Share your GHS passion for golf history and hickory golf

James Kaiser, far right, with GHS friends at the 2017 Winter Trade Show in Columbus, Ohio. From left are Frank Rosenzweig, Bern Bernacki, Lynn Just and her daughter, Rachel.

GHS member James Kaiser works from his home in Louisville, Ky., where he is thinking about all things golf, especially his friends and colleagues in the Society. Not one to sit still, Kaiser likes teaching (when social distancing will next allow) and playing golf with pre-1900 equipment and gutty balls. He’s a regular at such events as you will find when you read his letter below.

GHS Members Region 5 (OH, MI, KY)

My wife and I have now been self-quarantined for four weeks (this was published on April 16). Since Garcia Carrion, a Spanish Winery, has blessed me by allowing me to continue my role from my home, I have my career intact and am learning new skill sets to stay relevant in this ever-changing world. My kids and grand-kids are also self-quarantining and we were able to get together for Easter. We are all trying to be smart about this, but I know it is tough for many and the uncertainty of the unknown is a cause of much stress and anxiety. These are unique times. 

To pass some time I’ve been doing odd jobs that never seem to get done. Doing some gardening and been hitting lots of hickory shots into my back yard net & putting on my synthetic front yard green (yes, I’m addicted to golf). Lots of time enjoying my beautiful, full bloom springtime yard, neighbors (in their own yards) & my wife, Marty, (in our own yard). I am looking at this as a mini-Corona Vacation and focused on things that mean a lot to me.

More time in prayer – check.
More time at home – check.
More time in yard – check.
More time in house – check.
More time in golf – Nope.
But wait, what about GHS? So, yes, a check there. 
GHS and YOU mean a lot to me.

One passion I think we all share is golf, so here is a little of my story of why GHS makes sense for me. The part of GHS that is the most fun for me is the actual playing of tournaments, the history of golf (& golf stuff) and youth golf.

  • 1850-1900 is my favorite period for golf. Old and Young Tom are my heroes. 
  • I play pre-1900 hickory (gutty golf) exclusively. That means at the National Hickory Championship (June); the Wisconsin Gutty Challenge (July); and the Foxburg Hickory Championship (August), with its oldest golf museum and the oldest played course in the U.S. 
  • Been on this schedule for about four years now. I played the NHC in 2005 and it took the next 20 years to put together the perfect Tom Stewart iron set for gutty golf.
  • I love the other players and their families at these great venues and enjoy the quality time with my own family who attend most events, too. I even bring my 83-year-young Mom.
  • Youth in golf – I have a 6-year-old who LOVES it and, God willing, I will be his high school golf coach, like I was his mom’s high school golf coach for eight years. I’m building the team now.

My Plan to Promote Golf in 2020

1.  Working here in Louisville, Ky., to grow hickory golf, by hosting some play times (hickory scrambles), at Cherokee GC (1896). Six of the nine holes are still original and eight of the nine greens are original to 1895. It’s the perfect course for pre-1900 gutty golf. My good friend and hickory player, and soon-to-be GHS member, Jeremy Wright, owner of Louisville Golf, will also be involved in this endeavor to promote hickory play at Cherokee GC.

2.  Teaching some classes at schools (physical education classes) with focus on the kids under 12 and their PE Instructor (simple to teach this class) – so I can teach them the proper basic fundamentals of the golf swing with a focus on swinging it fast. This is through Golf Education Encounters (GEE), which uses the SpeedWhoosh swing training aid – a long flexible shaft with a weighted ball on the end. It comes with training grips, so the grip is easy to teach.

All the young golfer has to focus on is two things – keeping left arm straight and hinge wrist at top of swing to the L-position. But after those two things, they get to go as fast as they they can. They love that – go as fast as you can and make the club “whoosh!”

  1. Left arm straight
  2. L–Position
  3. FAST as you can

Then you do a slow back swing to return the left arm straight to the L-position and repeat 10 times. 

Check out this video link of a 4th grade girls class – these young ladies have never played and this is their first lesson. The video shows the class after 15 minutes of practice.

After a few of these lessons they are ready for chipping and putting, which can also be done in a gym if needed. After all this, they are ready for all the tilt, aim, stance, posture, weight transfer, and all the other stuff that golfers need to learn from PGA professionals. My theory is that you can learn these advanced PGA moves because SpeedWhooshing shows you the speed. Now you’re learning golf from a position of speed and how to refine it to make it even faster. 

Just a quick insight into the secret sauce of GEE. SpeedWhoosh will help your game, too, especially in down times to keep the flex in your swing. 

Hickory golf events are by far the most fun golf events.

I know many of you are not hickory players and I would encourage you to try some time as it is lots of fun. If you already are and involved in playing groups, let us know, tell your story. Invite others.

Many of you are collectors of clubs, golf art, golf memorabilia, fans of old courses and design. Maybe you just like the history of golf? Or maybe you just like old golfers. We are fun, right? Maybe we could show stuff on Zoom (a teleconferencing application)?

We all have our reasons why we are GHS-ers and this is the main reason for this letter to my fellows and friends in the Society.

Please share what makes GHS special or what are you doing to share your passion of GOLF with others.

I am looking for your thoughts, your programs, your ideas and I will compile and share these on a regular basis to get others excited and get more people to join us. We all have ideas that may encourage others to jump in. We all love golf and we all have intrinsic values ingrained in our own life, that could help others, if they only know about GHS and our passion and offerings.

One last thought – if anyone has interest is doing some regular Zoom meetings I would be happy to host and send out the invites. Lots of ideas, events, merchandise, collections, etc., can be shared live on Zoom, with interaction and recorded for future use.

Far & Sure,
James Kaiser
GHS Director Region 5

If you’d like to chat, text me first so I can load your information into my phone, otherwise leave a message. (Most of us now answer calls only from known callers.)