Caption: Catriona Matthew and Rick Valentine at Montrose Links, host of the World Hickory Open 2013.
Credit: Photo courtesy of www.carnoustiecountry.com
The British Open may be grabbing the headlines – but it’s not the only international golf tournament making the news. To launch the World Hickory Open 2013, on Thursday, 18 July, two top golfers from the worlds of women’s golf and hickory golf battled it out across three holes on Montrose Golf Links, where golf has been played for over 450 years.
The World Hickory Open 2013, which takes place in Montrose on 1st and 2nd of October, is one of the main events in the inaugural Carnoustie Country Golf Festival, which is being held this autumn. To launch this high profile, international event, Carnoustie Country Ambassador Catriona Matthew, one of the main contenders at the Ricoh Women’s British Open next month, competed in a mini hickory golf tournament against the current World Hickory Open champion, Rick Valentine.
Catriona swapped her state-of-the-art golf clubs for hickory-shafted golf clubs which are exact replicas of those used 100 years ago and, in keeping with the spirit of the World Hickory Open, wore a golfing outfit similar to those worn by lady golfers in the early 20th century. “Until today, I had no experience whatsoever of hickory golf but it was great fun,” said Catriona.
“I was intrigued to discover just how different the whole experience is from the golf that we play today and how much golf equipment – and golfing attire - has advanced over the last century.”
After three hotly-contested holes across Montrose Medal, the Carnoustie Country course which will host the World Hickory Open 2013, Rick Valentine narrowly beat Catriona. “Right up until the end, it was very close,” said Rick, who is Director of Golf at Loretto School in Musselburgh. “Catriona played fantastically well and I only just sneaked in as a result of the penalty Catriona incurred at the last hole.”
As the winner of last year’s World Hickory Open, which was held on Monifieth Medal and Carnoustie Burnside, Rick is returning to Montrose in October to defend his title. “I hope today’s result bodes well for the 2013 championship,” said Rick, whose grandmother, Jessie Valentine, was one of Britain’s top lady golfers from the 1930s right through to the 1950s. “Playing hickory golf anywhere is special but it will be fantastic to once again compete in Carnoustie Country, home to so many of Scotland’s greatest and oldest golf courses.”
The World Hickory Open 2013 is a two-day event played across 36 holes of Montrose Medal. This is the tournament’s ninth year and organiser Lionel Freedman, co-founder and Director of the World Hickory Open, explained that, as a result of the success of the World Hickory Open’s move to Carnoustie Country in 2012, a couple of additional events have been added to the programme.
“We’re definitely making the most of being located in the cradle of golf, where there are an almost unbelievable 30 golf courses within a forty minute drive of Carnoustie Championship,” said Lionel.
The World Hickory Open 2013 is for amateur and professional golfers, with categories for individuals and teams. “Well over 100 competitors and 40 teams are expected to attend this year’s tournament,” said Lionel. “We’ve already had entries from as far afield as America, Australia and South Africa, with many entrants joining us for the first time.”
Entry to the 2013 World Hickory Open costs £250 per golfer. This includes an optional warm-up round on Monifieth Medal, two rounds on Montrose Medal during the tournament, the possibility of a place in the Ryder Cup style competition that will be played at Arbroath on Thursday, 3rd October, hire of hickory-shafted clubs and the gala prizegiving dinner.
“Places are still available in this year’s World Hickory Open,” added Lionel. “Experience of hickory golf is not necessary and neither is wearing period golfing gear, although most of our competitors agree that this is the perfect finishing touch.”
To find out more about the World Hickory Open 2013, or to download an entry form, visit www.worldhickoryopen.com. To find out more about Carnoustie Country and its golf courses, including ‘stay and play’ packages, visit www.carnoustiecountry.com, ‘like’ the Carnoustie Country Facebook page or follow Carnoustie Country on Twitter.