For many golfers, the latest equipment is key to improving their game with the hope of increasing power, distance and accuracy.
But there is a growing number who prefer to tee up with antiques and play a more traditional game.
And if they get to dress up at the same time, all the better.
A tournament to be played over some of the Highlands’ finest courses this year will be a throwback to a bygone era.
Biggest international field
The World Hickory Open is being held in the region for the first time in October with its biggest international field expected.
Competitors from around the world are lining up to take part in the event using clubs dating from pre-1935.
Although not compulsory, many will dress in clothes from the era, including plus fours and flat caps.
First staged in 2005 and open to professionals and amateurs, the event was won by Sandy Lyle in 2014.
The last Hickory Open was held in 2019 at Gullane in East Lothian.
It attracted players from 15 countries including the USA, Japan and Australia.
Sweden’s Olle Widegren won with scores of 67, 68 and 72.
An impressive performance by modern standards, but more remarkable with clubs around 100 years old.
The Hickory Open planned for St Andrews was cancelled due to Covid and the event is now moving to the Highlands.
It is expected to attract up to 180 golfers and be worth at least £250,000 to the area’s economy.
Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club is hosting a team event on October 10 and the main competition is being held at Castle Stuart Golf Links, Nairn Golf Club and Royal Dornoch Golf Club over three days.
Real art to using hickory clubs
Organiser Stuart French, managing director of Platinum Golf Scotland, said: “We want to take the event to a new level and these course in the Highlands are as good as any in the country.
“There is a real art to using the old hickory clubs. Players really enter into the spirit of it and create a great atmosphere on the course and on the social side as well.”
Event chairman Hamish Steedman, who is also chairman of the St Andrews Golf Company, says players are keen to see the event return.
“They are queuing up to come to play here which is encouraging. People want to come back to Scotland, that’s very clear.
“It’s a growing event. We are confident we will have a full field and the biggest ever.”
He likens hickory golfers to classic car enthusiasts or vinyl record collectors.
“There is a growing swell of people who want to experience how the game was played using old equipment. They get a bug for it.
“Some people who have played golf since they were young have perhaps lost the spark.
“But after being introduced to the hickory event their enthusiasm has been rekindled.
The camaraderie of the whole thing brings people back.”
Excitement about the event coming to the Highlands
He says players who get properly-fitted hickory clubs and spend time using the old equipment can post scores not far from those using modern equivalents.
A long drive competition during the World Hickory Open can see players hitting around 260 yards.
Neil Hampton, general manager of Royal Dornoch Golf Club, is excited about the event is coming north.
He said: “We are delighted to be one of the hosts of the prestigious World Hickory Open when it comes to the Highlands for the first time in 2022.
“As one of the oldest clubs in the world, we have a love for golf’s history and the way it was once played.
“We look forward to welcoming an international field and providing a suitable test for players using equipment and techniques from a bygone era.”