National Hickory Open
BELVEDERE PLAYS HOST TO NATIONAL U.S. HICKORY OPEN EVENT
Charlevoix, MI – Golfers tend to feel a deep connection to the sport’s storied history. The passion for golf’s roots runs particularly deep among the growing number of throwbacks who, for fun and to feel linked to the past, play hickory-shafted golf clubs from the early 20th century.
Just ask former winner Rick Woeckener, who won two U.S. Hickory Open Championship at the historic Belvedere Golf Club.
“It was a great honor. There's a lot of good players who play with hickory clubs,” said Woeckener. “Belvedere is the best course I have played for the U.S. Hickory Open and the greens are as good as any course I have played in Scotland.”
Woeckener, who is from Ohio, was introduced to hickory clubs by his father when he was young. Now he finds himself winning and walking the same course as legends like Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, and Tom Watson.
“It's a similar feeling when you find these historic clubs and play with them. You wonder who might have had this club or hit this club. Walking in the footsteps of these great players on this historic course and winning with these clubs is really special,” continued Woeckener.
The U.S. Hickory Open annually attracts an international field of golfers who play with antique pre-1935 hickory shafted golf clubs or authentic replica hickory clubs. Belvedere is the only club in the U.S. to have as many as 44 antique hickory club players. Competitors dressed in period appropriate apparel, including knickers, ties and jackets. The Society of Hickory Golfers celebrates and promotes the hickory game of the 1910s – 1930s. Conservative estimates of the total number of hickory players in the world now total about 3,000 and growing.
Dennis “Marty” Joy II, the head golf professional at Belvedere and an annual competitor in the U.S. Hickory Open, says the club couldn’t be happier with how the event is presented at Belvedere.
“Belvedere, with its history and classic parkland design by Willie Watson, is the perfect venue for hickory players”, said Joy. “We already hold an annual hickory tournament, so having the Society of Hickory Golfers national Open and marquee event was a natural for us.”