The Forecaddie has seen lots of Donald Ross restorations, but none that measures up in boldness and significance to that of Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. There, designer Andrew Green is finishing up a retrofitting that finally will eliminate one of the clumsiest hack jobs ever perpetrated on a major U.S. course.
The work of George and Tom Fazio in the run-up to the 1979 U.S. Open wiped out four holes on the old Ross routing, replacing them with four over-sculpted holes that never fit. Now, through a subtle rerouting on previously unused club land, Green eliminated the three worst holes from that renovation, Nos. 3-4-5, replacing them with “new holes” that embody elements of the old original layout. Green also moved the green on the par-5 eighth hole and reshaped it more in line with old Inverness.
Starting in July, and working with the club’s new superintendent, John Zimmers, who had just left Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, Green and the construction firm of McDonald & Sons managed to redo the bunkering while building the new holes, all without interruption of play. Working from a master plan that looks like the work of a museum curator, Green also found a lot of additional yardage, such that the par-71 layout can now play 7,600 yards and could be extended to 7,800.
The Man Out Front hopes the restored layout returns to the major circuit. Inverness, home to U.S. Opens (1920, 1931, 1957, 1979), the U.S. Amateur (1973), the PGA Championship (1986, 1993) and the U.S. Senior Open (2003, 2011), also is slated for the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur and the 2021 Solheim Cup. After this restoration, Inverness now deserves another Open.
(Note: This story appears in the January 2018 issue of Golfweek)