THE GOG BLOG’S FALL CLASSICS-FOX CHAPEL GOLF CLUB

DSC05850 MCQ's ariel 1 DSDSC05824 MCQ's Dome range DSDSC05781 McWethy's bar DS   McQ’s Dome on Rt.53 in Bolingbrook, your all in one entertainment center. Golf Dome, OTB to play the horses, and sports bar to enjoy your favorite food and beverages while watching the big games, including the Bears and the Blackhawks today. For more information see McQ’sDome.com or McQ’sBar.com. You can call (630)-739-7600. Don’t forget that McWethy’s Tavern at Mistwood Golf Club is open McWethysTavern.com, or call (815)-254-7001, also showing the Bears and Blackhawks games today.                     ______________________________________________________________________

DSC03287 Rory at Shinnecock DS

The Gog Blog Chicago’s #1 Online Golf News Source by Rory Spears, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy. By the 9th green at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island.

Welcome to a new Gog Blog segment called fall classics. No it’s not the World Series of Golf, but it is a recap of some fall rounds of golf I’ve played over the last couple of years.

There are some courses that are treat to play anytime of year, there are more that are really special to play in the fall time of year for several reasons. One they aren’t as crowded, two the weather is nice, a little cool maybe but not cold and not a scorcher from summer heat.

In the fall depending on where you play, the colors from that time year but a course in a whole new light. Hopefully you don’t spend all day looking for your ball in the leaves, or invoking the leaf rule. If the course is not crowded, it can just be a pleasant walk where you get lost in your thoughts or maybe your game kicks in after a long summer of adjusting to new equipment or a series lessons from the pro. Either way most golf purists will tell you that fall golf is best the time of the year to play.

DSC03166 Club house at Fox Chapel DS

The club house at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh, picture from the first tee box.

In the next couple of weeks, I hope you enjoy our series of fall classics. Our winter special of “Great Golf on Cold Day” will return when the temps really start falling and the snow we still don’t have starts to pile up. RS.

Pittsburgh area golf, Part 1. Pittsburgh area golf. In 2016 when the U.S. Open comes to Oakmont Country Club, all the other golf action in town will be at Fox Chapel or it’s neighbor down the street the Pittsburgh Field Club. As you will see, all the great golf in Pittsburgh is not at Oakmont.

DSC03169 Fox Chapel par 4 5th DS

The Par 4, 5th hole is called “Cape”. Not a long hole, but strategy is involved.

It was 1923 when a group of men from the Pittsburgh area decided it was time to find land for a new golf club. the group of 50 quickly raised $152,000 on the first night. Land had been found in a valley that was just what the group of 50 had hoped to find.

Work started in May of 1923 on the golf course by architect Seth Raynor who was know for his work at National Golf Links on Long Island. As a result many of the Fox Chapel have features similar to holes at National. Alden and Harlow were the architects who designed the clubhouse.

DSC03171 Fox Chapel 12th hole par 3 Short DS

From an elevated tee box, the par 3 11th hole called “Short” just 155 from the tips, is one of the great par 3’s anywhere.

Due to poor weather conditions, it took until June 13th of 1925 for the course to be opened. On the date a four-ball match was played.

Based on cost estimates the club elected to spend not more than $120,000 to build the cost. But when it was done, the cost was $220,000. But the course was found to be good, and well liked by the membership.

It didn’t long for the clubhouse to be deemed to small, and most of it was torn down for a bigger structure. No sooner than the clubhouse was completed on Memorial Day of 1931, than revenue shortages hit the club because of the depression.

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The par 4 15th hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club.

The clubhouse has remained mostly the same over the years, with a few additions over the years. The latest addition and work being done was during our visit in 2014, that did include work on the pro shop.

In time both tennis and swimming became part of the club, including a shooting lodge in 1927. The lodge was re constructed in 1989.

In the mid-1990’s architect Brian Silva was brought in to work with the clubs green-committee to restore much of Raynor’s original intent for the course. The club served as host for the Curtis Cup in 2002, and in 2012-2013-2014 it was home to the Senior Players Championship, and was very well received by the players in the field all three years.

DSC03174 Biarritz 17 par 3 DS

One great par 3 deserves another. The par 3, 17th hole at Fox Chapel is a Biarritz style green. It plays a solid 231 from the tips with bunkers left and right, hitting the green with your tee shot is not enough if your on the wrong side of the green from where the pin is located.

What will come next in terms of a tournament for the club is unknown as of now.

But if Fox Chapel wants to hold another tournament of championship again in the future you can bet that the USGA or another golf organization will come calling.

Golfers from the Midwest who have played or been to clubs like Shore Acres north of Chicago or the Blue Mound Golf Club in the west suburbs of Milwaukee, will understand the design of Fox Chapel.

The course is one of the great classic challenges in the sport today, and has been ranked on many Top 100 lists by various publications over the years. For more information on this great historic club visit Foxchapelgolfclub.org.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.