Florida Pro Wins U.S. Pro Hickory Championship

A Florida pro won the 2012 U.S. Professional Hickory Golf Championship at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club in February. Beautiful weather and great competition. 

Eddie Peckels, 2012 U.S. Professional Hickory champ, left, and Mike Stevens,

event founder, pose with an early Ford automobile in front of the Temple

Terrace Golf and Country Club. 

Eddie Peckels, playing out of Tuscawilla Country Club in Winter Springs, Florida took the honors at the United States Professional Hickory Golf Championship played Feb. 20 at the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club in Temple Terrace, Fla. The tournament honoring the memory of John Shippen, America’s first golf pro, is played at the course which also hosted the Florida Open in 1925. The Tom Bendelow-designed course remains true to its original design and plays at 6,400 yards. All participants used wood shafted golf.

Aided by an eagle 2 when he holed out his mashie from the fairway on hole number 12, Peckels finished with a 76 to tie Temple Terrace head professional Jim Garrison. Garrison had to retire due to an injury and was unable to participate in a playoff and conceded the championship to Peckels. Mike Stevens of Tampa, the tournament director, finished in third place, two shots back at 78. A double bogey on the 14th hole cost Stevens a shot at the title.

Peckels won $1,500 from the $5,000 purse. This year’s field included two female professionals, Jennifer Cully of Apollo Beach and Alice Brown of Tampa. The tournament is open to all golf professionals, male and female.

The United States Professional Hickory Golf Championship was originated by Mike Stevens, teaching pro at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa to preserve and remember golf as it was played in the early years of the sport in America. The Temple Terrace course provides an historically accurate setting for competitors to play exactly like the early pros who started it all.