Mike Heil Takes Title at 5th Foxburg


The 5th annual Foxburg Hickory Championship was held Aug. 9-10 at historic Foxburg Country Club in the hills of Western Pennsylvania, roughly an hour north of Pittsburgh. Foxburg Country Club was established in 1887, and is considered the oldest golf course in continuous use in the United States. Foxburg Country Club is also home to the American Golf Hall of Fame museum, sponsoring an exceptional collection of early golf equipment.

Foxburg Country Club is set up to play at 2,300 yards, which is perfect for the gutty ball. The course has proven to be a fair test, with small, quick greens, original cut stone tee boxes, and is a tremendous amount of fun. As with all the pre-1900 events, contestants dress in period, providing a special atmosphere to the occasion.

The Foxburg Hickory Championship is the third of the four legs of the Gutty Slam. The additional events in the Gutty Slam are the All American Hickory Open, the National Hickory Championship, and the C.B. MacDonald Classic.

The Championship also enthusiastically sponsors contestants from the First Tee of Pittsburgh. It is an excellent opportunity to nurture young golfers’ knowledge of golf history, enjoy playing with early golf equipment, and develop character by interacting with quality adults while playing hickory golf.

The primary events are the Pre-1900 Open and Senior Championships, with additional awards in Reserve, Post-1900, Members, and Junior Ladies competitions.

After the group photo, first round play was highlighted by Mike Heil’s score of 38. An exceptional score considering contestants endured a 45 minute shower in the middle of the round. After the lunch break, play resumed with scores increasing somewhat, although the weather was dry for the afternoon round.

Low scores after the first day’s play:

83        Mike Heil

83        JW McMath

86        Brian Schuman

88        Tim Flynn

88        Tom Johnson

The second day began was preceded with a morning hour of entertainment from local piper Jonathon Shegog. This was the second opportunity for Jonathon to entertain the contestants and guests at Foxburg. The sound of the pipes seems to send the group off to an uplifted, and rousing start.

Saturday was a glorious morning to play golf, clear, cool 65 degrees, and a slight breeze from the north. Mr. Heil secured an early lead and was able to hold on handily. His extraordinary final round of 79 is one of the low scores recorded in the five years of the championship. Tom Johnson completed his second day play with an 81, and finished second with a score of 169, Bill “Ernie” Ernst finished third, several shots further back.

Dave “Dog” Ellis carried off his third consecutive Senior Championship with a score of 176, Mike Henderson earned the Runner-up position, and Terry Howarth finished third.

Jim “Doc” Eike captured the Reserve Division Championship with a net score of 147, Tim Flynn finished his play as the Runner-up in the Reserve Division, J.W. McMath coming in third.

Ted Tharan played well the second day, earning Low Member honors in the Joseph Mickle Fox Division, honoring the club’s founder.

Mike Campailla, competing in his first hickory event, won the Post-1900 Fownes Division

Samantha Schumaker won the Junior Ladies Division; her sister, Shelby, finishing as Runner-up.

The tournament committee thanks the contestants and guests for visiting Foxburg, and participating in our event. The warm friendships being nurtured and extended at the various hickory events is a true pleasure.

We also would like to thank Jane Reheard for her enthusiastic support, and especially for taking the time to take photographs to preserve the history of the Foxburg Championships. I promise to make photos available soon.

The 2014 Foxburg Hickory Championship will be held August 8-9. Feel free to contact Tom Johnson @Foxburghickory@aol.com to obtain further information, or to be included on the email list.

Also, click here for an article penned by Ryan S. Pugh of the Clarion News about the Foxburg event.  “A few inaccuracies,” says Tom Johnson, “but, all in all, very nice.”