THE GOG BLOGS FALL CLASSICS-PITTSBURGH FIELD CLUB

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DSC03179 The elevator off of 17 green DS

Tired after 17 holes and need a lift. The elevator at the Pittsburgh Field Club will provide one.

If there was ever a golf course that could give you and your game a lift, the Pittsburgh Field Club is it.

The Gog Blog visited the PFC on a 36 hole day in Pittsburgh, fall of 2014. What a stellar day of golf it was. This  is Part 2 of Pittsburgh area golf, a part of the country that is 6 months away from hosting the U.S. Open at the Oakmont Country Club.

The Pittsburgh Field Club has a history that dates back to the 1870’s. A group of Pittsburgh area businessmen that were mostly of British decent, decided it was time for a club that would be a place for people to enjoy the game of cricket, as golf was not yet popular in America. As a result the Pittsburgh Cricket Club was founded on April 1st (no joke) in 1882.

DSC03185 PFC Clubhouse from 1st tee DS

The clubhouse from the first tee at Pittsburgh Field Club.

The club was originally part of the borough of Bruston, but was later annexed by the city of Pittsburgh.

In addition to cricket the club soon became the place to go for archery, tennis, croquet, bicycling and track and field.

By 1886 the club reorganized and became the Pittsburgh Field Club, in 1895 as interest in cricket was fading and golf was growing, three holes were built on the property.

After 1900 when interest in golf started to take hold and more land was needed, the club decided to purchase 171 acres of land in an area that was less populated, and did so in the Fox Chapel area in 1915. Alexander Findlay who is known as the father of American Golf, volunteered to design the 18 hole golf course.

DSC03186 Pittsburgh Field Club 1st hole DS

The opening tee shot comes from an elevated tee box. The first hole at the Pittsburgh Field Club.

It didn’t take long before another name in American golf came along to rework some holes, Donald Ross.

Ross wasn’t the last big name architect to come along over the years to work at the field club. A.W. Tillinghast, Willie Park Jr., Emil Loeffler, John McGlynn, Bill Irvin, Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills, Craig Schreiner, Tripp Davis, and most recently in 2012 Keith Foster.

The clubhouse had some renovation work done as well that wasn’t planned. The original clubhouse burned down in 1924 and a new one was built in 1925, with additions and modifications starting in 1959 and continuing over the years.

DSC03177 Pittsburgh Field Club par 3 14th DS

The downhill Par 3, 14th hole at PFC.

The recent bunker renovation by Foster and other tweaks to the course, have brought the club back into the spotlight.

Normally overshadowed by it’s just up the street neighbor Fox Chapel Golf Club, the Field Club can now join the picture of top clubs in the Pittsburgh area.

The opening tee shot provides one of the best opening views of any course in American golf. While there is no official distance given, the height of the first tee allows the golfer to see for miles. The fourth hole is a great short par 3 hole, that plays only 135 yards from the tips.

DSC03184 PFC par 3 18th DS

The Par 3, 215 yard 18th hole that runs alongside the clubhouse.

You can make an argument that the par 3, holes are the backbone of the club. All four of them are solid.

In fact not many clubs in America can finish with par 3 hole and get away with it.

The par 3 18th hole plays only 215 yards, but this solid design that blends into the side of the high point of the clubs property, falls off sharply left and leave the golfer with a demanding chip shot if the tee shot misses the green. The 18th hole is played after one of the great walks and rides in golf. When done with the 17th hole, golfers who are walking or wish to walk to the 18th tee, can ride the elevator from down in the valley, and take the walkway out to the tee box. For more photo’s of this, see Rory Spears on Facebook and or GogBlogGuy on Twitter.

The course has five sets of tee’s and plays from 6,783 yards, to the front tees of 5,290.

The Pittsburgh Field Club is located at 121 Field Club Road in Pittsburgh. The club house can be reached (412)-963-8500.

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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.