Ready to Play

L. to R. Ove Werner; John Still; Bernard Gallacher O.B.E.; Scott Patrick; Bob Strachan


Following the success of the inaugural World Hickory Open Championship last year, a bigger and even more prestigious event was held from 4-6 October at Craigielaw, East Lothian, Scotland. It was moved to the superb modern course from its Musselburgh Old Links venue partly due to impending developments at Musselburgh, and partly to the increased size of the Tournament.

The Tournament Directors, Lionel Freedman, Willie McLucas, Mike Westmacott and Graham Wilson did a magnificent job in presenting the three day event which began with a practice day, then a Pro-Am and then on Friday, the Champonship itself.  The Scottish P.G.A. endorsed the event this year which brought the Professional golfers into the picture and a range of sponsors and saw a total prize fund of some 17,000.

Clubs were supplied by Past Masters Old Links Golf for all players who did not have their own sets.

The Championship was contested by 37 professionals and 14 amateurs, there being a handicap limit of 9 for amateur entries, while the Pro-Am drew 132 players in teams of four which included both women and men of a wider handicap range.  Entries came from Europe and the U.S.A. as well as the U.K.

Zack Saltman receives the Championship Quaich and club from Lionel Freedman

The World Hickory Open Champion for 2006 is  amateur, Zack Saltman (+3) at 17 years old, the youngest of the three talented Saltman brothers.  His prize was the title, trophy and a hickory club.  His round of 67 beat the best Professional, David Orr of East Renfrewshire, by one shot to take the title.  Third with a gross 69 was Richard Valentine.

David Orr also tied for first place in the Pro-Am with Colin White of Prestwick Driving Range.  The Pro-Am resulted a win for East Lothian Council's team which was captained by Paul Wardell and included Alan Minto, East Lothian's golf development officer a top flight amateur player.

The presentation and gala dinner followed the Championship at which Donald Steel, the golf architect, President of the English Golf Union and member of the R&A, and Professor David Purdie of the Royal Burgess & Sunningdale Golf Clubs

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed both events and will be returning for the 2007 Championships which will be held on 26-28 September at Craigielaw Golf Club when an even bigger field is expected as the popularity of hickory play is spreading in this country as well as in the U.S.A. and Europe.  Keep an eye out both on the Old Links Golf website and the official championship website and how to enter next year.