Aussie wins US Hickory Open golf

TO SAY that Alan Grieve has a passion for hickory clubs is an understatement.

The Queensland Australian native was the first person to sign up for the U.S. Hickory Open Championship and travelled more than 36 hours and nearly 10,000 miles to participate in the event at French Lick Resort in southern Indiana.
The 39-year-old captured his first hickory championship this week on the resort’s historic Donald Ross course. Grieve shot rounds of 75 – 75 for a 36-hole total of 150 and a 5-shot victory over Rick Woeckener from Fredericksburg, Va. A record field of 81 players from 27 states, as well as Canada and Australia, braved record heat (heat index of 114 on Tuesday) to compete in the fourth U.S. Hickory Open.
The travelling Aussie who plays out of the Wynnum Golf Club in Brisbane, Australia, said he’d been playing hickory clubs for a year and a half.

“I wanted to change my game and give myself a challenge,” he said. “I love playing hickory clubs. When you hit a good shot you know you hit it. It feels so pure unlike modern day clubs.” This was his second hickory tournament and his first U. S. Hickory Open.

“I had a great week and this was the best I have ever played hickory clubs in back-to-back rounds. The Donald Ross course was a perfect setting for the event, but very tough as well. You have a lot of uphill shots, which can make it very challenging for hickory clubs. It was fun and exciting.”
Alan wasn’t the only one having a great week. Dr. David Brown scored an ace on No. 16, a 133-yard par three. It was the first ace scored in USHO competition.

SoHG President Chris Deinlein was ecstatic about the large field and the international flavor that Alan brought to the event. “Having the largest field ever coming to French Lick Resort, as well as our new champion being from Australia, is a testament to the growing popularity and passion not only in America, but also around the world for hickory clubs,” he said. “We congratulate Alan for his superb play and also French Lick Resort for hosting a perfect event.”
Dave Harner, PGA director of golf for the French Lick Resorts said he was pleased that the course held up well to hickory play, which demands accurate timing. “It was fun to watch the swing tempo of the hickory players versus today’s players.”

The Donald Ross course at French Lick is no stranger to hickories. In 1924, it hosted the PGA Championship won by an early hickory master – Walter Hagen.
The U.S. Hickory Open is one of four events in a Championship Series.

Courtesy of The Society of Hickory Golfers

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Brian is an award winning golf writer and is the founder and editor of Australian Senior Golfer. He is a former Sydney journalist who had little interest in golf till he hit his first ball at the age of 49 (and a half). Since then golf has just about overtaken his life. Brian founded ASG in April 2008 and has since covered every Australian Open, Presidents Cups, World Cups and numerous other big men’s and women’s tournaments, spending days inside the ropes with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Karrie Webb, and many others. He has also played in, and reported on, numerous amateur tournaments, particularly senior and veteran events, around the country. Brian is a member of the Australian Golf Media Association and won the award for Best News Report for 2016 - 2017


  1. Great effort by Alan. I imagine the feeling of hitting for hickory clubs must be completely different to the modern day equipment. Good to see an Australian winning a tournament overseas and especially a fellow Queenslander.

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