The Region’s Most Prestigious Address for Golf
On February 23, 1903, six Toledoans led by S.P. Jermain, gathered to sign the letter of incorporation for the Inverness Club. Jermain was unquestionably the father of golf in Toledo, but he was also a major figure in the development of competitive golf, as we know it today. He designed Ottawa Park Golf Course (the oldest public course west of New York City) and was the first President of Inverness Club. Impressively, he is credited for conceptualizing and suggesting the Ryder Cup format, one of the most hotly contested golf events in the world.
These were heady times in Toledo. The Toledo Zoo was founded in 1900, and the Toledo Museum of Art, in 1901. Ohioans were regularly living in the White House, with Harding on his way. From 1900 to 1920, the population of the United States and Ohio grew about 38%. During that same time period, Toledo’s population grew over 85%, to 243,000. Late in the 19th century, club sports were evolving into professional sports. Like baseball, golf was one of those sports. In 1916, Inverness Club hired Donald Ross, the most famous and prolific designer of his time, to design an eighteen-hole championship golf course. Today, the story of championship golf in America could not be told without mention of Ross’s architectural influence.
The championship course was completed in the fall of 1919. After hosting a successful Ohio Open, it was announced that Inverness Club would host the 1920 U.S. Open. This was to be the first of four Opens (1920, 1931, 1957, 1979) that Inverness Club has hosted, along with five other championships, including two of the most dramatic PGA Championships (1986, 1993) in history. The 1920 U.S. Open was only the second professional major-sport championship hosted in the state of Ohio. The first was the 1919 World Series, matching the Cincinnati Reds against the Chicago White (Black) Sox… but, that’s another story.
Arguably, Inverness Club served as a gateway to professional golf’s western expansion. Before 1937, no club located outside of the original thirteen colonies, hosted multiple U.S. Open Championships, other than Inverness Club and the Chicago Golf Club, which hosted its last U.S. Open championship in 1911.
Thinking about the historical significance of Inverness Club in the professional sporting world; only a handful of golf clubs, including Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Merion Golf Club, and The Country Club, along with baseball’s Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, have longer histories of hosting professional sports championships. From the 1920 U.S. Open to the 2021 Solheim Cup, Inverness Club will have hosted championships over a 101-year span. Take a Tour of Inverness Club’s Major Championships. The grounds and facilities of Inverness Club are truly a national treasure in professional sports; not unlike that of Fenway Park in the game of baseball.
God measures men by what they are
Not by what they in wealth possess
This vibrant message chimes afar
The voice of Inverness
The participants in the 1920 U.S. Open were so appreciative to the members of Inverness Club for opening their clubhouse doors, they presented the club a cathedral clock with the above inscription. For the first time in the history of professional golf, participants were welcomed into the member’s clubhouse; a gesture that has been adopted by every hosting club since.
In 2016, Inverness Club engaged golf course architect, Andrew Green, who carefully researched original drawings and historic photography to restore the artistry of Donald Ross’s design. In addition, considering the modern game, Green modernized tee boxes and bunkering systems. Green’s design has restored Ross’s championship majesty, with Inverness Club now playing over 7,700 yards.
The crest of Inverness Club is inscribed with the Latin words, “Concordia et Fidelitas,” which is translated to “Harmony and Faithfulness.” Members of generations past, as well as those today, are committed to service and charity.
We are very proud of Toledo and the people who help make this community a championship city. We will be forever grateful to those who came before us. Even with such a rich history, we believe the best is yet to come for both Inverness Club and Toledo.