FOXBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – When you think of golf in the United States, places like Augusta National and Pebble Beach usually come to mind. In Clarion County, there is a golf course with a connection to the home of golf, Scotland.
Along the banks of the Allegheny River, the small borough of Foxburg was an oil and gas town back in the 1800s. In 1874 Joseph Mickel Fox, the grandson of the borough’s founder, traveled to England for a series of cricket matches.
During the trip, Fox visited The Old Course at St Andrew’s and befriended Scottish golfer Old Tom Morris, one of the game’s greatest pioneers who designed clubs, golf balls, and courses, and also helped create The Open.
Morris made Fox a set of clubs that he brought back to Pennsylvania and in 1884 Fox had an eight-hole golf course at his estate. In 1887 he started to build a course designed after Saint Andrews that is now known as Foxburg Country Club.
In those days the game was limited to the wealthy who played in suits and dresses, but a lot has changed in 135 years. Now, the nine hole Foxburg Country Club, the oldest in the United States, is open to the public.
With some of the tiniest greens probably in the country, it’s only 3400 yards for the nine holes. There are two sets of tees so you play it twice and you get your 18 holes.
“It has some unique features of the mounds in front of number seven,” said Ron Foust, a member of Foxburg Country Club, “and they have the big sand traps on a couple of the holes.”
Tom Johnson came from Ohio to play the course using old fashion clubs with sheepskin grips and no lines on the club face.
“It’s absolutely the proper place to use them it’s one of the few places in this country that was available for that type of equipment pre-1900 equipment.”
Inside the clubhouse in the American Golf Hall of Fame with a variety of golf balls and clubs that were made by Old Tom Morris.
“This is where golf in the United States began, so it’s very historical,” said member Dick Leavy. “When you think of that fact this is where it started.”