Inverness Club, a Classic Donald Ross Design Retains Major Charm
By Bob Denney, PGA Historian
Founded by a visionary and crafted by a legend, Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, puts the glimmer in the Glass City.
The club’s first president, Sylvanus Pierson Jermain, was a native of Adrian, Michigan, who made Toledo - his adopted hometown - a destination for major championships while advancing the cause of public golf.
In 1899, he opened Ottawa Park Golf Course, the first public facility in the Midwest and the seventh in the country. After developing and consulting on six other courses, Jermain found the land for Inverness and went so far as to get permission to use the name and the crest of the Village of Inverness, Scotland.
He also recruited legendary Scotsman Donald Ross to rework nine holes already on the property in 1903, then add an all-new second nine in 1919. Over the years, the course underwent several remodels with Andrew Green’s 2018 work easing the concerns of most Ross fans that the original style would be retained.
Some of golf’s greatest championship moments have occurred on Inverness’s greens, which require expert marksmanship. The sloping surfaces average just 3,600 square feet and have been challenging the game’s finest for a century.
Its first U.S. Open was in 1920, followed by return visits in ’31, ’57 and ’79. The PGA Championship came to Inverness in 1986 and 1993; the U.S. Senior Open in 2003 and ’11; and the U.S. Amateur in 1973.
The 358-yard, devilish 18th remains one of the game’s most difficult short, par-4 finishing holes. Perhaps most memorably, Bob Tway’s hole out from a greenside bunker to defeat Greg Norman and capture the 1986 PGA Championship.
Tway’s magic would have pleased Jermain, a man known for pushing golf’s boundaries.