"You just don't even want to pull your normal driver out when you can play like this."

Mike Clayton writes about a Royal Melbourne round with Geoff Ogilvy using hickory shafted clubs
Ogilvy had never hit a wooden shaft but he had a couple of hits and concluded that "my body will tell me how to hit it".

It took him no time to adjust to the feel of the shaft and after a few holes he said "you just don't even want to pull your normal driver out when you can play like this".

Manufacturers have made fortunes mass-producing quality metal drivers and they have unquestionably made the game easier for the average player. Mishits are more than kindly treated by the big heads but off-centre hits with a small-headed wood with a hickory shaft are not pretty.

Ogilvy barely missed the middle of the two wood's clubface and anyone watching would have been astounded how far he drove the ball. Into the strong south wind off the eighth tee he covered 230 metres and down wind off the next he was right at the 270-metre mark. At the long par-four 11th he lost one high and right on the wind and had to hit a three-wood from there but that was about the only bad one he hit. At the par-five 12th and 15th he easily reached the greens with seven-iron second shots and at the final hole ripped the hickory over the corner of the dogleg and hit a wedge onto the green.

There was nothing revolutionary about our conclusions as we walked off the 18th. That RM played so short for a great player using a hickory shaft backed up what MacKenzie said all those years ago. The custodians of the game need to control the ball because RM, like most of our wonderful suburban courses, has no more land.