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Kingarrock hickory golf

The golf club that takes you back in time

Forget titanium, 460cc heads and cavity back irons, there won't be a steel shaft in sight when you tee it up at Kingarrock Hickory Golf
 

I’ve got a set of old hickory clubs resting against a wall in my spare room. They make me thrilled I’m living in the age of 460cc heads and cavity backs.

They look rigid, small and impossible to hit. And yet, if you journey to Kingarrock, that’s exactly what you’ll have to do if you want to play a round on the 9-hole Scottish course.

For at this National Trust Scotland-owned layout, it’s the early 20th century every single day.

You’ll play with original clubs from the 1900s, and softer rubber-wound balls, while putting on some plus fours and a bit of tweed is positively encouraged.

In fact, everything at Kingarrock is done, well, a bit more traditionally.

Players go off in half hour intervals – you’ll almost feel like you’ve got the course to yourself – and, once you’ve holed your last putt, it’s off to the Forrester’s Cottage for lashings of ginger beer and some shortbread.

The old ways are even employed out on the course as well. The greens and collars are hand cut, while the fairways and tees are mowed using ‘authentic 1920s-style trailed gang’.

No fertilisers, no sprinklers, just natural grass.

Do you choose a mashie or a niblick? Or is it a mashie niblick?

Will you simply be able to hit the ball? All questions that will be answered with a round at Kingarrock, which is only a short pit stop from St Andrews.

You’ll go into battle with five clubs: a Spoon, a driving iron, a mid mashie, a mashie niblick and a putter. A ‘Haskell’ and the first patented wooden tee – the Reddy Tee – will be your aids as you try to get it round.

The course itself dates back to the early 1900s when Frederick Sharp brought his family to the Hill of Tarvit Mansion House and designed a 9-hole layout on the house’s front lawn.

It fell into disrepair through the years but NTS staff in the 1990s discovered a map of the course dating back to 1924 and decided to bring hickory golf back to the property.

The course reopened in 2008, after a 70-year gap, and you can find out more at their website.

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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