For possibly the first time in 80-plus years, at least in Idaho, a club championship has been won by a player wielding a full set of hickory-shafted sticks. Tom Tracy, 69, of Star, won the senior club championship at River Birch Golf Club August 17-18 playing his hickories. Tracy, winner of the 2016 U.S. Hickory Open (senior division), fired 74-78 on the 6028-yard par-73 layout to win by three.
“I decided to play hickories just for fun and to try to drum up some interest among other players. To my knowledge, nobody else in Idaho (other than my wife Sue) has caught the bug, and it would be great to have a few guys join us.”
Tracy’s fine one-over 74 the first day was good for only a one-shot lead. “I bogeyed all three par-fives on the back side, other than that played really well,” said Tracy. “I figured I had to do about as well the second day to win. I made no birdies on day two, and shot five over, but no one got hot, and I was lucky to win by three.”
Asked how his fellow competitors felt about being bested with century-old equipment, Tracy laughed. “Well, they were good-natured and said it was actually pretty cool to watch. A few seemed interested to take it up, so we’ll see! A couple of the guys were outdriving me by 50-yards on most holes, for some guys, that’s a psychological drawback, I think.”
Asked what was in his bag, Tracy said he plays both originals from the 1920s and authentic replicas. For this event, he played an original Spalding Bobby Jones driver, beautifully restored by his friend Jim Von Lossow, an F.E. Rigden spoon, a set of Tad Moore Victor irons 2 thru 8 and Dominie Sander niblick, a Spalding Kro-Flite jigger, and a replica of a Spalding Chicopee putter from 1919. “As usual in tournaments, the putter was probably the MVP of the bunch. I made a couple of three-putts and hurried a one-foot tap-in and missed it (ugh!), but other than that, putted really well. I also drove it well with the Jones driver, which I just got a few weeks ago.”
Tracy, a member of the Society of Hickory Golfers and the Northwest Hickory Players, will play in the upcoming Spokane Hickory Open and the C.O.W. Cup, a Ryder Cup-style competition pitting a team from Oregon/Washington (and now Idaho) against California’s best, in October. Asked if he’ll compete again against graphite and titanium bombers, he replied “Why not? Better yet, let’s get enough interest in Idaho to have our own hickory event – call me!”
Way to go, Tom!
The Northwest Hickory Players is the home for hickory golf in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 2013, it hosts numerous multi-day tournaments and routinely welcomes fields with players from many U.S. States. Its primary service area includes Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Complete details can be found at www.nwhickoryplayers.org.