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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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Puma unveil new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

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Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

Puma Golf has launched its new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear – a new version of the NXT with premium leather accents.

The upper of the shoe features a premium leather saddle wrapped around Pwrframe reinforcement. The Pwrframe TPU is an ultra-thin frame that is placed in high-stress areas of the upper for lightweight in a bid to offer added support and increased stability.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The new additions feature Puma’s Pro-Form TPU outsole with an organically-altered traction pattern, containing over 100 strategically placed directional hexagon lugs in proper zones, designed to provide maximum stability and traction.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The Ignite NXT Crafted footwear contain a full-length IGNITE Foam midsole, wrapped in Soleshield in design to offer maximum durability, comfort and energy return. Soleshield is a micro-thin TPU film that is vacuum-formed around the midsole designed to make cleaning off dirt and debris effortless.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

Speaking on the new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear, Andrew Lawson, PLM Footwear, Puma Golf said

“The Ignite NXT Crafted perfectly fuse the beauty of handcrafted shoemaking with modern development techniques to deliver optimum elegance and peak performance. With the combination of style and performance these shoes will appeal to a wide variety of golfers – those who appreciate the classic look of a leather saddle shoe and those who value modern comfort and stability technologies being a part of their game.”

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The Ignite NXT Crafted shoes are available in 4 colorways: White-Leather Brown-Team Gold, Black-Leather Brown-Team Gold, Peacoat-Leather Brown-Team Gold and White-Hi-Rise-Team Gold) and come in sizes 7-15.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The shoes cost $140 per pair and are available online and at retail beginning today, June 5, 2020.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best Nike driver ever

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@ukgolfclubsales

In our forums, our members have been discussing Nike drivers. WRXer ‘DixieD’ is currently building up a Nike bag and has reached out to fellow members for driver advice, and WRXers have been sharing what they feel is the best Nike driver ever made.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Ger21: “VR Pro LE? I have two I was still playing last year.”
  • mahonie: “The STR8-Fit Tour was one of the best drivers I’ve played. Still have it the garage and take it to the range occasionally…it would possibly still be in the bag if it hadn’t developed a ‘click’ in the head which I cannot fix. Long, straight(ish) and nice sound.”
  • jackr189: “The VR_S is one of the best.”
  • Finaus_Umbrella: “I played the Vapor Fly Pro, and still do on occasion for nostalgia sake. Sound and feel are great, but it demands a good strike.”
  • PowderedToastMan: “I enjoyed the SQ Tour back in the day, the one Tiger used forever. Do I miss it? Not at all, but it was a pretty good club for its time.”

Entire Thread: “Best Nike driver?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about driving irons for mid-handicappers

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In our forums, our members have been discussing whether mid-handicappers can benefit from a driving iron. WRXer ‘jomatty’ says:

“I average about 230 off the tee on good drives. I can get a little more sometimes, but 230 is probably the average. I’m 42 years old and shoot in the mid to low 80’s. I do not get along with fairway woods very well, especially off the tee, and really don’t get enough extra length over my hybrid to consider using it aside from very rare situations on par 5’s (I’ve considered just going from driver to 19-degree hybrid and getting an extra wedge or something).”…

…and wants to know if he would be better served by a driving iron. Our members have been sharing their thoughts and suggestions.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • MtlJeff: “If you can shoot mid 80’s, you probably hit it well enough to hit a bunch of different clubs. Personally, I think hybrids are easier to hit….but some driving irons are quite forgiving. I use a G400 crossover that is very easy to hit and looks more iron-like. Something like that you might like. Be careful with some of them though because they aren’t always super forgiving, so you’d have to hit them first.”
  • HackerD: “G410 crossover is my version of a driving iron, feel like I hit it straighter than a hybrid. Just as easy to hit as a hybrid.”
  • hanginnwangin: “I shoot in the low 80s normally and in the 70s on my really good days. I have probably around the same or similar swing speed as you. I have been hitting my 4 iron off the tee on tight holes, and it’s been working pretty well so far. I hit it about 190-220. I have a 4 hybrid but just can’t hit it as consistently as the 4 iron, and it doesn’t even go much farther. I have a 5 wood which I only use for 220+ yard par 3s or wide-open fairways. Basically, it’s all personal preference and what you do best with. Everyone is going to be different. Try new stuff out and see what works. But if irons are the strongest part of your game (they are for me as well), I would give the 4 iron a shot. You can get a lot of roll out on the tee shots with it,”
  • Hellstrom: “Don’t laugh, but I bought a 17* hybrid with a senior flex shaft at a garage sale for $5, and I can hit it nice and easy and keep it in play without losing any distance. My driver SS is between 105 and 110 usually and swinging this thing feels like swinging a spaghetti noodle, but it works. I don’t have it in the bag all the time, but I do use it for certain courses. I take my 6 iron out and throw that in, so if I struggle with getting the ball off the tee, I just go to that.”

Entire Thread: “Driving iron for a mid-handicapper”

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