PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – Fox Chapel Golf Club, American golf’s “undiscovered gem” in the words of Tom Watson, has retained Strawn & Sampson to write and publish its centennial book.
While the gorgeous facility in suburban Pittsburgh is really more under-appreciated than undiscovered—having hosted two USGA championships, a Curtis Cup, scores of state-level tournaments, and three Champions Tour events—Watson’s comment contains a germ of truth. Because with recent upgrades to every aspect of its offering, Fox Chapel Golf Club has quietly ascended into the top tier of country clubs in the world.
The club was founded in 1923; its revered and recently restored Seth Raynor-designed golf course opened for play in June 1925.
“We think John Strawn and Curt Sampson are the ideal team to tell our story,” said Fox Chapel Golf Club president James “Lock” Walrath.
Among several other books, Strawn, of Portland, Oregon, wrote Driving the Green (1991), the first soup-to-nuts account of the creation of a golf course. A golf course architect himself, John enjoyed successful stints as a partner at Arthur Hills and Associates and as CEO of Robert Trent Jones II.
Sampson, a former club and touring professional who lives in Dallas, is the author of 21 books, among them the New York Times bestsellers Hogan (1996), The Masters (1998), and Roaring Back: The Fall and Rise of Tiger Woods (2019).
The two met in 1991 on a visit to an under-construction course in South Korea and became instant friends. They started Strawn & Sampson in November 2019.
Although the book will highlight the club’s world-class facilities for tennis, paddle ball, trap shooting, swimming, fitness, and dining—and notwithstanding big wins at Fox Chapel by Arnold Palmer and by hometown heroine Carol Semple Thompson—the book is sure to feature Seth Jagger Raynor, the civil engineer turned golf architect whose enduring designs include Camargo Club, Piping Rock, Fishers Island Club, and The Course at Yale.
Raynor’s status can be gauged by an extraordinary comment made by Tom Marzolf of Fazio Design, which oversaw the 2020 course restoration: “It’s not an interpretation. It’s truly putting Raynor back on the ground. Seth Raynor is once and forever the architect of Fox Chapel. His shapes, his holes.”
For additional information, access the club’s web site at www.foxchapelgolfclub.org