Major winner Sandy Lyle to defend World Hickory Open title at Kilspindie

Sandy Lyle, centre, has won the event at Carnoustie and Panmure the last two years
Sandy Lyle, centre, has won the event at Carnoustie and Panmure the last two years
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Two-time major winner Sandy Lyle will be the star attraction when Kilspindie, celebrating its 150th anniversary, stages the World Hickory Open for the first time in October.

Lyle, winner of the event for the past two years at Carnoustie and Panmure, is set to be part of a record field of 120 amateurs and professionals at the East Lothian venue.

The October 3-4 event, which is being sponsored by LinkedGolfers magazine, is part of ‘The Hickory Festival’, which is now in its 13th year.

Luffness New, Craigielaw and Musselburgh Old Links are also involved, with the latter staging a Ryder Cup-style contest involving teams from Europe, Scandinavia and The Americas on October 6-7.

Kilspindie is excited to be staging the World Hickory Open as part of its 150th celebrations, with the club keen to embrace how golf was played when it was founded. To that end, an 18-a-side match was held earlier in the year with the British Golf Collectors Society using hickory clubs. That was followed with a 150th Anniversary Hickory Open.

“The Hickory Open represented a first for the club but hopefully it will continue as there seemed to be reasonable demand,” said Kilspindie captain John Anderson. In the second year of the club’s existence, The Earl of Wemyss & March presented Kilspindie with the County Cup to be played for amongst East Lothian clubs.

“Bearing that in mind and our superb relationship with the family, we wanted to create something which reflected that,” added Anderson. “We talked to our golfing neighbours, Craigielaw, Longniddry and Musselburgh, who share a common denominator in that we play our golf over land owned by Lord Wemyss.

“These clubs came on board and Lord Wemyss has agreed to provide a new trophy in our 150th year , which we have called The Wemyss & March Quaich. This will be played for annually in a Texas Scramble format, rotated around the four clubs/courses year on year.”

Last month saw a Medal Day, yet another first, covering all classes of the club’s membership - men, women and juniors - as well as the 150th Anniversary Dinner at the Balmoral Hotel, where the guest speakers were the Very Reverend Dr John B Cairns and former North Berwick pro David Huish.

Still to come in addition to the World Hickory Open are a mixed invitational foursomes event with members of fellow 15-year-old clubs Leven Thistle GC and St Andrews Ladies as well as a 16-man team match between Kilspindie and Aberlady golf clubs. Aberlady is a “club within the club” in that members need to live within the village environs to qualify for membership. Again, this will be a first in the club’s history, with the celebrations drawing to a close in December with the Ladies’ 150th Anniversary Lunch.

“We have tried to celebrate the past, honour the present, create some new events and have fun along the way with both our own members and members of clubs that visit us regularly,” said Anderson.

“Our members have been very enthusiastic about getting involved in all aspects and hopefully they will enjoy and talk about our “150th” with happy memories.”