Anchorage golfer Kurt Imig never managed to make a hole-in-one with modern golf equipment, but he aced the 130-yard eighth hole at Fox Hollow Golf Course on Friday using a hickory-shafted niblick and a gutta-percha golf ball.
The shot came in a tournament Imig himself invented and provided the equipment for — the inaugural Historic Hickory Tournament. Eighteen golfers participated in the match-play event, many dressed in throwback knickers and all of them using throwback equipment.
A niblick is roughly the equivalent of a modern 9-iron, but it doesn’t perform with equal precision.
“It’s funny, cause you don’t know the loft,” Imig said. “You just go by feel.”
A gutta-percha ball is made of dried sap from the sapodilla tree and first appeared on the golf scene in the mid-19th century. Imig used the “Victor” brand for his hole-in-one.
The shot felt solid, Imig said, but he didn’t know he holed it until he arrived on the green. “I never would have guessed it was in the hole until I saw it,” he said.
Imig started collecting old golf equipment on eBay in recent years and owns about 30 sets, each of which consists of five or six clubs. A modern set contains 14 clubs.
Video by Erik Hill / Anchorage Daily News
Eighteen golfers turn out for the first annual Historic Hickory Golf Tournament held Friday, September 6, 2013, at Fox Hollow Golf Course & Sports Dome in south Anchorage.