Some time in the late 1980’s I received a Father’s Day gift from my sons – Anthony and Michael. It was a hickory shafted putter and a “wrapped” Dunlop 65 golf ball from the 1960s. My wife had purchased these items on behalf of the kids at a local flea market.
I had always been a collector of sorts. I was interested in coins for many years and had a modest collection. Anything OLD interested me. I would think of the generations of people who had put their hands on these coins over the centuries and thought about who they were along with their origins. As a golfer it didn’t take long before I started thinking of how these old clubs/balls and other hickory golf equipment travelled from country to country, the various men and women who used the equipment and what it was like playing golf in the early years.
I started looking to see if anyone else shared this passion and stumbled on a book titled The Encyclopedia of Golf Collectibles written by Morton Olman. When paying for purchase, I was told of a group of collectors who would meet periodically for buy/sell trade fairs. This group turned out to be the Golf Historical Society of Canada (GHSC) – formed in 1988. I immediately joined the Society and have been an active member since 1993. They would hold regular “hickory” golf events where members would play with a set of refurbished clubs from the turn of the 20th century and following each event there would be an opportunity to buy/sell/trade historical and unusual golfing items within the group.
Over the years I have played in hundreds of such hickory golf events and have personally organized many. From basic “hickory” scrambles, to 100th Anniversary Celebrations to re-enactments of prominent events which took place many years ago. If you are a golfer and have any interest in history there is nothing like the feel of a hand crafted hundred year old club in your hands and the sound it makes when a perfectly smooth swing connects with that little sphere. Turning back the hands of time has never felt better.
I have served as Director, VP, and President of the GHSC and have also served for two terms (6 years) as the International Director (Region 10) of the Golf Collectors Society (now the Golf Heritage Society – USA). I have learned a great deal over the years and enjoy sharing information with other golf collecting enthusiasts and hickory players. For a number of years I have been the primary GHSC liaison with Golf Canada and their Museum at Glen Abbey GC. I have also been involved with Georgian College with their Golf Management Program in terms of speaking engagements and running yearly historical events at local golf courses.
I enjoy both sharing the knowledge I have acquired over the years and continuing to learn about the rich history of the game.