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‘It’s a bit more quirky’: Golf Historical Society celebrates game’s origins

Golf Historical Society celebrates the origins of the game
WATCH: The Golf Historical Society of Canada plays golf like it is 1457 – subbing modern technology for wooden clubs with hickory shafts. Rob Leth reports

Forget graphite shafts and oversized club heads. For the Golf Historical Society of Canada, it’s all about playing the game the way it was meant to be played when it was invented in Scotland in 1457.

“It’s the same game,” says society member Ken Ledham.

“You’re still playing golf, you’re still hitting the ball around, getting it in the hole, but it’s a bit more quirky and a bit more personality than with modern golf.”

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The GHSC regularly gathers for tournaments throughout the year, forgoing modern technology for wooden clubs with hickory shafts.

“It’s better than hitting a driver that cost you six hundred dollars” says Ron Dunn who organized Friday’s tournament in Wellington.

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Paul Dietz specializes in building and maintaining the vintage clubs and admits that hitting the ball consistently can be a challenge.

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“The weight in these [clubs] is centred beneath the sole plate,” he says. “So you’ve got to be more precise with your strike.”

Then there’s the fashion. Knee-high socks, plus-four trousers, shirts and ties and Gatsby caps are commonplace on the links.

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“You’re interested in a different time and it’s a connection to it,” says Ledham.

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“I mean, it’s also something especially if you’re handling a club that you know came from Tom Morris’ shop in St. Andrew’s in the 1890s or whatever. It’s a feeling of connection.”

Feather-filled golf balls are a little hard to find these days, but several members use what are known as “guttys” — golf balls filled with the sap from Gutta trees found in the Tropics.