The voice of Inverness began as a mere whisper in the wee hours of the 20th Century. In 1903, several of Toledo’s leading citizens financed the original land purchase, constructed the first clubhouse, and built a nine-hole golf course which was eventually expanded to 18 holes.
In the autumn of 1916, the Inverness Board of Directors hired famed Scottish golf course architect Donald Ross, to design a championship course in Toledo by the end of the year. His blueprints were on display in the Club’s grillroom and in two years course construction was completed.
Following the 1920 U.S. Open, the greens on holes two, 13, 16 and 17 were raised and a number of holes were lengthened. In 1978, George and Tom Fazio further refined the architecture, creating new holes at Nos. 3, 5, 6, and 8.
Ross’ signature is on close to 400 courses in the United States, Canada, and Cuba. Though he designed hundreds of courses, he discussed only seven of them in his book, Golf Has Never Failed Me. Inverness is one of them.
In the fall of 1999, architect Arthur Hills again enhanced Inverness, lengthening the course to its current 7,255 yards. From its original construction in 1903 through its periodic refurbishing, Inverness has evolved and matured, becoming even more scenic, subtle, balanced, and demanding.
National tournaments held at Inverness Club through the years have helped write golf’s history book, including Bob Tway’s hole-out from a greenside bunker at the 72nd hole to edge Greg Norman in the 1986 PGA Championship. Twenty-three years later, Texas A&M’s Bronson Burgoon nearly holed out a shot at the 18th hole to win the NCAA Division I Championship for the Aggies.
In 1931, Billy Burke and George Von Elm staged the longest playoff in U.S. Open history. Both were tied after 36 extra holes, so they were forced to play another 36 holes, where Burke finally prevailed by one stroke.
Inverness also was the club where professionals finally gained acceptance inside the clubhouse. Previously, only amateur competitors were allowed inside.
On the final day of that 1920 U.S. Open – won by England’s Ted Ray, the professionals in the field pooled their funds to donate a cathedral chime clock that still resides in the clubhouse as a token of their appreciation.
Inverness is also where Hale Irwin, in 1979, claimed the second of his three U.S. Open titles. And more recently, Bruce Lietzke won the 2003 U.S. Senior Open at Inverness.