Hickory Golf Profile – An Interview with Dave Brown

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The following is an interview with Dave Brown, President of McIntyre Golf. (https://www.mcintyregolf.com)

How did you get introduced to hickory golf? What year did you start playing hickories?
2007. A good friend, Don Kavalec, had been telling me about hickory events he had played on- Scottish Open, US-Canada in Edmonton, and Heart of America at SandHills and I was intrigued. I have enjoyed traveling to the UK for golf and had enjoyed golf history so this seemed like a nice idea. We played one round together and I was hooked. I changed clubs from a modern golf course to one founded in 1907. This course was designed by William Langford who later designed Lawsonia Links in Wisconsin.

What is your fascination with Hickory Golf? Why do you think golfers should try playing hickories?
I love the history of the game and hickory golf emphasizes that by necessity. The courses we play on are typically old Historic courses that the greats of the game have played 80 or more years ago.
It has led me to collect certain hickory clubs and increased my interest in playing more history courses.

The hickory game seems more pure. We rarely have handicap issues. The guys who play tournament hickory golf are gentlemen. We have fun while competing.

What advice would you give to a new hickory golfer? Or a new hickory golfer looking to put together a playing set?
Have fun. Don’t fret about whether you start with antiques or reproductions. Just get out and play and enjoy. then figure out which clubs you enjoy.

I personally have both styles of clubs. I play tournament golf with antiques, but many times take my reproduction clubs on fun trips to reduce the chance of breaking a prized club by the airlines.

The easy way to start is with a reproduction set unless you are friends with an avid hickory golfer who can help you find a good set. I spent a lot of time accumulating a good set of antiques and I still am on the look out for better clubs. That is part of the allure of hickory golf for me.

What clubs make up your current playing hickory set?
Jack White Brassie
Ernest Sales Sunningdale Spoon
George Nicoll Precision Zenith iron set, 1-8
Bennie Sayers Niblick, 62*
Bennie putter or Dunn model reproduction mallet putter by John Gates

What is your favorite club in the bag and why?
My Sunningdale Spoon. I can count in it to be consistent. Generally straight to a slight draw.
I bet I hit it 90% of the time off the tee.

What golf ball do you traditionally play with hickory clubs?
Of course I play the McIntyre mesh Ouimet golf ball. Doesn’t everybody???

What is your most prized hickory club, hickory era memorabilia or most interesting find?
I have 5 clubs that are stamped D.Brown. David Brown won the 1886 Open Championship at Musselburgh and later emigrated to the US. The best is a smooth face T Stewart mashie with a very clear D Brown, Boston stamp.

What is your most proudest accomplishment on/off the golf course?
On the course, the hole in one I hit at the 2011 US Hickory Open at French Lick was pretty special. A pure spade mashie to 145 yards that backed up to the 16th hole (which was sitting in a little collection area to improve our chances).

Off the course, I would definitely have to say I am proud of my accomplished 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. Hard to beat that kind of luck.

What is your favorite hickory golf course?
I’m not sure I can pick out just one. Rather I have a top 5 list:

Sand Hills golf club in Mullen, NE. Pure links golf!
Whistling Straights, Straights course.
Ballybunion Old course. Many very difficult tho fair holes. Great vistas after hole 5.
MidPines golf club, NC
Panmure GC, near Carnoustie

What is your most recent addition to your hickory golf bag? Why?
Bennie Niblick. It has 62* of loft. I recently purchased it from Don Kavalec who was selling several of his prized sets. This was included in a set of RTj’s I bought from him.
It is as lofted a flanged niblick as I have ever seen.

Dream foursome? (living)
My dad, Gene Brown, still alive at 89.
My son, Casey, who needs to play more golf.
My son in law, Tim Cooley, who played in his first hickory event at the 2016 WI Hickory Open and was hooked.

If you could go back and play a round of golf in the hickory era, who would round out your dream foursome?
Francis Ouimet
Bob Jones
Harry Vardon

Do you have a golf course, trip or adventure on your hickory bucket list?
My golf bucket list is to play with hickories all of the courses that Bob Jones won major championships on.
The list is 10 courses and I am at 6 so far.

Completed include the Old Course at St Andrews, Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham and St Annes, Interlachen, Minikahda, Merion East. Yet to go are – Winged Foot, Scioto, Brae Burn, Oakmont

What golf associations do you belong to?
USGA
SOHG
BGCS
EAGCH
NE HGS
WHO

What is your must have 19th hole drink/dish?
Guinness and a shot of whisky

18 Rapid Fire Questions

Caddie or no caddie?
Caddie!

Your last round played, did you play modern or hickory clubs?
Hickory

The last course played with hickory clubs?
MidPines

What percentage of your rounds are played with hickory golf clubs?
90

Long Par 3 or Long Par 5?
Long Par 5

Are you more of a Hickory golf collector or Hickory golf player?
Player

Shorts, Knickers or Trousers?
Trousers

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

Just off the green. Jigger, Niblick or Putter?
Bennie chipper

With hickories, round of life or hole in one?
2011 USHO hole in one on 16 at French Lick

Play for fun or play for something?
For Fun

Early morning or twilight?
Twilight

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

Drive for show or putt for dough?
Putt

Canvas bag or leather bag?
Leather

Leather grip color/style preference?
Black leather, rough side out

Patina or polished clubs?
Polished, or better, stainless steel

Broken shaft. Fix it myself or call an expert?
Send to Tad Moore

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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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