2021 Australian Hickory Shaft Open Championships a little late… but finally a joy for all

After a number of pandemic induced delays The Australian Golf Heritage Society was delighted to recently complete the 2021 Australian Hickory Shaft Open Championships, held as separate Foursomes and Stroke events, at Warringah and Long Reef golf clubs. Newly elected AGHS captain Les Browne reports on a very successful and enjoyable event.

Players at Warringah Golf Club waiting to hit off in the Foursomes

With the Covid on again and off again lockdowns in 2021 the event was postponed a number of times and we eventually settled on the end of January 2022. It was considered having the event in the following year OK, taking the lead from the Olympics. With the uncertain travel restrictions and health concerns, it was not a surprise that the field size was less than would be expected in normal circumstances.

Day one saw the Foursomes hosted by Warringah Golf Club, a beautifully manicured course with very tight fairways and small quick greens, an ideal venue for hickories. One player claimed he considered changing to the small ball to negotiate the narrow fairways!!!!

Foursomes Champion, Phil Beard with Handicap winner Darron Watt and Al Grieve

Foursomes golf is as much about team unity as it is about ball striking which was evident with the winning combination of local Professionals Phil Baird from Manly GC and Dave Saunders from Pittwater Golf Centre who shot a fine five over 75 to take the title. Runners up were Alan Grieve, who travelled down from Brisbane, and young Manly pennant player Jack Roach with 78. Handicap honors went to South Coast duo Greg and David Thomsen.

Day two had an early shotgun start at the picturesque and highly-rated Long Reef Links. The event was scheduled to be in line with their Centenary where hickories would have been used when the club was formed. It was a hot day and surprisingly little wind with the Thomson/Perritt redesigned course set up for hickory play and in great condition.

2021 Hickory Champion Tim Sayers

Although not mandatory many of the players dressed in period costumes and it was great to have a number of Women competing.

We had a contingent from Hickory Golfers Queensland, driving down from Brisbane playing a number of courses on the way. Also in the field was Rob Chadwick, Captain elect of the British Golf Collectors Society.

At the presentation luncheon Steve Twigg, Long Reef President, gave a short and entertaining talk on the Centenary and his passion for the Club. Also in attendance was Tom Moore, AGHS Patron and a key figure in establishing the tournament in 1995

With a one over par 72 Tim Sayers, a master club maker, claimed the 2021 Championship. This was his second big win in recent times also winning the Remote Section of the US

Suzanne Brown with Women’s Champion Isabelle Mansfield

National Hickory Championship. Dave Saunders followed his win in the Foursomes with a 74 to be runner up. Other good scores were Alex Sutherland 77, Warwick Stanwell and Greg Thomsen 79 with David Mansfield, Andrew Daddo and Warren Smith on 80. The Women’s Champion with a credible 94, playing off the same tees as the men, was Isabelle Mansfield. Handicap Winner was Darron Watt from Wagga Wagga on count back from Dave Mansfield and Warwick Stanwell.

Warren Smith after a good drive

The 2022 Championship will be in Brisbane mid September.

The Australian Hickory Championships and other hickory events are run by The Australian Golf Heritage Society, Information on hickory golf can be found on http://australiangolfheritage.org.au/hickory.html or contact Les Browne AGHS Captain lesnkate@bigpond.net.au  

British Golf Collectors Society captain-elect Robert Chadwick driving his first ball in Australia

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