The following is an interview with Jeremy Moe Head Golf Professional Hardscrabble Country Club in Arkansas. (And winner of the 2016 US Hickory Open held in Green Lake, Wisconsin at Lawsonia Links)
How did you get introduced to hickory golf? What year did you start playing hickories?
In 2007, Breck Speed brought the Arkansas Hickory Open to Hardscrabble CC. As the host pro, I was offered an opportunity to play. When the rental sets arrived a few days prior to the event, I promptly hit every club in every bag and cherry picked my set… I shot 74-68 and was hooked! There were multiple professionals that play in the event that year, including Jack Fleck, the 1955 US Open winner.
What is your fascination with Hickory Golf? Why do you think golfers should try playing hickories?
I would recommend that all golfers, of all levels, try playing with a hickory set. I think they will find that to be successful, a player must accept some limitations in the equipment, a player must adjust their rhythm and tempo to accommodate the clubs, a player must manage the course in a more conservative fashion, and a player must exercise patience. In addition, it’s a wonderful avenue by which you can experience, first hand, a big part of the history of this game. Both in terms of the equipment, and also by playing old courses, set up in a manner that is familiar to the hickory era.
What advice would you give to a new hickory golfer? Or a new hickory golfer looking to put together a playing set?
I can’t say I would recommend the route that I took… I bought old clubs on line and sent them to friends to get new shafts and grips… they were mostly terrible.
I would suggest a few ways of acquiring clubs and beginning a wonderful journey through golf…
1) Buy a set from Tad Moore or Louisville golf. These are approved reproductions and they will play quite nicely. That will get you up and golfing quickly. It also provides the opportunity to learn about the original equipment these club makers were copying and why.
2) Attend or compete in a hickory event with the intention of acquiring clubs at the dinner party. I know the events that I have participated in, they are terrific opportunities to purchase original equipment, replicas and the like. While you won’t be able to hit them on a range before paying, many of the club dealers are going to be willing to wheel and deal with you to ensure you are getting something you want.
What clubs make up your current playing hickory set?
I play with a Louisville driver (Jeanne Deans) and a Tad Moore bulldog fairway club.
My irons are the original OA copies that Tad made back in 2008.
I use a SM niblick from Louisville.
I put with either a Chicopee or a BV putter.
What is your favorite club in the bag and why?
I have always loved my mashie… there is just something about the feel… but this year, In Wisconsin, I came to love my BV putter.
I had ordered one from Mike Just, and given his health, I wasn’t concerned about when I might get it, I headed to Wisconsin and planned on putting with my Chicopee. When I checked in at Lawsonia, Rob Ahlschwede handed me a box… It was my custom BV from the crew at Louisville. I put it in the bag immediately. Over the next few days, I didn’t make everything, but I putted with good touch and made some of the best two putts of my life.
What golf ball do you traditionally play with hickory clubs?
I like the Quimet, square mesh ball. I know it’s a little shorter off the tee, but I like the way it putts and chips. The classic is another good choice.
If modern balls are permitted, I would recommend the Callaway chrome soft ball. It feels great off the irons and woods and performs very well around the greens.
What is your most prized hickory club, hickory era memorabilia or most interesting find?
I have an original Tom Stewart putting cleek that is stamped, “A. Kendall, U.S.A., Fort Smith”.
This putter was made for Al (Arthur) Kendall, a Scottish golf professional who worked at the Fort Smith CC back in 1913. I’ve had the putter cleaned up, reshafted and gripped and it putts well.
What is your most proudest accomplishment on/off the golf course?
I am most proud of my win in 2014 over Paulo Quirici, a wonderful player and competitor in the World Hickory Match Play at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. It took a birdie on the 20th hole to win that match.
Off the course, I am proud of my affiliation with the Arkansas PGA and all the professionals within our network. I currently serve as the Vice President and am looking forward to the opportunity to serve as the President. Our chapter is full of special golf professionals, who work hard at their respective facilities to promote and grow the game. I proud of the support they show me of my interest in hickory golf.
What is your favorite hickory golf course?
I really enjoyed playing Pinehurst #2 with hickories. I love Mid Pines and Pine Needles. I think the Dormie Club in Pinehurst is a special course as well. I fell in love with the Links of Lawsonia most recently. Ashville Country Club was special and so was Seaview.
What is your most recent addition to your hickory golf bag? Why?
I added a lofted fairway wood. I need something for distance off the turf. I like the driving iron off the tee, but if the ball is sitting down, I need something with more loft and a more forgiving sole to go down after the ball. Also, the driving iron produces such a low ball flight, that the addition of loft will help control the shots better.
Dream foursome? (living)
If you could go back and play a round of golf in the hickory era, who would round out your dream foursome?
Do you have a golf course, trip or adventure on your hickory bucket list?
I would love to go to Scotland and compete in the World Hickory Championship.
What golf associations do you belong to?
Arkansas State Golf Association
United States Golf Association
Society of Hickory Golfers
British Golf Collectors Society
What is your must have 19th hole drink/dish?
If I can have anything I want… I’m going to go for sushi and a local IPA.
18 Rapid Fire Questions
Caddie or no caddie?
Caddie every time…There is something very special about walking down the fairway with a friend, partner and advocate.
Your last round played, did you play modern or hickory clubs?
The last course played with hickory clubs?
Alotion Club in Arkansas
What percentage of your rounds are played with hickory golf clubs?
Probably about 1/3 of my rounds are with hickory.
Long Par 3 or Long Par 5?
Long par 5.
Are you more of a Hickory golf collector or Hickory golf player?
I think any hickory golfer who strives to shoot the best possible scores, is bound to become a collector. Golfers are always looking for an edge, a club that helps them… maybe it’s more bounce, more loft, or whatever the case may be. In the journey to find clubs that will improve your own game, it’s hard not be become a collector. You certainly gain an appreciation for the clubs and the era.
Shorts, Knickers or Trousers?
Knickers are my favorite, but I’m ok with trousers too.
Shorts are not an option… last time I wore shorts, I was greeted with the following comments:
– Hey pro! Did you get that message? Coronel Sanders called, he wants his chicken legs back!
– Hey pro! Your legs look like OB stakes! Nobody wants to be OB before they even tee off.
St. Andrews or Pebble Beach? (or somewhere else?)
Pebble Beach… but St. Andrews would be a dream. I’ve played Southern Hills, Pinehurst #2 and the Alotion Club with hickories and each was fantastic.
Just off the green. Jigger, Niblick or Putter?
Putter almost every time.
With hickories, round of life or hole in one?
Round of my life!
Play for fun or play for something?
Almost always play for something.
Early morning or twilight?
Favorite hickory-era golfer? (Jones, Sarazen, Hagen, ???)
Sir Walter Hagen
Drive for show or putt for dough?
Putt for dough.
Canvas bag or leather bag?
Canvas, if I have to carry it.
Leather grip color/style preference?
Leather grip with pine tar. I don’t like a slippery grip.
Patina or polished clubs?
Broken shaft. Fix it myself or call an expert?
I always call an expert!