Hall of Fame museums are quite common for American sports. Whether it’s the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Football Hall of Fame, or even the Billiards Hall of Fame, there’s a sports hall of fame for everyone. But did you know that Pennsylvania is home to a sports Hall of Fame?
That’s right. Tucked away above the Allegheny River in a quiet corner of Clarion County is the American Golf Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in the clubhouse of the Foxburg Country Club and Golf Course, America’s oldest continually operating golf course, built in 1887 by local cricket player Joseph Mickle Fox.
Fox had been in Europe playing cricket with his club from Philadelphia when he was taught golf by St. Andrew’s golf pro and four-time British Open winner, Tom Morris, Sr, better known to golfers as “Old Tom Morris”. When he returned, he decided he needed to bring this European sport to western Pennsylvania.
Because of its distinction as the oldest continually operating golf course in the nation, Foxburg Country Club is a logical place for the American Golf Hall of Fame. However, the museum isn’t a traditional Hall of Fame. For example, there aren’t any inductees as far as I can tell; they leave that to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida. Instead, the American Golf Hall of Fame at the Foxburg Country Club is more of a golf history museum.
The museum features a fantastic, but rather small, collection of old golf clubs, balls, and other golf equipment. I was quite interested to see that some of the golf balls they have are quite old, including a feather golf ball that dates back to the mid-18th century.
They also showcase golf clubs that were made by many legendary makers, including Fox’s mentor, Old Tom Morris. There are even golf clubs used by some early American golfers, including Water J Travis, one of America’s most successful amateur golfers.
Truthfully, I’m not really a fan of golf. I’ve only played a handful of times and to say that I’m not very good is an understatement. However, being a lover of history, I can appreciate the American Golf Hall of Fame and found it interesting to learn how golf has changed over the years.
If you are a golf fan, though, I can definitely see this being a fascinating place to visit. Even better, once you’ve had a look around, play a round of golf on this historic golf course to get a true feel for the Foxburg Country Club.
American Golf Hall of Fame
Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am-6pm, Saturday: 8am-6pm
Address: 369 Harvey Road