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Denny Olson on how to master the featherie swing

Denny Olson was first introduced to hickory in 2011 by his long-time friend and golf partner Mark Larson, who had gathered some "common" hickories and said, “Let's try this.” Denny recalls, “We had a ball. I had a rather spectacular chip in for birdie on the 9th hole and I was hooked.” The following year, they attended their first tournament, The Heart of America in Des Moines and the hook was set.


Denny has only played hickory clubs since then, from Phoenix to St Andrew's, and from Wisconsin to the Florida Keys. Connor Lewis introduced him to gutty in 2013 when he moved his All-American Hickory Open to the Arsenal course in Rock Island. He was introduced to feathered golf in 2018. Today, he enjoy all three phases of the game.


Denny has now moved into club-making and has made nearly 20 feathery- and gutty-era clubs in the last year. For the last several years, he has been co-hosting and directing The Mid American Hickory Open with George Burgland in Galesburg, Illinois. “Doing that is one way of ‘giving back’ to the people and game that have become an important part of my life,” Denny says. “The people have been an essential part of the journey. Making new friends and sharing this game has been life-changing, and I am grateful for it.”


In the following article, Denny offers advice on how to enjoy greater success when swinging a long-nosed club.



“It can be said that a downward blow that compresses the ball—a mantra often preached for modern golf—would be counterproductive and could damage the ball. Using a sweeping swing: think 3 wood or fairway spoon shot.


“I’ve found it is more important to know where the sweet spot is on the wider club face. To be sure, hold the club at the end of the shaft with a thumb and forefinger. With the club hanging, tap the face with the forefinger of your other hand. If the club swings straight back, you’ve hit the sweet spot. It it twists left or right, you haven’t.


“Also be aware that fairway shots may at times require you to choke down on the grip to adjust for a proper lie.”

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