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Taking a step back in time at The Greenbrier’s 130-year-old Oakhurst Links

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The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, home to the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic, is no secret to golf enthusiasts the world over.

In addition to the Greenbrier Faldo Golf Center, the resort offers five challenging tracks including The Old White TPC (home to the Greenbrier Classic), The Greenbrier (site of the 1979 Ryder Cup and 1994 Solheim Cup), The Meadows, The Snead (exclusive to members of the Greenbrier Sporting Club) and Oakhurst Links.

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Oakhurst Links offers visitors a unique golf experience, in essence transporting players back in time.

First, a little history.

The original owner of the property, Russell Montague, arrived in the West Virginia area back in 1879 and relocated his family from Boston a few years later.

When one of Russell’s neighbor’s golf obsessed cousins came to visit from Scotland a group including Montague built a nine-hole course on his property for their own enjoyment.

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Completed in 1884, the nine-hole course was used for more than a decade before the group of Scotsmen moved back to Scotland. Once they left, the course went unused and became overgrown with clover and wildflowers.

Years later in 1938, Sam Snead visited the site and for fun blasted a golf ball out over the Oakhurst’s overgrown fairways. Impressed with the property, Snead convinced friend Lewis Keller to purchase the property when it went up for sale in 1959. The Keller family restored the course in 1990 with the help of golf course architect Bob Cupp. In 2012, Greenbrier owner Jim Justice bought Oakhurst Links and it became part of the resort.

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Today, Oakhurst Links plays host to 300-to-500 rounds a year. A $75 greens fee includes use of clubs and two golf balls. That’s right, no need to lug your Callaways over to the course because you won’t need them. In fact, you can’t use them.

In keeping with the Scottish golf tradition the course was created for, players today choose from two types of clubs – smooth-faced irons (pre-1900) and irons with scoring lines (post 1900) all with hickory shafts. Woods are post-1900 with hickory shafts. No tees are permitted with players making their tees from sand. Golf bags are also not permitted. Players carry their clubs under their arm and period golf attire is encouraged, but not required.

“Players receive a wooden putter that would have been used back in the 1890’s, a Niblick which is like a modern day 9-iron, a mashie which is like a modern day 5-iron and a spoon which would be your driver,” said Burt Baine, Greenbrier golf club general manager. “Players also receive replica gutta-percha golf balls that are made the same way as they would in the 1900’s just with modern materials.”

By using the equipment, Baine says, players are given a real sense of where the game has come from and makes them better appreciate the modern equipment, golf balls, and course conditions they experience today.

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Oakhurst – which has been played by the likes of Snead, Tom Watson and Bubba Watson just to name a few – hosts several events each year including the National Hickory Championship held annually in June, the Fall Match Play Tournament, and numerous corporate and group events.

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Baine says a wide range of players come to experience Oakhurst, but overall the demographic falls in the 40’s to 50’s.

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“These people are the ones that might have started using some wooden shafted clubs and just want to try it out again,” Baine said. “We have also had a lot younger player who are curious as to how the game was played back then.”

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John Lahtinen is a Connecticut-based writer with nearly 20 years of experience involving news, media, communications, higher education, PR and marketing. He has been playing golf forever and is still finding unique ways to ruin a good round. Adding to his confusion, he plays both right- and left-handed.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. JIMMY

    Oct 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Every year 4 groups get together and we play a mini-tournament with Forged Blades and actual woods. Alot of fun.

  2. Keith

    Oct 9, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Google Jeremy Moe, he’s one of the top Hickory players in the country and the pro at nice little place in Ft. Smith AR called Hardscrabble CC. He won the Hickory World Match Play in July and won last year US Hickory Open by 11 shots. Two day score of 141. He has an extremely smooth swing and a flatter angle of attack. Hard for a digger to do well. He also very rarely hits woods, hits a driving iron and sacrifices some distance for accuracy.

    Our club plays his club every year in a Ryder Cup event and our pro and myself are always matched up against Jeremy and one of his members in AS and BB. He actually putted with his hickory putter and broke it off in us in BB to the tune of 5-4 (we squeezed by them in AS 2-1). Pretty sure he could take his hickory’s out and beat my a$$ around the course.

  3. ben

    Oct 9, 2014 at 10:29 am

    would love to do this, though not in the attire of the age.

    question, what would a 6 handicap expect to shoot with this old equipment? i wonder if i could break 90.

    • Ryan

      Oct 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      We did this same thing at Old Bandon golf Links. We had played 5 rounds over the prior 3 days at Bandon Dunes. All of us shot within a few strokes of our cap, and comfortably similar to how we played on the 7000 yard courses with modern equipment.

      We played with gutta percha balls which was an experience and took quite a bit of getting used to on the greens (they are very light and lose pace very quickly). After a bit of time warming up it was comfortable to see that I good stroke appears to be rewarding regardless of the era of the equipment.

  4. Kevin

    Oct 9, 2014 at 9:46 am

    We have a course and the equipment here in Fife at Hill of Tarvit just outside Cupar. Believe it’s called Kinggarroch

  5. bradford

    Oct 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Cool, and I agree-This goes on the golf bucket list.

    • dot dot

      Oct 9, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      75 bucks to play nine holes! This sounds like just another gimicky way to commercialize golf and grab a few bucks from your wallet.

  6. Nevin

    Oct 9, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Wonderful place. I’ve played it several times. If you have haven’t been there it is worth considering. I found the clubs to be easier to hit than I thought they would be.

  7. Ken

    Oct 8, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Gotta love this event! I only wear kilts when I’m home alone sipping something Irish. This would be, yet, another use.

  8. Hellstorm

    Oct 8, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    I wanted to play there when I was at Greenbrier last year but didn’t make it out. The way I was playing, I would have needed more than two balls though.

  9. Philip

    Oct 8, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    That is cool. Have to put it on my golf todo list.

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pga tour

Gary Woodland WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/19/2018).

Driver: TaylorMade M3 440 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Acra Tour-Z RPG

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15 degrees)
Shafts: Accra Tour-Zx 4100

Driving Iron: Titleist 716 T-MB (2)
Shaft: KBS Tour C-Taper 130 X

Irons: Titleist 716 MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited Edition Black PVD 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (48-10F, 52-08F, 56-10S), Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (60-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited X (48), KBS Hi-Rev Black PVD S-Flex (52, 56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 009
Grip: Scotty Cameron Pistol

Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Woodland’s clubs. 

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Equipment

Cobra launches King Forged Tec Black and King Black Utility irons

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We first spotted Cobra’s new King Forged Tec Black irons (in both One-length and variable length) and King Black Utility irons (in both One-length and variable length) at the 2018 PGA Show. The company wasn’t dishing out any information related to the clubs at that time, however, electing to await for the official launch to provide details.

Well, Cobra officially launched the clubs on Tuesday, so we now have all of the tech info, specs and more.

Read below for all of the details, and click here to see what GolfWRX members are saying about the clubs in our forums.

King Forged Tec Black irons

Cobra first launched its Forged Tec irons in 2015; “Tec” stands for Technology Enhanced Cavity. They used five different materials in the club head to produce an iron with more forgiveness and distance.

The 2018 Forged Tec irons have gotten a material upgrade with a new Forged 4140 Stainless Steel face, allowing them to be made thinner and produce greater ball speeds across the face. They also have the new “dimonized” black finish that appeared on the company’s King Forged MB/CB irons in the past (and the irons that Rickie Fowler uses). Cobra says the finish is more durable than any black finish on the market.

“The handsome new Dimonized Black Metal (DBM) Matte Finish boasts the industry’s most durable satin black finish ever, reducing glare and providing extreme wear resistance while maintaining the look and feel of a classic forged iron,” Cobra said in a press release.

Additionally, the irons have tungsten weights to lower CG (center of gravity), and move CG more toward the center of the face, and they have carbon fiber medallions to dampen vibrations for a softer feel.

Forged Tec Black One Length

At the 2018 PGA Show, Cobra representatives said that One-length irons represent at least 60 percent of all its iron sales. Yea, wow. So it’s no wonder why Cobra is coming out with Forged Tec Black One-length irons in addition to its variable length offering.

The one-length irons sets match the weight and length of the 7 iron throughout the set, and have progressive tungsten weighting to achieve different launch characteristics — that means the longer irons will launch a bit higher, and the shorter irons a bit lower. New in this set is also progressive lie angle configurations; the longer irons will have a more upright lie angle, while the shorter irons will have a bit flatter lie angle.

The goal here is to allow golfers to take one swing no matter what the number says on the sole of their irons, but still produce desired results.

Both of the Forged Tec Black irons come equipped with Cobra Connect (powered by Arccos) in the butt end of the grips so golfers can retrieve data on every shot they hit during a round of golf or practice session. Golfers who purchase a set of these irons will also receive enough Arccos sensors to put in the remaining clubs in their bag, as well.

The irons come stock with steel True Temper AMT Tour White shafts, with a powder-coated black finish to match the black club heads, or graphite UST Recoil ES SmacWrap shafts. The 7-piece sets (5-PW, GW) sell for $1,099 in steel or $1199 in graphite, and will hit retail on April 6.

King Utility Black irons

Cobra also announced the launch of its King Utility Black irons, including variable length and one-length options.

They’re each made with Cobra’s familiar PwrShell face technology, which adds stability around the perimeter to make the clubs more forgiving while also allowing the faces to be constructed thinner. The faces use forged 455 high-strength stainless steel inserts to optimize ball speed across the face. Also for greater ball speeds, they have full, hollow-body constructions, and they have Tungsten toe weights (67-73 grams in the variable length irons and 90-94 grams in the shorter, one-length irons). For more precision and consistent spin, they have CNC milled faces and grooves.

The utility irons are also adjustable, with +/- one degree of adjustability using their MyFly8 hosel.

They have black PVD coats to achieve their black finishes, rather than the dimonized finish of the Forged Tec irons. Like the Forged Tec irons, however, they come equipped with Cobra Connect in the grips.

The Utility Black irons hit retail on April 6, and will sell for $219 in graphite and $199 in steel. The variable length heads will be available in 3 (18-21 degrees) and 4 (21-24 degrees) irons, while the One-length irons are available in 3 (18-21 degrees), 4 (21-24 degrees) and 5 (24-27 degrees) irons. Each come stock with steel true Temper AMT Tour White shafts with black powder coating, or graphite UST Recoil ES SmacWrap shafts.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Cobra’s new irons here

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Equipment

The Elder and Younger 2-Ball, #teamkiradech, and a very boring wedge on the Honda Classic range

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course  in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. And there was plenty to see on the range Monday.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, making his first U.S. start since the 2016 Web.com Finals, was in his glory. We got WITB looks at (the very yellow bag) of Brandt Snedeker, Gary Woodland, and Chesson Hadley, too.

Here are a few of the best shots from t-minus three days until tournament time.

Chesson Hadley is gaming this superb, decade-old, lead tape-laden, Odyssey 2-Ball.

We also spotted Odyssey’s latest 2-Ball offering, the Exo Two-Ball. No word on whether Mr. Hadley is upgrading…

Kiradech Aphibarnrat’s putter cover is everything you’d expect (and perhaps more).

The leader of #teamkiradech also has his emoji self embroidered on the back of his shirt. This would only be made better if emoji Kiradech also had an embroidered emoji on his shirt.

Chesson Hadley is also gaming one of Vokey’s new SM7 wedges with a bit of weight removed in a very boring fashion.

As if there weren’t enough yellow in this picture… Banana Snedeker?

All joking aside, you gotta love Snedeker gaming a Tourstage X 5-wood.

…with this wear mark, no less.

Laundry service for Bronson Burgoon, please?

Chad Campbell loves three things: UNLV, shaving cream, and Arnold Palmer. The Palmer-Barbasol thing makes sense, as the King reportedly abhorred facial hair on professional golfers (really).

A lovely assortment of Piretti covers. It’s probably frowned upon as a professional to walk away with this whole bag, but tempting nevertheless…

Ditto: Bettinardi.

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Honda Classic below!

Monday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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