The Foxburg Country Club clubhouse
By Tom Johnson
The seventh Foxburg Hickory Championship was held Aug. 14-15 at the near-ancient Foxburg Country Club in Western Pennsylvania. Foxburg was created in 1887, and maintains many of its original features.
The weather was perfect for golf, sunny skies, cool temperatures in the morning, warming up to the low 80s by the time the rounds were completed.
Despite the stressful weather for the season, the course was in great shape, and as usual, was the star of the show. Catered lunches both days, pre-1900 museum on the premises, and the large clubhouse porch help make the event a success. Spouses and guests enjoyed trips to the local winery, and visiting boutique shops in the region.
To the golf:
The Open Division required play with the Park gutty provided by the McIntyre Golf Company, as well as the use of sand tees. We have taken the liberty to describe some of the play in this division.
Competition was keen among the primary contenders. JW McMath (New Philadelphia, Ohio) held the first round lead with 83, followed by Jay Harris (Pinehurst, N.C.), Tom Johnson (Tallmadge, Ohio) with 84, Seth Lomison (Winston-Salem, N.C.), with 86 (39 on his second nine).
After the first nine of the second day play McMath kept his steady play, but Harris had gained a shot and pulled even, Lomison and Johnson two strokes back.
The first few holes of back nine was nip and tuck between the seasoned Harris and upstart McMath for the first few holes. Things began to fall McMath’s way on his 30th hole (Hill, a 374 yard, 3-shotter). He rolled in a nice putt for a 4 to a 6 for Harris.
Lomison picked up three shots on the leader with a birdie 4 on the 31st hole, followed by an eagle on the 32nd hole (Ten Strike, 418 yards), where he holed a lofter from 80 yards for a three. After this, he was within three of the leader.
McMath held his 3-shot lead through his 15th hole (Putter’s Grief 143 yards), but Lomison made a fine four to McMath’s five on Sheol, their 16th hole. McMath’s lead was now two strokes, with two holes left in the Championship.
Both gentlemen made four on the one shotter, Chestnut Tree, with McMath maintaining his 2-stroke lead into the 36th hole. Harris and Johnson basically out of contention, a few shots further back, had become as spectators.
The 36th hole, Baseball, as noted above, is 311 yards, uphill,o maybe the smallest green you will ever see – smaller than the teeing area. Lomison hitting first, both players hit solid tee shots. McMath’s second shot kicked five yards left of the green, flag high. Lomison struck a fine iron onto the green, maybe 18 feet from the hole. McMath lofted a pitch on the green, nine feet from the hole.
At this point, Lomison has a makeable putt for 3, and with McMath needing his 9-foot putt for 4, the two-shot swing Lomison needed to force a playoff was certainly a possibility.
The young golfer lined up his putt, and rolled a beauty, just a little on the high side, which failed to drop, but a grand effort. McMath lagged his putt to within a few inches of the hole, tapped in, and a one-stroke victory was his, 166 to 167, with Lomison taking runner-up honors.
The Senior Division was equally competitive. Contestants were permitted to use the pre-1900 style ball of their choice. Champion honors were captured by Mike Henderson with 171, Ron Taylor was Runner-up with 175, followed by Dave ‘Dog’ Ellis with 176.
Super Senior Champion was Jay Harris with a fine score of 168 using the Park ball. Charles Mitchell (Lexington, Ky.) was Super Senior Runner-up with 169, followed by Dan Norstedt (Eau Claire, Wisc.) with 175.
Mike Campailla (Mogadore, Ohio) was the Fownes Division (Post-1900) Champion again this year. Bob Georgiade (Durham, N.C.) earned top Reserve honors, with Greg Smith (DeForest, Wisc.) and Jim Koss (Green Bay, Wisc.) finishing second and third respectively.
See below for a table of the full results.
Additional notes: Jeff “Tex” Texter, Keeper of the Foxburg Green, brought out an early greens mower for us to gawk at and talk about. It was a push reel mower, and looked as if still would work (photo below). Tex has been at Foxburg since 1977, with his father tending to the course prior to him taking over.
An added bonus at Foxburg is use of the original cut stone sand tee boxes from which the player can take a pinch of sand to tee his/her ball properly.
Karen and I would like to thank everyone who took the time and made the effort to attend the seventh Foxburg Hickory Championship. We enjoyed seeing everyone again, and look forward to seeing you soon. The eighth Championship is scheduled for Aug. 12-13, 2016.
Gutty golf, the most difficult golf you could ever play, with the best friends you could ever meet.
A display of clubs in the Foxburg clubhouse.
Foxburg greenkeeper Jeff Texter with the old green mower, c. 1945… or so.