If you are a golfer, you grew up knowing the game's first venue was the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland. What you may not know is that the golf's American roots can be traced to the tiny rural community of Foxburg in northwestern Pennsylvania. Golf has been played in America - in one form or another - since 1786, but none of the courses established before 1888 has survived to the present day.
Except one. On May 1, 1785, the Land Office of Pennsylvania issued warrants for the purchase of land in Western Pennsylvania. Ten years later, Samuel Fox purchased six warrants along the Allegheny River upon which to build the prominent family's vast summer estate, and ultimately established the site for what would later become the oldest golf course in continuous use in the United States. Samuel's great grandson, Joseph Mickle Fox was a member of the Merion Cricket Club, "The Gentlemen of Philadelphia". In June 1884, he sailed to England as a member of an all-star team called the "All American Cricket Team", to participate in a number of international matches in England, Ireland, and Scotland. The American team was good enough to reach the championship match, which was played in Edinburgh, Scotland, on June 6 and 7.
Following the match, young Fox was invited to travel to St. Andrews to watch golf being played. Joseph was intrigued, and he soon struck up a friendship with bearded old pro, Tom Morris, Sr., who taught him the fundamentals of the game and provided him with clubs and balls.
Fox returned to America and began to play golf with his friends and neighbors on the meadows of the estate his grandfather had carved out of the Pennsylvania wilderness. Enthusiasm for golf grew so quickly, it soon became obvious that the holes Fox had laid out on the family estate, could not accommodate the number of people who wanted to learn and play the game. So, in 1887, the Foxburg Golf Club was organized, and Joseph Fox provided the land upon which to build a golf course.
The game has been played here ever since. On March 2, 2007, The Director of the National Park Service announced the inclusion of The Foxburg Country Club and Golf Course on The National Register of Historic Places.