The anniversary of the city’s reincorporation and the club’s conception will be marked with a tournament featuring wooden-shaft clubs, low-compression balls and period dress.
Bob Anderson, an 80-year-old who splits his time between Clearwater, Fla. and Pennsylvania will bring some of the 25 hickory-shafted golf clubs that he has been collecting for 40 years to participate in the Clearwater Centennial Hickory Shamble at Clearwater (Fla.) Country Club on Saturday, May 2, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Anderson, an avid golfer who plays three times a week, will also wear knickers, some argyle and a Gatsby-style cap for the event at the semi-private club. Participants will pay an $80 entry fee that includes hickory club rental and a sleeve of old-style, low-compression balls, the Times reported.
“We’re dressing the part,” Anderson said. “It’s quite an experience hitting the wood, being that it does the job, even though they are old.”
The inspiration for the event, which will mark the 100th anniversary of both the reincorporation of the city of Clearwater and when Clearwater Country Club was conceived (the club took six years to build and didn’t open until 1921), came when Greg McClimans, PGA, the club’s Director of Golf, played in a hickory tournament a few months earlier at Temple Terrace (Fla.) Golf & Country Club, the Times reported.
At that event, McClimans wore a white dress shirt and a tie as he shot around with the old clubs, the Times reported. He was hooked and wanted to do something similar in Clearwater.
“It’s a blast,” he said. “Everybody dresses up. It’s kind of neat to get out there like the old days.”
As part of encouraging players to wear period clothing for Clearwater CC’s event, McClimans said, a vendor stocked the pro shop at the club with some knickers and ties after learning of the tournament.
Clearwater Country Club’s rich golf genealogy lends itself to such an event, the Times noted. The club’s course was originally designed by Herbert Strong, a renowned golf course architect and founding member of the PGA who also designed courses in Florida for the St. Petersburg Country Club, Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, and the Vero Beach Country Club. Some of the Clearwater CC holes were reworked by another well-known course architect, Perry Maxwell, in the 1940s.
Clearwater CC’s course, which will be featured by the Florida Historic Golf Trail in May, is also well-suited for play using the old equipment, the Times noted, measuring 6,200 yards from the back tees. The course is “designed basically for hickory,” McClimans said.
Should interest in the throwback event prove strong enough, the tournament might become a yearly tradition, McClimans told the Times.
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