Oct. 9, 2017
East Lothian, Scotland
News Release – Issued on behalf of The 2017 LinkedGolfers World Hickory Festival by Scotland’s Golf Coast.
In trying conditions, the players of the 13th LinkedGolfers World Hickory Open showed amazing patience, concentration and above all their sense of humour as they tee’d off yesterday morning at Kilspindie Golf Club on Scotland’s Golf Coast.
“They needed it,” said Bill Geisler, president of the Society of Hickory Golfers. “The wind was as strong as could be for both days of the competition.”
With players from 13 countries from around the world, from as far as the USA and Scandinavia, competition was as fierce as the wind that dogged it. However, it was a Scot who walked off with the Lionel Freedman Trophy. Fraser Mann from Carnoustie (featured on the Home Page image), after several years of trying, is the LinkedGolfers 2017 World Hickory Open Champion. His scores of 71 and 70, for a total of 141, are impressive scores in any period, but even more surprising when achieved with clubs that date back 100 years. Yet skilful players such as last year’s winner and former Masters Champ Sandy Lyle are still able to hit powerful near-300-yards yard drives and record scores of as little as 67, although this has only been achieved twice in the tournament’s 12-year history.
Competition consisted of a large number of international amateur and professional golfers. As in past years, the field reflected many of the world’s best hickory golfers. Organizers were delighted with entrants from more than a dozen countries. Out of the 120 competitors, 28 arrived from Switzerland, a country that counts some serious hickory golf experts. For example, Switzerland’s Paolo Quirici was one of the top seeds this year, and was Championship winner in 2013.
Sweden is another European country that has embraced hickory golf at a very accomplished level, with literally thousands playing the game back home. The World Hickory welcomed 19 of them this year.
The next largest team was not unsurprisingly from the USA, led by Mike Stevens, former champ and U.S. champion. In addition, England, led by Andrew Marshall from Norfolk, has been well represented this year. Andrew was Open champion at Carnoustie in 2015. Other nations entered included both Austria, Denmark, and another half-dozen countries, emphasizing the rapid growth of the game in Europe.
Fraser Mann was but one of Scotland’s representatives, as a small team of talented international junior golfers from Loretto’s much vaunted Golf Academy, led by former hickory champion Rick Valentine, has also been playing this week.
More than 80 percent of the 2017 tournament’s entrants have competed in the past and are likely to return as the game continues to grow in this extraordinary but incredibly beautiful new location of Scotland’s Golf Coast.
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism welcomed the players and the attention they brought to Scotland’s Golf Coast. Hopefully, he said, the players will return “…year after year … encouraging friends and family to discover all that East Lothian has to offer, on and off the golf course.”