LEESBURG — Tippecanoe Lake Country Club’s Legacy Cup was established to honor a different, longtime member each year. And so with an eye to club history, tournament organizers decided to try something a little different at this year’s tournament, using traditional equipment that harkened back to the course’s origins in 1926.
“We got the idea from a member of ours named Luke Baker, who participated in a tournament like this. He brought the idea to me and our golf chairman, Bob Miller, and then we ended up bringing it to the golf committee, and we decided to try it this year for the first time,” explained course pro Brock Wicker.
“Last year was our first year for the Legacy Cup. It is to honor a member — most of them are usually passed so far — that’s been a long term member in good standing. This year we added a little twist to it and put in the hickory clubs,” said Miller.
This year’s Legacy Cup was held in honor of Donald Frantz, an avid golfer and Tippecanoe Lake CC member for over half a century before his passing at the age of 92 in March. Golfers used traditional equipment at Saturday’s second annual event — two sets of six, hickory-shafted clubs to be shared by each foursome, as well as Ouimet-style golf balls provided by the McIntyre Golf Company. They teed off of small sand mounds as golfers did in the early days of the sport, and, in the spirit of nostalgia, many participants came to the course decked out in knickers and other, assorted traditional regalia.
The old-timey equipment certainly made Saturday’s tournament more challenging, but the twist added some fun to the play, too.
“It’s quite a bit different because the clubs today are a lot more forgiving,” said Miller. “We played with an old-style golfball as well so instead of the dimples being on the inside, they were on the outside with these balls, so that was a little bit different. It was just kind of hit-and-miss as far as how far you would hit different irons and so forth. I didn’t even use my laser that I normally use here. It was just like ‘Oh, I’m just going to try to hit this to the pin or to the green.’”
“It’s just difficult because the golf ball is just obviously a lot different; the clubs with the wooden shafts don’t allow the golf ball to go as far. There’s really no groove to where you can generate any spin on shots,” echoed Wicker, but added “We’re having a blast. It’s really fun.”
Saturday’s tourney was a four-man scramble, featuring a two-best ball, modified Stableford format. Net Eagles on each hole were scored as four points, birdies added three points to a team score, while pars counted plus-two toward a team’s total, and net bogeys were scored plus-one. The team of Rob and Ross Kesler, Craige Westover and Wesley Whisler took home the cup with a score of 79, a single point ahead of the foursome of Ed and Mike Wiley and David and Jeremy Ash. Hoyt Neal, Jim Feick and Terry and Trent Ayres placed third with a score of 71 at the 10-team tourney.
The course was prepared to provide enough hickory clubs and balls for 15 teams, but the 40-golfer turnout was still pretty good for the first year of the old-time format, said Miller, and he expects an even better crowd at next year’s event.
“I thought it was pretty good for the first time having this event in this format,” he said. “Obviously, I’d like to have seen it full, but I think next year it will probably be full because everybody had a good time that I talked to on the course. It was fun.”
“This place was established in 1926, and we’re just trying to come up with an innovative way to increase member participation in our men’s golf tournaments, so this was a good way for us to try to market something different,” Wicker explained.
“Thanks to my golf committee for being onboard with this kind of innovative idea — to bring hickory clubs like there were when the course first opened. Everything is kind of event-driven nowadays. In golf people are so busy, you have to have an event to kind of draw their attention.”