Well that was fun, right?

Despite some cool weather and brief sprinkles, the 2nd Annual Winter Park Hickory Classic went off without a hitch and everybody seemed to enjoy the one-day, 18 hole format. Maybe we’ll keep it in place for next year! Let’s talk about winners shall we?

On the Ladies side (left to right), it was Marci Likens taking the 1st Place Open Award, with Natalie Wells grabbing 1st Place Reserve and Beth Chambers winning 2nd Place Reserve.

On the Men’s side in the Open Division (left to right), it was Will Peterson (71) followed by Gil Feagin (73) and Joe Foguth (75). In the Reserve Division, Tom McCrary took 1st Place honors in a scorecard playoff over Dave Webster (below) and Dan Capaz was only one stroke behind in 3rd place.

Panel 1

2021 Winer Park Hickory Classic – Recap & Photos

There were clouds when we started and more clouds when we stopped. In between, there was a little bit of rain, some cool breezes and a whole lot of great golf! A full field of 44 ladies and gents teed off to play two nine-hole rounds at the increasingly legendary Winter Park Golf Course (aka, the WP9). Most people walked and in between rounds, enjoyed a truly fabulous lunch catered by Ghost Kitchen Orlando. After the scores were posted and the winners announced, everyone got to pick up a WPHC ball marker and a lovely tee gift from Will Jacoby from Steurer & Jacoby.

Big thanks to all those who attended, Jake and Maddy for scoring and the staff at WP9 for helping to make this a great day amid an ongoing pandemic. Below are photos taken by Greg and Beverly Wise and Rich Grula. You can find our full collection of photos here. If you have photos from the event you’d like to share, send them to grula@pobox.com. Feel free to download for personal but please do not use any photos in publications without seeking permission.

Thanks from the WPHC Committee (Bill, Rich, Marci, Natalie and Mike)


Panel 2

The Course

“The Winter Park Golf Course, or WP9 as the locals now call it, is one of the most unique models for municipal golf in America. A round of golf at the WP9 will take you across streets, around a cemetery, and right up to the front porch of some of the most charming homes in Florida. The course has always been memorable for its setting, but a recent renovation has resulted in a world class golf experience that every golfer should visit. I spent a day at the Winter Park Golf Course and my experience was a revelation.” Jay Revell, Medium Magazine

The Winter Park Golf Course traces its origins to 1914 when Harley A. Ward and Dow George were commissioned to lay out a 9-hole course on 25 acres at the north end of Winter Park, a charming little suburb of Orlando created as a haven for snowbirds seeking more hospitable temperatures in the cold months.

Over the years, the course grew to as many as 27 holes, closed, became a sheep pasture, reopened and eventually settled into the current nine-hole layout. For a long time, it was a gentle, flat track known locally as “The Old Man Walking Course.” It lost so much money every year that there was a serious effort to turn it into a frisbee golf course (Personal Note: I actually saw the equipment for this potential change in the back of the pro shop. Thankfully, the items were never installed).

In 2015 Winter Park officials took a bold step. They ignored the advice of developers hungry to replace the course with more homes and instead invested $1.2 million in a renovation. Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns, a pair of associate designers for Coore-Crenshaw, won the bidding and stepped out as course architects for the very first time. The revitalized Winter Park Golf Course, opened in 2016, has been a spectacular success since Day One. It’s showcased constantly as one of the best nine-hole layouts in the country and has become an inspiring model of what a successful municipal course can be. Instead of losing six figures a year, it generates healthy profits, enjoys 40,000 rounds annually and is a source of great community pride. Also…it’s a lot of fun to play!

The Winter Park Golf Course is located at 561 West Webster Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. The Pro Shop phone number is (407) 599-3419.

Panel 3

Local Tips (Golf & Dining)

The Tournament Committee consisted of Rich Grula, Natalie Wells, Marci Likens and Bill Geisler (left to right) with Dennis James and Mike Stevens missing from the above photo.

Let’s start with other hickory-friendly golf courses in the area.

DUBSDREAD GOLF COURSE
Dubsdread has been Orlando’s home golf course since 1924. It’s set on a rolling Florida layout between the houses of the College Park neighborhood. It looks easy, but it’s not. Lots of open fronts for rolling approach shots. The Tap Room is a great bar restaurant right off the practice putting green.

MT. DORA GOLF CLUB
Mount Dora Golf Club is billed as “the longest 5,700 yards in Florida,” which is high praise for this par 70, 88 acre challenge with both down and uphill lies, to keep the best golfers on their toes.  Not fancy, but lots of fun and always reasonably priced.

PINECREST GOLF CLUB (Avon Park)
A mostly unrenovated Donald Ross gem located about 90 miles southwest of the WP9. Not a cookie-cutter Florida course. Very good club restaurant.

DINING OPTIONS
Winter Park has a lot of great restaurants. Here are a few we recommend.

  • THE COUP – Comfort food and Southern fare from the folks that brought us 4 River Smokehouse
  • 4 RIVERS SMOKEHOUSE – probably the best place for smoked meats in Winter Park. The Fairbanks Ave. branch is on the way for anyone who has to get on I-4 to go home.
  • BOSPHOROUS TURKISH CUISINE – Amazing Turkish food. Lots of outdoor seating on Park Ave.
  • THE RAVENOUS PIG – An American gastropub with a large outdoor beer garden/dinning area.
  • ANTONIO’S – Italian & pizza in nearby Maitland. Upstairs is fancy, downstairs and outside casual.
  • OLEA MEDITERRANEAN GRILL – Imagine a Mediterranean version of Chipotle. Easy, tasty and casual.

Panel 4

2020 Results

It was three glorious days of fun enjoyed by all. You should have been there! The weather was wonderful, the food was fabulous and the course was unusually difficult, with tricky pin placement courtesy of the event director, Bill Geisler. Just check out the scores below!

You can view and download photos of the event by heading over here.

THE FINAL RESULTS
The event was three 9 hole rounds with a par 35, or par 105 for the entire event. Players could only win in one division with the Open Division Results taking priority.

In addition to the results below, Richard Boggs won the event’s CAREER ROUND AWARD with a 28 (-7). The CAREER ROUND combined his best scores for each hole over all three rounds.

MEN’S OPEN DIVISIONScoresPar = 105
1Tim Anderson109 (+4)1st Place
2Erik Fretland114 (+9)2nd Place
3Jim Wilhelm120 (+15)3rd Place
T4Mike Stevens121 (+16)
T4David Webster121 (+16) 
6Frank Flood121 (+16)
7Richard Boggs125 (+20) 
T8Tom McCrary127 (+22)
T8Ross McLean127 (+22)
10Mike Tracy133 (+28)
T11David Dunigan136 (+31)
T11Brian Schuman136 (+31)
T11David Shultz136 (+31)
T14Craig Coy137 (+32)
T14Jim Davis137 (+32) 
T14Rich Grula137 (+32)
17Ben Bernacki139 (+34)
18Matt Hardisty142 (+37)
19Tad Moore143 (+38)
20Gunnar Eriksson145 (+40)
21JJ Jackson147 (+42)
Wally ArmstrongW/D
Rick EldridgeW/D
Will PetersonW/D
MEN’S NET DIVISIONScores
T1Richard Boggs110 (+5)1st Place Net 
T1Erik Fretland110 (+5)  
T3Tim Anderson112 (+7)  
T3David Webster112 (+7)2nd Place Net 
5Jim Davis113 (+8)3rd Place Net 
6Jim Wilhelm117 (+12)  
T7Ross McLean118 (+13)
T7David Shultz118 (+13)
9Frank Flood119 (+14)
10Mike Stevens124 (+19)
T11Craig Coy125 (+20)
T11Rich Grula125 (+20)
T11Tad Moore125 (+20)
T14Tom McCrary127 (+22)
T14David Dunigan127 (+22)
T14Gunnar Eriksson127 (+22)
17Mike Tracy128 (+23)
18JJ Jackson135 (+30)
T19Ben Bernacki136 (+31)
T19Matt Hardisty136 (+31)
21Brian Schuman139 (+34)
LADIESOpenNet
Natalie Wells130 (+15)103 (-2)1st Place Gross
Marci Likens141 (+36)123 (+18)1st Place Net

THE RESULTS ARE IN!

The Inaugural Winter Park Hickory Classic is in the books and the winners are finding places for their trophies right now. It was a fabulous weekend for all, with a great kickoff party Friday Night, 18 holes of hickory golf on Saturday, another nine holes on Sunday and a final Awards Party Sunday afternoon. The big winners are shown below and the rest are on the Results Page.

Tim Anderson (L) – Open Champion & Richard Boggs (R) – Net Champion
Natalie Wells (L) Open Champion & Marci Likens (R) Net Champion
He careered it! Richard Boggs (L) took home the inaugural Career Round Award with a combined best score per hole over the three rounds of 28 (-7)!