The Hickory Corner: Catching up with a new hickory player

Updated: June 30, 2015

By Brian Giboney, Special to Inside Golf
Welcome back to The Hickory Corner where we explore hickory golf (golf with pre-1935 equipment). This month we are going to interview a certified hickory addict. Let’s start with the hickory addict. Mike Durham of Puyallup recently celebrated his first anniversary as a hickory golfer and I caught up with him to check his symptoms.

THC: How did you get hooked?

Mike: I have been playing modern golf for 20+ years and really started to seriously focus on my game about 3 years ago, taking my handicap from the mid-teens to a 5.6 currently. In my mind, I still have a lot to work out. Anyway, I was approached a year ago by Durel Billy who suggested I give hickory golf a try. “Hickory what?” I decided to amuse Durel, so I met him at the range one day and hit a few balls with some of his hickory clubs. Talk about getting really frustrated really fast. My swing just wasn’t working with those things. I’m naturally very determined though, sometimes to my demise; so, I kept swinging them and learned that slow and easy was the trick. From there, I entered a tournament and had the best time playing golf in a long time. The attire, the limited pressure to be great at this, and the nostalgia
took over and hooked me.

THC: If a sports psychologist examined your cranium, would he/she conclude your need for a hickory golf fix was mild or a more serious form of the condition?

Mike: He or she would probably see a mix of emotions regarding golf (along with some voids I suppose). My need for golf (period) is borderline ridiculous and I’m sure my wife would agree at times. Specific to hickory golf, I have this nagging desire to play a great round with half the number of clubs that I’m used to. That condition will probably never go away until achieved.

His/her diagnosis would probably warrant some sort of prescription or therapy I’m sure. Hopefully it would entail more golf!

THC: How jealous are your modern clubs of your set of hickory sticks?

Mike: A bit jealous. I still swing them quite a bit so they know I still care. However, they know that they aren’t my only love any more. Like a dog, I think they love me unconditionally and appreciate any attention I give them.

THC: Do they quarrel in the closet at night?

Mike: Now that you mention it, I couldn’t understand why my driver shaft broke in half a couple of weeks ago (I seriously didn’t do anything to cause it). I think my niblick may have grabbed my hacksaw.

THC: Favorite hickory shot to date?

Mike: My second hickory round ever, hole #10, par 5, at Meadow Park. I hit 3 decent shots to get me to about 20 feet from the green. I chipped in for birdie, which seemed like an eagle, and was smiling the rest of the round.

THC: Favorite hickory course?

Mike: The Home Course, without a doubt. The links layout works very well for hickory play.

THC: Best hickory round to date?

Mike: 84 gross at, you guessed it, The Home Course.

THC: How many pairs of knickers do you now own?

Mike: Being a commoner, I only have one pair and they’re hand-made. I wear them proudly.

THC: Advice to new hickory players or anyone considering taking their first hickory swing?

Mike: Don’t expect a lot in that first swing. In fact, your first swing will probably be horrible, even if you are a scratch golfer. It’s different, but it is rewarding. The tempo it has given my swing has actually helped my modern golf play.