What makes Kingarrock Hickory Golf truly special is it’s unique environment including sheep grazing among the rough. Greens and collars are hand-cut, while the fairways and tees are carefully mowed using authentic 1920s-style trailed gangs.
The Hickory Golf Experience starts with an introductory talk about Hickory Golf and the history of the course and finishes with traditional Ginger beer and Shortbread served in the Golf Cottage
The Tools of Your Game
You’ll get issued with five original 1900s hickory clubs: a Spoon, a Driving Iron, a Mid Mashie, a Mashie Niblick and a Putter.
Now let’s talk balls. Golf balls came a long way during the 19th century, starting with the original, much-prized Featherie balls, stuffed with goose or chicken feathers, superseded in the mid-1800s by the Gutta Percha, which was made from rubber processed from Malayan gum trees and was far more economical to produce.
In 1898 things were ratcheted up a notch with the introduction of rubber-wound balls, mass produced in America by the Haskell Company. By 1921 the Royal and Ancient Golf Club’s Rules Committee standardised things, stipulating that ‘The weight of the ball shall be not greater than 1.62 ounces and the size not less than 1.62 inches in diameter.’ We play with replicas of these 1920’s balls today.
Last, but by no means least, comes the Reddy Tee, the first patented wooden tee. Patented by American dentist William Lowell in 1924 – the same year Kingarrock was first established. The wooden red painted Reddy Tee soon took off, and set the benchmark. It seems astonishing that this initiative took so long to develop, especially as for centuries golfers were forced to improvise and tee off from little mounds of sand made with their bare hands!
How Different is Hickory Golf?
If you’re a seasoned golfer you’ll certainly appreciate the difference these historically authentic tools bring to your game. You’ll notice that the ball travels a shorter distance and the clubs generally benefit from a less aggressive swing than you may be used to – all of which makes for a more leisurely game.