The story behind Fiddlesticks Country Club

The ninth hole at Fiddlesticks Country Club

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fiddlesticks, eh?

With the 2010 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur being played here at Fiddlesticks Country Club, there are two obvious questions: Where did the name Fiddlesticks come from? What does it mean?

It was 1980. The investment group behind Fiddlesticks needed to quickly come up with a name to satisfy the primary lender. Using a map of Scotland, the group considered about 40 Scottish names.

These names, according to Allan Fox, a member of the founding group, were “some of most obnoxious names you can imagine. Forget those. We’ll use them for the street names.”

Ann Durant, wife of Buzz Durant, another of the founders, uttered a phrase in frustration: “Oh, fiddlesticks.”

And that was that. The name stuck. The original 18 holes, designed by Ron Garl, later were split and expanded into two separate courses, the Long Mean and the Wee Friendly.

The Women’s Amateur is being contested on the Long Mean, regarded as the signature course at Fiddlesticks.

When a book was created in 1993 to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the private club, four historical definitions were offered for the name Fiddlesticks:

  1. A useless part of a useless weapon;
  2. Foolishness, as in a childish game;
  3. A mild expletive, the strongest language appropriate between honorable ladies and gentlemen during the game of golf;
  4. A magnificent private country club, situated in the mainstream of Florida golf, but off the beaten path, deliberately.

One final insight: When the facility opened, heavy Scottish wicker baskets were used atop the flagsticks instead of flags. The superintendent hated them, because they frequently would fall off and dent the putting surface, so they were replaced with flags.

Before that happened, though, member Duane Roney, playing in a two-man team championship, hit a 5-iron shot on the par-3 eighth (now the 17th) that stuck in the basket.

The rule?

The Decisions on the Rules of Golf outline the correct procedure in Decision 17-6: “In taking relief the player may not place the ball in the hole. Therefore, in equity (Rule 1-4), the player must place the ball on the lip of the hole when taking relief.”

Oh, Fiddlesticks.

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