October 2017 – Reidsville, N.C.
Over the past several years, youth interest in hickory golf has come up a notch or two. Dr. Bern Bernacki’s efforts with the First Tee of Pittsburgh has introduced several youngsters, and top players, to hickory golf as well as golf history. The National Hickory Champion annually fields several youngsters who wish to experience the gutty-era of golf. There were youngsters at the 2017 U.S. Hickory Open in Del Monte, Calif. The Autumn 2014 Wee Nip featured several young players, perhaps rising hickory stars if they stay with it.
And there is the Foxburg Hickory Championship in Foxburg, Pa. That is a favorite hickory tournament for Seth Lomison of Pfafftown, N.C., and perhaps the inspiration for he and his family – father, Matt, and mother, Tammy – to inaugurate in October 2017 the first annual Junior Hickory Classic. The event was played on Oct. 7, 2017 on the Wolfe Creek Golf Course in Reidsville, N.C. (Seth and Matt were featured on the Autumn 2015 cover of The Wee Nip.)
The following is Matt Lomison’s report on the inaugural Junior Hickory Classic.
“The JHC was started to introduce young golfers to hickory golf and the fine history that formed the game we watch on TV today. We had six contestants join us for a beautiful sunny fall day of golf and they, as well as several older hickory enthusiasts, got to meet and enjoy the company of some new friends.
“Wolfe Creek is perfect for hickories and created a perfect atmosphere that made it feel as if we all had stepped back in time. The junior players had an awesome time and learned a great deal about the history of the game and what it was like to play with the clubs of yesteryear. This event would not have happened without the gracious generosity of those within the great community of hickory golfers. Several of these young people were able to play on scholarship and they all had sets of post-1900 clubs to enjoy for the day. Several of these young people expressed the need for more opportunities like this. As winter is coming on us those of us who are regulars at the Foxburg Hickory Championship encourage all of you to participate in 2018’s National Hickory Golf Day and think about taking some of those extra clubs with you as well as a young person to enjoy the day.
“Thanks to Bob Ubbing for coming out and investing his time with two youngsters. Their lives were much enriched thanks to his patience in teaching them about golf history and hickory golf.
“As for the kids, they had a great time to judge from their smiles and enthusiasm. Even though Gavin Ingle was champion for his division, he most enjoyed talking about the stymie he put on my ball on the 17th green. Thinking he had me blocked, Gavin was amazed when I took a niblick for the stroke, then proceeded to pop the ball up and into the cup.
“As for Katie Moore, here was a young lady who did not cotton to the old names of the clubs. She renamed them to her own tastes. The driver became ‘the big one.’ Her AJ Spalding mid iron was renamed ‘little dot.’ And the niblick became ‘chubby.’
“Evan Nagy summed up the feelings of our young field when asked what he liked most about playing hickory golf. ‘I really enjoy playing hickory golf more than playing with modern clubs because playing with hickories is more about camaraderie than it is the competition.’
“The Lomison’s thank all who made club donations, monetary donations, and gave their time to this event. It is the kindness of these generous people that has enriched these young lives and made a great stride in preserving the game we hold so dear to our lives.”
For more about how you can help encourage and support the Junior Hickory classic, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos follow the results.
Age 12-15 Boys
Champion: Luke Crouse
1st runner up: Evan Nagy
Adult playing companions: Seth Lomison and Carl Nagy
Age 9-11 Boys
Champion: Gavin Ingle
1st runner up: Nicholas Meadows
2nd runner up: Parker Bono
Adult playing companion for Parker and Nicholas: Bob Ubbing
Girls Champion: Katie Moore
Adult playing companion for Gavin and Katie: Matt Lomison