By Greg Johnson
Historic Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix, Michigan, which has hosted an annual hickory event since 2006, has been selected by the Board of Directors of the Society of Hickory Golfers to host the 2019 U.S. Hickory Open.
The premier hickory golf tournament, which will take place at Belvedere on June 20 through June 22, 2019, annually attracts an international field of golfers who play with authentic pre-1935 hickory shafted golf clubs. Competitors dress in period appropriate apparel, including knickers, ties and jackets. The Society of Hickory Golfers, or SoHG, is an organization dedicated to the celebration and promotion of the hickory-era of the 1910s-to-1930s golfing experience and play.
“The club is very excited about it,” said Dennis “Marty” Joy II, the head golf professional at Belvedere and a competitor in society tournaments. “Here, at Belvedere, we have the most hickory society golfers of any club in the country. We have 44 men and women who are members here who play with authentic hickory golf clubs. They are very excited we are hosting the U.S. Hickory Open and a lot of our members will be playing in it.”
The Belvedere Hickory Open is considered one of the four hickory major championships. It will not be presented in 2019 since the Open—the premiere championship in the world for hickory golfers—is coming to the Charlevoix-based club.
“I think it was just a matter of time for Belvedere to host the U.S. Hickory Open,” Joy said. “Having our restoration finished last year when a lot of the golfers came for the Belvedere Hickory Open allowed them to see some of the changes. Belvedere also takes care of the players and I think they feel like members for the weekend. The hospitality and the charm of Charlevoix played a role.”
Board members and organizers of the U.S. Hickory Open felt the combined history of Belvedere’s hosting of tournaments, hospitality of its club members, outstanding golf course, and the beautiful landscape of the Charlevoix area “more than compensate” for a few extra miles traveled, according to the SoHG press release.
Belvedere’s course, which allows some public play during the golf season, was established in 1925 and designed by renowned golf course architect William Watson. It has been recognized as one of the best golf courses in the Midwest, and is best known for hosting 40 Michigan Amateur Championships. It will also host the 2025 Michigan Amateur during Belvedere’s centennial year.
In 2016, the original hand-drawn architectural plans by William Watson were discovered and the club has spent the past two years restoring the golf course to its original design of 1925.
The 2018 U.S. Hickory Open in slated for September in Greensboro, N.C. at Sedgefield Country Club.