Hickory Golf Profile – An Interview with Chris McIntyre

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The following is an interview with Chris McIntyre, Director of Auld Golf Society (www.audgolfsociety.com) A.K.A. Mac at www.auldgolfer.com

How did you get introduced to hickory golf? What year did you start playing hickories?
In 1999, I came across two hickory irons, worked on them, hit them and began to look for more.  In 2002 attended my first national event with basically all the current players (40 count).  Never looked back, and playing hickory ever since.

What is your fascination with Hickory Golf? Why do you think golfers should try playing hickories?
Playing with antique golf clubs is a chance to play the game from a few eras back in time.  Golf is great.  But I’m over chasing the next advancement in modern golf.  Every golfer should at least try the historic game, and then let their own heart drive the direction they want to go.

What advice would you give to a new hickory golfer? Or a new hickory golfer looking to put together a playing set?
Don’t be so quick to grab a pretty new set of modern hickory clubs.  There are plenty of ways and people to talk to and to get help from in finding antique clubs – like in this and other local hickory golf groups.  Also, one doesn’t have to have ‘the very best’ modern or antique clubs to enjoy playing or even to play their best.  Start off with 6 or 7 common antique hickory clubs and then see where it takes you.  It’s just like any hobby, there is a lot to learn along the way – very enjoyable.

What clubs make up your current playing hickory set?
I have many sets and many models from all the eras of hickory golf.  So I get to make a decision every time I set out to play.  Currently though, I enjoy playing a circa 1900 A.G. Spalding set of H. Vardon clubs and a bramble gutty golf ball.  I am willing to play them up to 5700 yards, shoot 95, and enjoy the dickens out of every shot.

What is your favorite club in the bag and why?
My long time favorite club has been a fairway spoon.  They are versatile and can be played off the tee (much easier to control for most than a driver and not that much shorter), and the fairway.  I recommend one looks for a spoon that looks good to your eye, and that reacts well to your normal swing – you will enjoy being in play. My favorite spoon is a Fred Robson – English made.

What golf ball do you traditionally play with hickory clubs?
Since the first day possible, a period style golf ball like those available at McIntyre Golf Co.

What is your most prized hickory club, hickory era memorabilia or most interesting find?
I have many wonderful clubs and vintage items, but having the chance to hit an authentic 1900 Vardon driver with a Vardon Flyer style golf ball is my biggest thrill.  I must say as well, that it took 15 years to work my way through the hickory options before realizing the value of building a set and playing with this club.

What is your most proudest accomplishment on/off the golf course?
On the course, I once had the lowest round of an event, came in fourth place.  Off the course, I’ve been providing the hickory experience to groups for 12 years through Play Hickory, Inc. and of course was able to create the era style golf ball process so hickory golfers had that option.  I am now proud to be leading the effort of the Auld Golf Society (not meant to be a replacement, but a supplement to other groups) to try to enhance the experience for those who want to dig deeper into the old clubs and games of the hickory eras.

What is your favorite hickory golf course?
I’ve played the Old Course in St Andrews and it is magical.

What is your most recent addition to your hickory golf bag? Why?
Personally hand made objects of era style…sand tee mold, rubber tees, hand made wooden tees, hand forged divot tool.  Why? – an extension of the hobby and a way to make it a more authentic experience.

Dream foursome? (living)
Anyone who is willing to play, talk, and enjoy the day.

If you could go back and play a round of golf in the hickory era, who would round out your dream foursome?
Easy.  The Great Triumvirate and Me.

Do you have a golf course, trip or adventure on your hickory bucket list?
Another trip to Scotland would be grand.  This time I would like to spend ample time to explore more and play the northern courses.  I’d like to give it a chance to make it last and meet the people along the way.

What golf associations do you belong to?
Golf Collectors Society
Society of Hickory Golfers
British Golfers Society
Pacific Coast Hickory Golfers
Auld Golf Society – Director

What is your must have 19th hole drink/dish?
Not drinking much these days.  A cold light beer is suffice.

18 Rapid Fire Questions

Caddie or no caddie?
There is nothing better than playing golf with a caddie.

our last round played, did you play modern or hickory clubs?
Hickory always. (oops, pyratone is slipping into my game occasionally)

The last course played with hickory clubs?
Local course, Goat Hill Golf Course, Oceanside, CA.

What percentage of your rounds are played with hickory golf clubs?
100%

Long Par 3 or Long Par 5?
Long Par 5

Are you more of a Hickory golf collector or Hickory golf player?
I’m a player of collectable golf clubs.

Shorts, Knickers or Trousers?
All of the above in different situations.

St. Andrews or Pebble Beach? (or somewhere else?)
St Andrews

Just off the green. Jigger, Niblick or Putter?
More likely a putter

With hickories, round of life or hole in one?
hmmm.

Play for fun or play for something?
I like playing a match, whether or not for something.

Early morning or twilight?
Twilight

Favorite hickory-era golfer? (Jones, Sarazen, Hagen, ???)
Vardon

Drive for show or putt for dough?
I’m a better driver than putter, but wish I could putt for dough.

Canvas bag or leather bag?
Depends on the era.

Leather grip color/style preference?
See my article:  http://auldgolfsociety.com/grip-options/

Patina or polished clubs?
Usually patina, though I somewhat polished up my Vardon irons (Harry didn’t like it when players did not take care of their clubs).

See the set:  http://www.auldgolfer.com/clubs-3.html

Broken shaft. Fix it myself or call an expert?
Ha! Fix it myself.

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About Author

Brian Weis is the Publisher of GolfTrips.com. When he is not traveling, golfing and writing about amazing golf destinations, he is moonlighting as a novice hickory golf enthusiast. He started off playing replicas (Louisville and Tad Moore) and now plays originals (Stewarts). Brian was hooked on hickories after puring his first shot in 2015.

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