Hickory Golf Equipment Guidelines

Hickory Golf play set

SoHG Equipment Chairperson
Robert Ahlschwede – swedeberger@gmail.com

These equipment guidelines were developed by balancing inputs from SoHG members, other hickory players and the original intentions of the Society's founders. The purpose in developing these guidelines is to establish standard benchmarks for equipment that is most appropriate and best represents the interests of hickory golf and the playing community. We recognize that even with the best intentions there may still arise issues of uncertainty and disagreements with respect to the acquisition, performance and enhancement of wood-shafted clubs many decades old.

Our group was founded in the spirit of true sportsmanship. Traditionalists at heart, we cherish our obligation to savor and perpetuate the joys of this Royal and Ancient game as it was once played. We feel it is of paramount importance that a climate be established in which competition is on an equitable and level playing field. To us, just merely playing and experiencing golf in this way remains more important than victory, a living testament to Tom Morris's famous epitaph: "Modest in victory, gracious in defeat." To us, golf presents a lasting safe haven for ennobling virtues, including the highest standards of competitive character, honor and integrity.

The Society believes that the best way to experience golf as it was played in the wood shaft era is to actually play with original clubs – those that were manufactured and played before the advent of steel shafts. The imagination can then let you wander back to those days, playing the game of Vardon, Sayers, Ouimet, Old Tom Morris, and Jones; using clubs actually touched by Robert Condie, George Nicoll, the Auchtelonies, William Gibson, and Tom Stewart. The SoHG is, however, acutely aware of the increasing difficulty in finding playable, high quality original/antique clubs; therefore, the SoHG also recognizes the positive effect that modern replica clubs have had, and will continue to have in fostering the growth of hickory golf.

It is our belief that the replica clubs that have been approved are quality clubs that acutally do replicate the clubs of the earlier wood shafted era. At the same time, we believe there is no playing advantage to using a replica and, in fact, replicas may not play as well as original clubs. It is the philosophy of the SoHG that replica clubs extend the playing enjoyment to many more hickory enthusiasts and their use should be supported.

Finally, everything about our endeavor has been in an effort to enthusiastically foster the continued enjoyment of hickory golf. It is as informal guardians of the hickory game that we hope to continue this purpose.

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1900-1935 Play (Modern era)

1860-1900 Play (Gutta era)

Newly Revised Tournament Guidelines

We have recently added a new page for those interested in Tournament Guidelines for a Hickory Golf Tournament