10 episodes

An online forum for hickory golf...the game as it existed prior to 1935

Plus Four Podcast Robert Birman

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 16 Ratings

An online forum for hickory golf...the game as it existed prior to 1935

    Karl Nagy and Deal Hudson: A Trip to East Lothian and Fife

    Karl Nagy and Deal Hudson: A Trip to East Lothian and Fife

    Their 2021 Trip to East Lothian and Fife

    While enduring the pandemic, hickory golfers everywhere dreamed of a return to the links and the prospect of getting back to international competition, camaraderie, and travel. Many of us suffered months of travel bans and course closures. Lingering for many was the potential that the 2021 World Hickory Open in St. Andrews would be our moment—our triumphant 'return to normalcy' and the first, big international opportunity to reengage with our brothers and sisters from around the globe in a convivial and memorable summit.

    As they say, the best laid plans... Scotland hadn't lifted the quarantine by the time decisions needed to be made. The 2021 W.H.O. was officially canceled.

    Two intrepid players—cofounders of the Southern Hickory Golf Society in the U.S.A.—said, "phooey, we're going!" [Sanitized for your consumption] No W.H.O.? We'll chart our own plan. And what followed proved to be a magical experience among new friends and old, on some of the most hallowed grounds for golf, culminating in a final day on The Old Course to cap off what was already a trip of a lifetime.

    Join us as we relive their trip and hear about the intricacies of planning and performing for 11 straight days in East Lothian and Fife, including 36-holes at Muirfield and the resplendent lunch with their members.

    St. Andrews photos copyright of Foremost Golf Photography

    • 55 min
    Jeffery Ellis - The Clubmaker's Art

    Jeffery Ellis - The Clubmaker's Art

    Jeffery Ellis began collecting golf clubs at an early age and found that the literature that was available for up-and-coming collectors of antique golf instruments was sorely lacking. What is an ambitious and enterprising person to do, but set one's mind to creating the most definitive and authoritative publication of antique golf clubs and their history. Nothing stops Jeff Ellis—whether on an auction floor or in achieving his goals. Heck, he even created his own publishing company, Zephyr Productions, to make his dream a reality in 1997. Ellis has since published a two volume expanded edition of The Clubmaker's Art which features over 400 new images and extensive new information. Many exceedingly rare and historically important clubs have been added to every chapter in the book. The section on fakes and replicas is five times as large as that in the first edition. Mr. Ellis also recently published the history of Ping by personal invitation of the Solheim family (And The Putter Went ... PING).

    Ellis runs his own golf club auction site where we accepts consignments of authentic golf collectibles. His painstaking research and lifelong obsession is a gift to all hickory golf enthusiasts, now for time everlasting.

    He also published The Golf Club which features rare treasures made by Scotland's Old Tom Morris known as "The Grand Old Man of Golf" and Hugh Philp often called the Stradivarius of clubmakers. You will also find modern masterpieces by Ping, Spalding, Callaway, MacGregor, Titleist, Nike and others.

    In this episode, we discuss his early years in collecting, how prices and competition has changed in the last 30 years, and a few of the special clubs featured in his nearly 800 page compendium. The Clubmaker's Art is a must-have for every hickory golf club collector!

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Carolina Hickory Golf Association

    Carolina Hickory Golf Association

    The Carolina Hickory Golf Association is dedicated to preserving the traditions of the ancient game of golf. Conceived in 2004, and formalized in 2005, it is one of the first—if not THE first—regional hickory golf association in the United States.

    The fortunate few who call the Carolinas their home know what it's like to play on sandy soil with whispering pines and a layer or two to keep the morning chill from your shoulders. I would argue—as I believe Donald Ross must have—it is one of the most ideal places in all of North America for the sport.

    CHGA grew from the legendary origins of the Mid Pines Hickory Open. In fact, the pro at Mid Pines was a co-founder of the Association, and is a guest in this episode. It was a treat to spend some time with founding captain "Lang Willie" Engelson, current captain Richard Schmidt, and PGA professional, Rob Pilewski. We spoke of their evolution, their association with LPGA member and World Golf Hall of Fame inductee, Peggy Kirk Bell, the estimable contributions of Jay Harris, Frank Boumphrey, and so much more.

    When a guest in the Carolinas, you're treated right. These three exemplify this culture and are a credit to the growth of hickory golf in the United States.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Florida Hickory Golfers with Mike Stevens, Bill Geisler, and Richard Grula

    Florida Hickory Golfers with Mike Stevens, Bill Geisler, and Richard Grula

    The Florida Hickory Golfers are a regional group of golfers dedicated to preserving the pureness and authenticity of golf by playing with hickory shafted clubs on traditional golf courses. At over 65,000 square miles, the state covers a vast territory, yet this group manages to build success upon success, now boasting a groundbreaking partnership with the Florida State Golf Association, which is exponentially elevating their presence and setting a new standard for other statewide regional playing groups in the United States.

    Like so many groups, FHG started as an offshoot of Golf Collector Society events. Collectors at these events would grab their 100 year-old clubs and hit the nearby links, thrilled to discover the old clubs still had quite a bit of game left in them. They now host the Temple Terrace United States Professional Hickory Golf Championship, Winter Park Hickory Classic, and the Race to Mount Dora, among many other monthly events.

    Captain Mike Stevens was joined by co-conspirators Bill Geisler and Rich Grula for a reflection on this progressive regional hickory golf organization that manages, in spite of their growing media presence and expanding annual events calendar, to keep it simple. Growing the game, enjoying one another's company, and welcoming new players is the hallmark of the Florida Hickory Golfers vibe. They give us all something to emulate as, as I note at the end of the conversation, they very well could become the fastest growing hickory association in the USA.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Kelly Leonard: Clubmaker

    Kelly Leonard: Clubmaker

    There aren't many people devoted to the craft of hand-making longnose clubs as they were made in the 19th century. Kelly Leonard is one of those rare exceptions. Based in Canada, Kelly is a one-man show. By day, he makes his living in construction, but in his free time, he's passionate about hand-shaping wood, horn, brass, and linen to create magical and modern instruments from start to finish that send the bearer back to the time before the modern golf ball was invented. A Leonard club is made for gutty or featherie golf, but as you'll hear in this episode, some have been using Kelly's longnose clubs for gutty and even casual rounds with a modern, low-compression golf ball with nothing but blissful feelings and that small connection one can conjure with players the likes of Robertson, Strath, Morris, Anderson, Park, Balfour-Melville and others.

    Kelly suspects every handmade longnose club has six solid hours of shaving, sanding, rasping, gluing, and finishing in them...and he's made more than 400 so far. This is serious stuff. Of late, he's been producing clubs on templates of some of the Greats, from McEwan, Forgan, Philp, Cossar, Park, and Dunn.

    What are you waiting for? If you love hickory golf, and you play with clubs from 1900-1935, and/or replicas, there's only a few centuries of other authentic versions of the period golf experience at your disposal! Kelly recommends using the McIntyre Park ball with his clubs, but whatever you do, look around, consider our forebears, and if you're curious, feel part of history in your hands and ears, and all of your senses, by swinging a longnose golf club.

    Find Kelly on Instagram

    • 1 hr 27 min
    Tim Alpaugh: Innovation, Creativity and the Metropolitan Hickory Society

    Tim Alpaugh: Innovation, Creativity and the Metropolitan Hickory Society

    Author, inventor, craftsman, and bon vivant—Tim Alpaugh has an unassuming manner about him, but don't let that fool you. He possesses a keen eye for detail, and a passion for history. In this episode, we'll hear about Tim's journey from the fast-paced corporate world to a life-changing decision in the 1980s to give it all up and become a carpenter. Some of the same skills that propelled him in business, translate to the creation of bespoke cabinetry or to his growing popularity as a craftsman of hand-made divot tools, tees, trestle sticks, bag stands, and so much more. Tim's work is featured in the January 2021 issue of Golf Digest and he is completing a long-anticipated sequel to his first book, Claret Dreams: Historic Hickories in the Modern British Open. He's a founding member of the NY-area Metropolitan Hickory Society and has a loyal social media fan base to boot. I hope you'll gain inspiration from Tim's ingenuity and creativity, as I do. He's an original.

    You can contact Tim at claretdreamer@gmail.com and find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/claretdreamer/

    Images of Tim's work can also be found on the Plus Four podcast website.

    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

Siggy Sour ,

Looking forward to this new show!

Im into all golf period! Thanks for turning us on to a new/old style and some kickass history of an amazing game! :)

Steve in Ohio ,

Wonderful Podcasts!

I was so happy to find The Plus Four Podcast as I have collected hickory clubs / balls since the early 1980’s and play with hickories every chance I get. Your subject matter is right in my listening comfort zone!
I have had the pleasure of meeting John Capers and have had John Henry Williams repair clubs for me. Needless to say both very fine gentleman.
I look forward to future podcasts as Robert Birman has proven to be a great interviewer asking the questions I form in my mind as I listen.
Keep up the good work and you have won a passionate follower in me.

old forge golfer ,

All things hickory

My favorite podcast! It feels like I’ve traveled to a hickory event, which ordinarily costs me a lot of money and time, to listen in on hickory conversation!

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