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TOOLS OF THE GAME

Back when the Sharp family designed the original course at Kingarrock, golf was all about choosing your clubs carefully, making the shot with skill and using your imagination. We're rekindling the original spirit of the sport and present all the excitement and challenges players enjoyed a century ago.

Hickory clubs were state-of-the-art in the Edwardian era. Wooden clubs had been used for years with hickory wood first imported from America during the 1860s. They remained popular until the late 1930s, when steel began to gradually replace them.

At first they may feel a little more delicate than today's sophisticated and technology driven titanium and graphite clubs, but they're reassuringly sturdy and light enough to carry comfortably.

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. Together with expert guidance from the team in the Forrester's Cottage, fully versed in the ways of Edwardian golf, you'll have everything you need to pick your shot with perfect poise. If you're already a hickory golf enthusiast, you're welcome to bring along and play with your own heritage clubs.

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the 19th century, starting with the original, much-prized Featherie balls, stuffed with goose or chicken feathers, superseded in the mid-1800s by the Gutta Percha, which was made from rubber processed from Malayan gum trees and was far more economical to produce.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 of course, but we’re sure you’ll get into the swing of things soon enough.