NATIONAL HICKORY CHAMPIONSHIP PRACTICES EXTREME DISTANCING
(Story by Kingston Resident Bob West)
The National Hickory Championship is a two-day event where players use authentic hickory-shafted golf clubs made before 1900 and replica gutta percha balls.
Founded in 1998, the inaugural National Hickory Championship was held at the historic Oakhurst Links, established in 1884, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The rules for the NHC are quite simple. Players must carry and use authentic pre-1900 hickory shafted clubs without the aid of a golf bag and play using pre-1900 rules of golf including the stymie rule.
The tournament is usually held somewhere historic in the central USA but, with COVID-19 safety precautions, there was to be no travel this year.
Instead, the 13th Annual National Hickory Championship was contested with utmost distancing, on June 11-12, 2020 at 24 worldwide sites in 5 countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States) with 101 players.
The Canadian contingent of seven players played at the 99-year old Gananoque Golf and Country Club in Gananoque, Ontario. The course was perfect for this event and NHC Hickory Contestants were warmly welcomed by their General Manager and Professional, Larry Schrader.
The Kingston area players included 4-time PGA of Canada – Ottawa Zone Champion Chris Barber from The Landings Golf Club in Kingston, Ontario and 3-time NHC champion Bobby Sly who placed 11th and 19th respectively in the NHC Open competition. Bob West was tied for third in the NHC Reserve Division. Also competing at Gananoque were Golf Historical Society of Canada President Jeff Rogers and fellow GHSC Members Glen Fast, Richard Saxe and Nick Waterfield.
NHC Official Czar and Tournament Director Peter Georgiady issued the overall results with congratulations going out to John Lavendoski of Bainbridge Island, Washington, Dave Shultz, Portsmouth, Ohio and Rylee Stovall, the girl wonder, winners of the 2020 NHC Open, Reserve and Women’s Divisions.