Peter Thomson's son Andrew plays with his hickory shafted golf clubs almost every week. He dropped by our office to regrip a few of his clubs with suede leather, and stayed afterwards for a chat. After first playing with hickory clubs about a year ago, he explained that his regular golf handicap has dropped by four strokes. “That’s never happened to me before,” he said. "You have to hit a hickory club a lot more carefully than a modern club. You've got a smaller sweet spot, and the shafts - while they perform very well - aren't as efficient as a modern shaft."
What is hickory golf?
Hickory shafted golf clubs were used throughout the 1920s, and it wasn't until the early 1930s that steel shafts began to take over. Many are still around today, and societies and associations all over the world regularly hold hickory competitions. The world champion hickory player of 2016 happened to be former Masters winner Sandy Lyle.
The Brassie, with lead added to the back to increase swing weight.
Unlike today's golf, hickory golf is usually played with just six clubs, all with traditional names.
Brassie: The driver. Typically with a loft angle between 12 and 20 degrees, the Brassie is more similar to today's fairway woods. A good drive will go 220 yards.
Cleek: A 2 or 3 iron, great for a par 3 tee shot. One of the more difficult clubs to hit. 175 yards distance.
Mashie: The Mashie is the hickory equivalent of a 6 to 7 iron. When beginning to play with hickory clubs, getting used to a Mashie first is great way to become proficient with the others. Great for chip and run shots as well as from a good lie in the rough. A clean strike will go 150 yards.
Mashie Niblick: Similar to an 8 iron, the Mashie Niblick has a range of around 100-125 yards for shots up onto the green.
Niblick: A pitching wedge and sand wedge in one. Use this for lofted shots onto the green, and pray that you don't end up in a bunker.
Putter: A blade style putter renowned for having great feel. Peter Thomson would use a hickory shafted putter on and off throughout his career with great success.
For more information, check out the Australian Hickory Golf website here.