Thanks to reader Dan for this David Briggs story on Toledo's Inverness Golf Club going all out to bring their course up-to-date agronomically in hopes of luring major events. One of the great golf clubs on the planet, the course has been major-less since 1993's PGA Championship. Unfortunately there is no mention by Briggs of remedying this truly wonderful club's only defects: too many Christmas tree-style plantings and some egregious design butchery by George and Tom Fazio.
Sadly, the story mentions the addition of 60 more trees as most courses go other way, but the planting has nothing to do with the club's love of our tall woody friends and everything to do with combating the ball flying too far. Six new bunkers were also added and fairways "reshaped to feed into the sand traps," which I'm going to assume means taking down old sand build-up to bring Ross's hazards more into play.
It was a simpler time when Inverness hosted its last of four U.S. Opens in 1979 and its last PGA Championship in 1993. Today, it takes far more than tradition and a breathtaking course to land a major professional event. A club must reside in a market with significant financial corporate support or have one heck of a plan.
If Inverness is to again snare one of golf’s three premier rotating events — including the Ryder Cup — it must get aggressive, which includes corralling statewide corporate support and a willingness to host secondary championship events for the USGA and perhaps the Western Golf Association.
While Inverness has traditionally hosted mostly pro USGA events — the 1973 U.S. Amateur endures as the lone exception — the club will now pursue amateur ones, too. Possibilities include the U.S. Amateur, Junior Amateur, and Walker Cup, a biennial match between the top amateurs from the U.S., Great Britain, and Ireland. The idea is to bring high-level golf to Toledo while also scratching the USGA’s back, helping the governing body host some of its 12 championship events with the hope that it lands them the biggest fish of all, the men’s U.S. Open.
“It's in our mission statement now, our goal is to host events of national prominence, and that can be either amateur of professional,” Kopan said. “We've had a lot of discussions with the USGA, and they would like us to do more championships for them.