By Chris Vogt
THERE is history in the hallways at Yarra Yarra Golf Club. The walls are adorned with memorabilia, and cabinets house vintage pieces, dominated by medals and trophies. But the eye-catcher for me is the collection of exceptional hickory-shafted clubs, seldom seen anywhere these days. Rarer still is the opportunity to play with such equipment. A recent visit to Yarra Yarra by the Golf Society of Australia afforded just the chance.
Such museum pieces were never going to leave their resting place. Instead, the GSA provided beautifully crafted sticks in flimsy canvas bags for those who turned up on a sunny, still Wednesday. Club Historian Peter Swan’s association with the group led to Yarra hosting the July edition of Hickory Heroes. Hoping for a glimpse of plus-fours, cloth cap or waistcoat, I was pleased to find three gentlemen so attired. Such garb is the stuff of dining room oil paintings.
An agreeable lunch was followed by nine holes of matchplay, with implements delightfully ill-suited to such endeavours. A microscopic sweet spot leaves little margin for error, nor doubt as to the culprit for a poor result. On the flipside, great shots are rightly celebrated as the player is afforded no assistance from technology. The experienced players in the group showed the way, with slow swings and well-flighted balls. Those new to hickory clubs played a game which struggled to resemble golf. But all were just a fine shot away from bliss.
To sling a handful of old sticks over the shoulder and do battle (for matchplay is still the best form of the game) was to appreciate the nobility of golf. Those who toiled away will be better for it.