24 Aug 2023 | Participation | Amateur golf |

Origins of golf to be celebrated at Australian Hickory Shaft Championship

by Golf Australia

Hickory golf group
Hickory golf on the fairways at Sandy Links in Melbourne

Modern-day equipment will be left at home with golf clubs more than 100-years-old taking pride of place at the 28th Australian Hickory Shaft Championship to be played on Melbourne’s world-renowned Sandbelt from September 3-5.

And for the first time, the Asia Pacific Hickory Championship, presented by the Society of Hickory Golfers, will be played in conjunction with the Australian event.

Jointly organised by the Australian Golf Heritage Society and the Golf Society of Australia, the Australian Hickory Shaft Championship celebrates the origins of the game when wooden hickory shafts dominated the fairways instead of the more modern steel and graphite varieties of today.

This year's championship will feature some of Australia’s most accomplished hickory players who have mastered a different style of golf, as well as contingents from New Zealand and Japan, all competing for the championship and handicap trophies.

Sandy Golf Links will host the opening foursomes event on day one followed by the Championship, a 36-hole stroke event with round one at Woodlands and the final round on day three at Kingston Heath.

The courses will be set up for hickory play, with shorter hole distances, and although the clubs of choice are 100+ years old, the calibre of field that's been assembled promises some low scoring.

On the entry list are the current NSW Hickory champions Tim Sayers and Suz Brown, and the 2023 runner-up to Sir Bob Charles in the New Zealand Hickory Championship, Mark Lawson.

Catherine Palmer, who ran third playing off the men’s tees in NZ, will be looking to take out the Australian Women’s Championship.

As well as the amateurs, there are several professionals in the field, including PGA Tour of Australasia tournament winner and noted course architect Mike Clayton and previous winners Phil Baird, Alex Sutherland, and Darron Watt.

The introduction of the Asia Pacific Hickory Championship, presented by the Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG), is part of the progress of hickory golf in the region.

Founded in the US in 2000, the SoHG is a worldwide non-profit organisation formed by a group of passionate golfers interested in the heritage of the game, and who were impressed by the unique insights that playing with traditional golf equipment gives.

The organisation is assisting in the promotion of the game within the Asia Pacific region , recognising the impressive efforts already taking place.

Initial discussions have been held with playing groups in Japan, Australia and New Zealand on the creation of support infrastructure in the region.

The Asia Pacific Hickory Championship will be held on a rotational basis under the auspices of a newly formed SoHG - Asia Pacific.

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