Hickory golf is a variation of golf played with hickory shafted golf clubs produced prior to 1935. Brassies, Spoons, Bulldogs, Jiggers, Cleeks, Niblicks, & Mashies where in the bags of the 1920’s golfer. The golf balls were different too. There were no Titleist’s or Callaway’s around in this era rather you looked for a Burke “30”, a Wilson “Success”, a Wright & Ditson “Victor” or maybe a Zenith “Orb.”
In the past 16 years, the fascination with hickory golf has exploded around the world and governing bodies have arisen to better organize like-minded hickory players. In the United States the main organizing bodies are The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG) and the Golf Collectors Society; in Canada – The Canadian Golf Historical Society; and in the UK – The British Golf Collectors Society. There are also active groups in Sweden and Finland that conduct national tournaments.
Part of the attraction of playing with hickory clubs is that they reintroduce ‘feel’ to the golf shot. No “heel-toe technology”, “maximum distance & forgiveness” or “engineered performance” rather the hickory club offers instant feedback to whether or not you have a solid reliable golf swing – void of modern technological assistance.
Proponents also claim that hickory golf allows golfers to play classic golf courses as they were meant to be played. Most hickory golf tournaments in the United States, are conducted under the auspices of The Society of Hickory Golfers. The SoHG, is an organization consisting largely of golf purists, historians and aficionados. Golfing ability of these members vary from that of the competitive scratch golfer to the merry-go-lucky weekend duffer.
The SoHG conducts four “Major” tournaments every year which comprise the “Championship Series.” The SoHG Championship Series point system was developed to help determine an overall winner, or winners, at season’s end. It is a performance-based system similar to the PGA Tour’s Fed-Ex points system. In November, the year’s SoHG Champion is crowned at Mid Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, NC.
Every June, Belvedere Golf Club is fortunate to and delighted to host the SoHG third annual “Major Hickory Championship.” This tournament has grown into one of the most popular, if not the most popular, hickory golf tournament in the country. Belvedere Golf Club & its membership whole heartedly welcome all of the participants and their spouses to Charlevoix & make an effort to extend every Belvedere courtesy to their hickory guests. At the Belvedere Hickory Open, contestants enjoy unparalleled golf, lavish parties and a camaraderie unmatched at any other hickory tournament venue. This year’s date for the Belvedere Hickory Open is June 14-16, 2018.