MyNorth News Service
(Press Release provided by Wawashkamo Golf Club)
MACKINAC ISLAND: Lovers of Northern Michigan golf and Mackinac Island will find the perfect Northern Michigan event at the the Wawashkamo Golf Club on Mackinac Island, one of Michigan’s ‘Most Historic Golf Courses.’ On August 15 they will honor the history of golf with its Annual National Hickory Stick Tournament and Golf Ball Gala & Auction. Wawashkamo Golf Club has paired historic links-style golf on the site where the Battle of 1814 was fought, with a celebration of history and fundraising, all securing the future of the long time Golf Club.
Founded in 1898, and designed by Scottish golf professional from Carnoustie and two time U.S. Open winner Alex Smith, Wawashkamo Golf Club is Michigan’s longest continually operated golf course. The links-style course is noted as “One of America’s Historic Golf Landmarks” by Golf Digest and sits on Michigan’s Historic Register. Wawashkamo Golf Course is part of the Mackinac State Historic Parks.
While participation in the National Hickory Stick Tournament is limited, there’s plenty of historic fun to be had on Saturday, August 15th at the ‘Golf Ball’ Gala and Auction. Guests will be preserving the historic value of Wawashkamo Golf Club, while enjoying an evening on Mackinac Island; one filled with the pomp and pageantry of Victorian-dressed attendees, gourmet tasting stations, wine and spirits, and an unprecedented selection of Auction Items perfect for gifting and enjoying all year long. From overnight stays at many of the iconic Island Hotels, meals at famous island eateries and watering holes; to carriage tours, and a behind-the-scenes State Park-guided tour to include a priceless guided visit to the Fort served up with the world famous Pecan Nut Balls in the Tea Room. Following the live auction there’s live entertainment to celebrate Wawashkamo Golf Club. The evening event hosted by Mission Point Resort is $75 per person. While tickets are limited, they may purchased by calling Wawashkamo Golf Club at 906-857-3871 or by visiting www.wawashkamo.com. Attendees are encouraged to dress in traditional Victorian and Edwardian golf wear.
A Peek at the History of Wawashkamo
The links-style layout utilized natural hazards as opposed to artificial ones. The fairways were designed to magnify the effects of slicing the ball. Bunkers were few but strategically placed. As with the St. Andrews links, the fairways were defined not by trees but by mowed grassy areas. Narrow strips of ground were smoothed with a horse-drawn road roller driven in a line between each tee and green, and the fairway areas to the side of each strip were allowed to retain their natural rolling topography. The holes were designed with straight fairways, with no doglegs and the green directly visible from the tee. The goal of this design, at a time when the gutta-percha golf ball was played more on the ground than a modern ball is, was to deceive the golfer into thinking that it could be effortlessly rolled right up to the green. Semi-visible challenges lay in wait for anyone adopting this attitude, such as the grassy ridge of earth known as the “circus ring” which loops around the 3rd green. This feature was in place before 1921 although it was originally much higher and encircled the green without a gap.
At the time Wawashkamo was designed, one major innovation by club-makers like Alex Smith was the multiplication of golf irons and the beginnings of standardization. The old “niblicks”, “mashies” and “mid-irons” were being redefined into numbered irons contained in a cylindrical golf bag that could be carried by a caddie. Club selection thus became a key part of the game. Smith’s use of rolling terrain at Wawashkamo, as well as numerous hidden and non-hidden roughs, was homage to this new specialization of the golf iron. Smith, who knew irons because he hammered them out himself, designed the Wawashkamo course to encourage the golfer to pull every club out of the bag.
Alex Smith and Frank Rounds imported one major and enduring design element to Wawashkamo from the Scottish links pattern. The snuffbox-sized tees and exquisite, hard-to-hit greens, easier to maintain with the twelve-inch push mowers of the 1890s, remain practicable today under northern Great Lakes golfing conditions. No tees and greens meant to be played on for eight to twelve months a year could hold up to the intensive soil compaction and wear of continuous use on such small surface areas. Wawashkamo, however, was designed as a summer-only course. Ironically, this meant that it could retain its Victorian-dimension tees and greens long after most of America’s older golf courses had found it necessary to redesign them to support the more intensive golf usage patterns of the late twentieth century. As Wawashkamo celebrated its first centennial in 1998, it remained faithful to the design heritage staked out by Alex Smith in 1898.
For more Information about Historic Island Golf, special rates and events at Wawashkamo Golf Club visit www.wawashkamo.com or call (906) 847-3871.