A look at the Inverness Club's 18th green and clubhouse. The Toledo club has hired John Zimmers as its new course superintendent. THE BLADE
Last summer, as thunderstorms dumped buckets of rain on Oakmont Country Club during the U.S. Open, course superintendent John Zimmers and the maintenance crew worked around the clock to return that course to its pristine condition.
“What he was able to do was truly remarkable,” said Steve Mitchell, president of Inverness Club.
Less than a year later, Zimmers, an 18-year veteran at Oakmont, will call Inverness home. The 45-year-old takes over for Chad Mark, who left Inverness to become superintendent at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
Oakmont took on 2.93 inches of rain in a two-day period, causing crews to work on the course for literally 48-plus hours. Despite the delays, the U.S. Open finished on time Sunday and the restoration effort, led by Zimmers, gave players a near-perfect course to compete on. Only four players finished under par.
Zimmers, one of the most respected superintendents in the golf industry, is a coup for Inverness. During his almost two decades at Oakmont, Zimmers oversaw preparations for the 2007 and ’16 U.S. Opens, the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, and the 2003 U.S. Amateur.
“To have an opportunity to hire a person of his standing in the world of golf-course superintendents was a tremendous opportunity,” Mitchell said. “It’s great for the club, it’s great for Toledo, and it’s great for John.
“With someone like John and the major tournament experience he’s had, the prep work and coordination, I wouldn’t say easy is the right word, but he has this down. He knows how to put on major tournaments.”
Inverness has hosted six majors in its history, but none since the 1993 PGA Championship. The course, ranked as high as 42nd in the country by Golf Magazine, will host the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur and the ’21 Solheim Cup, arguably the biggest event in women’s golf.
“We want the course to be continuously improving for our membership,” Mitchell said. “If one of those events happens to become a reality that’s just an added bonus.”
Rain soaks Oakmont Country Club during a storm during the 2016 U.S. Open. John Zimmers was the club's course superintendent at the time. ASSOCIATED PRESS