W.J. "Rocky" Rockefeller

W.J. “Rocky” Rockefeller played a pivotal role in shaping the golfing landscape in Ohio during the early 20th century. Serving as Inverness Club’s first greenskeeper from 1903 until his passing in 1931, Rockefeller left an indelible mark on the world of golf. Despite being a distant relative of the renowned Rockefeller family, he carved out his own legacy as an avid golfer, musician, and skilled golf course architect. Rocky was responsible for designing several notable Ohio courses, including Heather Downs Country Club, Catawba Cliffs, and Napoleon Golf Club. Remarkably, Rockefeller’s dedication to Inverness was so profound that he worked for free during his inaugural year in 1903, a testament to his passion for the sport. During his tenure at Inverness Club, Rocky also acted as the General Manager & General Caretake of the club, all while living on the property. When Donald Ross was hired in 1916 to transform Inverness into a championship caliber layout, Rocky was instrumental in helping to execute this vision.  He would also assist A.W. Tillinghast with continued renovations to Inverness in 1930, a year before his passing.

Known for his quiet and unassuming demeanor, he possessed a keen artistic eye, which undoubtedly contributed to the enduring beauty and challenge of the courses he designed. Notably, his first assistant, Joe Mayo, would become the greens superintendent at the iconic Pebble Beach in the 1920s, further solidifying Rockefeller’s lasting influence on golf. Rocky’s legacy lives on through the courses he designed and his passion for Inverness Club. W.J. Rockefeller stands as a testament to the profound influence of dedicated and passionate individuals at Inverness Club.