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Inverness Club

Inverness Club

Toledo, Ohio
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01/09
Toledo, Ohio
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For those readers who associate Inverness with a certain shy little Nessie, we can tell you that the Inverness Club has absolutely nothing to do with the Loch Ness monster. With four U.S. Open championships to its name, the Inverness Club, located in Toledo, Ohio requires little introduction, especially as each Open was packed full of drama.

According to the author and historian, the late Michael Hobbs: "The Inverness Club was founded in 1903 and named for the castle in Scotland where in 1040 Macbeth had King Duncan murdered. Nine holes were planned for a start, but the first architect to work at Inverness had a problem with his arithmetic. As he stood back to admire his handiwork it was suddenly realized that there were in fact only eight holes. Very embarrassing! However, Bernard Nicholls hurriedly tacked on a par 3, which in the event proved to be a very good hole."

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01/09

The course was extended to 18 holes in 1915 but Donald Ross put Inverness on the map when the club hired him in 1916 to turn Inverness into a full-blown championship course.

It’s worth mentioning that by 1920 Inverness welcomed professionals into their clubhouse, the first club in the USA to do so. The exciting 1920 U.S. Open, saw big hitting Ted Ray birdie the 7th hole in each round on his way to victory. Consequently, prior to the return of the U.S. Open to Inverness in 1931, A.W. Tillinghast revised the layout and Dick Wilson did the same before the club hosted the 1957 U.S. Open. Open surgery was alive and well long before the "Open Doctor" arrived on the scene.

Doctoring continued with George and Tom Fazio making further course changes in 1978 and Arthur Hills in 1999. Today’s Inverness stretches out to almost 7,800 yards from the back tees and it’s a demanding course for most golfers from way back there.

Second shot accuracy is the key to unlock Inverness and if you can as safely negotiate the last five holes, sometimes called “murderers’ row”, then you might just card a decent score.

The club carried out a course upgrade in advance of hosting the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2019 and the Solheim Cup in 2021, with architect Andrew Green using historical photography to reintroduce Donald Ross design intent.

“The project began as a bunker renovation but evolved after I showed how we could reintroduce the original Donald Ross vision of holes 6, 7, 8 and 13,” explained the architect. “We did this by building new holes along the southern end of of the property that was previously a field.”

Andrew Green continued: “I made the new 3rd a long par three that represented the original Ross 8th. The new par four 4th used inspired concepts from the original 7th. And the new par three 5th was modelled after the original par three 13th.

We continued the theme with a new 8th green that mirrored the strategy of the original par four 6th. To make it all tie together, we also pushed the 2nd green back a hundred yards to a natural high point. That green was replicated using lasered survey information, restoring the feel of the Ross bunkers from the 1920 and 1931 U.S. Opens.”

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Course Architect

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Donald Ross

Donald Ross worked with Old Tom Morris at St Andrews in 1893 then spent part of the following season at Carnoustie before returning to serve under the Dornoch club secretary John Sutherland.

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