this club exactly from the Gibson original. Whilst replica clubs allow many people to access the hickory form of the game, our hearts truly lay with playing original clubs. A close second would be the George Nicoll of Leven Howitzer Niblick.  A price cannot be placed on a wide flanged sole on a heavy and lofted niblick.

“What is your preferred ball for hickory play, and why”.
I am a huge advocate of “the lower the compression, the better the ball” way of thinking. Initially I used the Precept Lady golf balls. A soft ball that, unfortunately, had a hard cover. My next move was too the Callaway HX Diablo ball. I found this ball to be the best combination of core softness and cover spin rate for my game. This ball was in my bag for the past year.

Recently I have begun testing the new Callaway Supersoft ball. I love the feeling of a super soft ball off my putter face and this ball is the softest I have encountered. It performs exactly like the Diablo with a slightly softer feel. If you ever get the chance the Macintyre mesh pattern replica ball is a great ball (see “Links” page for Macintyre Golf Company.). A Wilson duo core covered with a square mesh cover that simulates early 20th century golf balls. These balls roll better than any ball I have ever putted in my whole life.

Darron at Kinghorn, Scotland, 2013.

Vale Rex McKay

It is with much sadness that we record the passing of long-time Society member Rex McKay. Rex had been ill for some time after suffering a stroke, and passed away on Thursday.

Although born in Orange NSW, his family moved to Wollongong when he was quite young,
and into a house quite close to Wollongong Golf Course.

Naturally Rex and his friends gravitated to the course and started collecting lost balls which they sold to the old Golf Pro of the same surname but no relation, Hector McKay.

At 15 Rex became the youngest member of the Club, and set about making a name for himself in local tournaments. Rex played with and often beat all the recognised top amateur players of the District.

Rex won the NSW Junior Title in 1951 and in 1954, won the ACT Championship, and the
NSW Foursomes Title with Barry Warren. Rex also toured overseas and played in the
British Amateur and Open Titles.

He was six times Club Champion at Pymble Golf Club, and a stalwart of both that club and the Port Kembla Club.

In Society events, Rex won the 2008 Australian Hickory Shaft Championship, the 2002 President's Putter, the Dan Cullen Trophy with Des Froneman in 2011, and the Craigieburn Cup handicap event in 2013.

The Committee and membership of the Society extends their sympathies to Rex's family.

Inaugural Queensland Hickory Shaft Championship

Andrew Baker, the Captain of the Queensland Chapter of the AGHS has provided some exciting news from the Sunshine State:

"I am pleased to announce that with the blessing of Golf Queensland and the generosity of Royal Queensland Golf Club we are able to play the inaugural Queensland Hickory Shaft Championship as our October event.

To fit in with the Club’s schedule we will need to play one week earlier than normal on Friday 23rd October (the second-last rather than the last Friday of the month), teeing-off at 12:30pm.

Royal Queensland Golf Club has most graciously made its course and clubhouse available for the event and generously waived green fees for visitors. An invitation will soon be sent to all AGHS members, the majority of whom live in New South Wales, and we might expect a small contingent to travel north for the event.

Golf Operations Manager Steve Rhind advises that course renovations will occur three weeks prior to the event, however the course should be in good condition on the day.

I will contact you again shortly with further details once they are finalized. If you are able to give me an early indication of your intention to attend I will be most appreciative, as it will assist in making the necessary arrangements."

Players interested in competing in the Queensland Hickory Shaft Championship should contact Andrew via email at andrew@andrew-baker.com. If any players are contemplating travelling north for the Championship, and would like to be put in contact with like-minded individuals, drop me an email at website@australiangolfheritage.org.au, and I'll put you in touch with one another.

Liverpool Friendly

The Liverpool course is partly surrounded by Prospect Creek, and opposite the third fairway a fork in the Georges River joins the creek. This is where Governor John Hunter, the second governor of New South Wales, landed in 1798 after a voyage up the Georges River from Botany Bay, naming the area Bankstown.

Playing nine holes over the Liverpool layout is an excellent way to cast an eye over John Hunter's 1798 landing place, and to consume a Sunday afternoon where football is a recent memory, and cricket has yet to begin.

Hit-off is at 3:00 pm, and intention to play should be communicated to the ever genial Tony Doggett on 9639-2849.


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