Rick Woeckener is a U.S. Hickory Open Champion for the second time. His latest title happened this weekend at the Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix, Michigan, located along the shores of Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan.
“This is a great honor. There’s a lot of good players in this field, and I’m just happy that I played well enough to win,” 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 shot rounds of 75-78 for a 36-hole total of 153 in the gross division edging out Peter Lory and Taylor Jones. Rounding out the other division winners were William Ernst in the Senior Division, Michael Shiff in the Super Senior Division, and Kate Tomkinson in the Ladies Division.
Woeckener, from Ohio, was introduced to hickory clubs by his father when he was young. Now after 13 years, 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.