By John Bryan
June 22, 2020
Atop a hill in Fox Chapel, just outside of Pittsburgh, is a course you’d probably be arrested for playing today. You’ve likely never heard of it. It’s sandwiched between the legendary Fox Chapel Golf Club and Pittsburgh Field Club. The clubhouse still exists, and the course snakes its way through the thick trillium forest, on private property.
The home on the hill is the first house ever built in Fox Chapel. It was called Summer Seat, a log cabin built in 1786. The property has changed hands over the years, but in the 1960s, the owner had created a legendary 18-hole course you could only play by invitation, and you didn’t need to bring your clubs. This course was played with bow and arrow.
You were given a bow, and two arrows, one for a mulligan. There were par threes, fours, and fives. Each hole had its hazards — a giant oak, a ravine, a spring house to navigate. And instead of pins, there were targets, the bullseye sort, a taxidermied beaver, a deer, a skunk, and even a black bear. At the tee boxes were cocktails and cigars, and the party goers were always lively. Legend has it Jack, Arnie, Gary, even Frank Sinatra, played rounds here.
This legendary course remains legend. But if you find yourself walking the woods here, you might just find an old arrowhead, not from a Seneca Indian, but from a wayward shot off 18.