Inverness Club: Overview of a World-Class Course

By Kellie Noszka

Players cross Inverness' 6th hole bridge

For over a century, the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio has been the home of one of the world’s most esteemed golf courses, a fantastic mix of intriguing design and Midwest charm. The course has hosted golf’s top events and recent renovations have taken Inverness to yet another level.

History of the Inverness Club

The Inverness Club opened in 1903 just prior to a population boom in Toledo and the Midwest. In 1916, legendary golf architect Donald Ross was hired to build a championship course; when the course was unveiled in 1919, it exceeded expectations and quickly became a favorite in the golf world. Just one year after its first round was played, Inverness was chosen as the host course of the 1920 U.S. Open. At the time, it was only the second major professional sport championship held in the state of Ohio.

Many regard Inverness as one of the most influential clubs in the expansion of golf outside of the original 13 colonies. The club has hosted four U.S. Opens (1920, 1931, 1957, 1979), two PGA Championships (1986, 1993) and countless other professional and amateur tournaments.

Inverness is the only club to have hosted the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Junior Amateur Championships.

Since 1919, the course has been renovated four times, the most recent update coming in 2016. Golf architect Andrew Green modernized and lengthened the course while paying homage to Ross’s original design.

Byron Nelson Called Inverness Home

In 1940, Byron Nelson – one of the greatest golfers of all time – beat out esteemed peer Ben Hogan for the job as head golf professional at Inverness. Nelson worked at the club until the end of 1944 while also competing on the PGA Tour, winning the 1940 PGA Championship and the 1942 Masters during the same stint that he was giving lessons and working in the Inverness clubhouse.

Eventually, Nelson did quit his day job. The year after stepping down from his position at Inverness, Nelson won a remarkable 18 tournaments in 1945, including the PGA Championship.

Inverness By the Numbers

The Inverness course offers five tees with the par-71 course measuring 7,730 yards from the championship tees. Despite the course’s overall length, it boasts only two par-5s , one each on the front nine and back nine. The par-5 eighth hole is a long 607 yards and is the finale in the most challenging three-hole stretch on the course.

Featured Holes at Inverness

While the overall design of the Inverness course is impressive, a few holes are especially notable:

No. 7 - 481 Yards - Par 4

At first glance, most golfers assume this 481-yard hole is a par-5. Inverness’s toughest hole is actually a par-4 and features a myriad of danger, including a creek that requires a tee shot of 300-plus yards to carry. More trouble awaits on the elevated green where contours and a sloping right side spell trouble for many golfers.

No. 18 - 358 Yards - Par 4

This short, 358-yard par-4 offers golfers a beautiful view and a chance to improve their score before heading to the clubhouse. The sloped green and approach area are surrounded by 10 bunkers, including the setting for one of the most dramatic finishes in any major. Bob Tway sank a birdie shot from the front right bunker to defeat Greg Norman in the 1986 PGA Championship.

Tournaments Held at Inverness

In addition to six major championships, Inverness has hosted the NCAA Men’s Championship (2), the U.S. Senior Open (2), the U.S. Amateur and, most recently, the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2019.

2021 Solheim Cup

The Inverness Club hosted the 2021 Solheim Cup. The Solheim Cup is a professional women’s event that pits a team of U.S.-born LPGA players against a team of the top European players from the Ladies European Tour. The tournament uses the same match-play format as the men’s Ryder Cup.

The U.S. leads the series 10-7.

Image: Patrick Smith/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

About the Author

Kellie Noszka is a freelance writer and former sports reporter for the Cincinnati Post. She was a golf caddie for 10 years and earned an Evans Scholarship to The Ohio State University. Kellie developed a deep appreciation for the game of golf at an early age.