The following is an interview with Mike Stevens, Director of Florida Hickory Golfers. (https://floridahickorygolfers.org/)
How did you get introduced to hickory golf? What year did you start playing hickories?
I first discovered Hickory Golf back in 1995 when I heard about the Golf Collectors Society. I attended their annual meeting and played my first round with some clubs I picked up at a flea market.
What is your fascination with Hickory Golf? Why do you think golfers should try playing hickories?
I just like the challenge and variety of shots it affords. It is not about distance. I would like to see golfers play hickories just to experience some of the history behind the game.
What advice would you give to a new hickory golfer? Or a new hickory golfer looking to put together a playing set?
Lower your expectations and don’t take the game to seriously. You can’t compare hickory golf to modern golf. Eighty is a good score. Play older courses that are suited to the hickory game.
What clubs make up your current playing hickory set?
I have Louisville driver, spoon & cleek. A Tom Stewart driving iron, mid iron and spade mashie. Tad Moore OA deep face mashie, mashie, mashie niblick, and niblick and a Nicoll gem putter.
What is your favorite club in the bag and why?
The Stewart driving iron.
What golf ball do you traditionally play with hickory clubs?
Either the McIntyre mesh or the Schuman Classic.
What is your most prized hickory club, hickory era memorabilia or most interesting find?
I have an Auchterlonie spoon that I picked up several years ago and I also have a Willie Anderson mid iron, the only man to win three consecutive U S Opens.
What is your most proudest accomplishment on/off the golf course?
I established a tournament in Florida that raises funds for Military Families whose parents are rehabilitating from wounds received on the battle field.
What is your favorite hickory golf course?
I have three actually. Oakhurst Links, site of the National Hickory Championship. Brora and the Old Course at Musselburgh.
What is your most recent addition to your hickory golf bag? Why?
The Tom Stewart spade mashie. Just feels solid.
Dream foursome? (living)
Jack Nicklaus, Jim Furyk and Nick Price.
If you could go back and play a round of golf in the hickory era, who would round out your dream foursome?
Walter Hagen, Harry Vardon & Young Tom Morris.
Do you have a golf course, trip or adventure on your hickory bucket list?
The World Hickory Open. Best tournament bar none. Great courses always and great friends from around the world.
What golf associations do you belong to?
Society of Hickory Golfers, Florida Hickory Golfers, Carolina Hickory Golfers and the United States Golf Teachers Federation.
What is your must have 19th hole drink/dish?
Tatties, neeps and haggis.
18 Rapid Fire Questions
Caddie or no caddie?
Your last round played, did you play modern or hickory clubs?
Always play hickories.
The last course played with hickory clubs?
Mount Dora Golf Club in Florida.
What percentage of your rounds are played with hickory golf clubs?
Long Par 3 or Long Par 5?
Neither. I find that short par threes can be just as good. How about the postage stamp. How exciting was that in the Open Championship.
Are you more of a Hickory golf collector or Hickory golf player?
Shorts, Knickers or Trousers?
St. Andrews or Pebble Beach? (or somewhere else?)
Just off the green. Jigger, Niblick or Putter?
With hickories, round of life or hole in one?
Wining National Hickory Championship while battling Randy Jensen down the stretch.
Play for fun or play for something?
Early morning or twilight?
Favorite hickory-era golfer? (Jones, Sarazen, Hagen, ???)
Walter Hagen by far.
Drive for show or putt for dough?
Since I can’t do either, I would kill to be able to putt better.
Canvas bag or leather bag?
Leather grip color/style preference?
Patina or polished clubs?
Does not matter.
Broken shaft. Fix it myself or call an expert?
I can fix but am lazy so I send them out.