French Lick Resort to Host Hickory Open

French Lick Resort in southern Indiana will host the Fourth Annual United States Hickory Open Championship, July 11-13. The U.S. Hickory Open, which is run by the Society of Hickory Golfers, will be held on the resort's historic Donald Ross course, which opened in 1917.

Typical Garb for a U.S.
Hickory Open Entrant

"We are very excited and honored to host such a historic type event at our Donald Ross Course," said Dave Harner, French Lick Resort's director of golf. "The gathering of these like-minded golf historians will surely be impressed with the historic combination of a great Donald Ross Course together with the West Baden Springs Hotel. Players will enjoy a golf event surrounded by history and beauty, the way the game was meant to be played."

Between 70 and 100 golfers from around the world are expected to compete in the two-day, 36-hole event using only hickory-shafted clubs. Entrants are encouraged to look the part of a 19th Century player, with knickers, plus-fours, dress shirts and ties from that bygone era.

The Historic Donald Ross Course
at French Lick Resort

Since the early 1900s, golf has been an integral part of French Lick Resort, set among the rolling hills of the Hoosier National Forest. Tom Bendelow designed the first course here in 1907, followed by the layout by Ross 10 years later.

The Donald Ross course recently underwent a $4.6 million restoration project that brought it back to Ross's original specifications. Prior to the remodel, the course was the site of the 1924 PGA Championship - won by the legendary Walter Hagen, and hosted other golf greats and celebrities such as Gene Sarazen, Chick Evans and Bing Crosby.

The parkland-style Ross layout meanders up and down rolling hills, with its routing taking advantage of many elevation points to view the classic Ross greens, which are sloped steeply back to front.

In recent years the 3,000-acre French Lick Resort has undergone an overall $500 million restoration, and now features a casino, the French Lick Springs Hotel and West Baden Springs Hotel, located about a mile apart; free shuttle buses connect all amenities. The casino was built adjacent to the French Lick hotel and opened in 2008. The West Baden Springs property, with its massive dome, has reopened as a hotel for the first time since 1932. The hotels have a combined total of 689 rooms.

There are also two spas with 36 treatment rooms (they continue to offer the Pluto Mineral Springs bath), over 51,000 square feet of gaming space, 115,000 square feet of meeting space and a variety of dining and entertainment options.

For more information about the United States Hickory Open, visit For more information about French Lick Resort, visit