Using WPA funds, the city of Cleveland opened Seneca Golf Course on August 1, 1940 to provide â€œfine, low-cost, pay-as-you-play golfing" to westsiders. Only nine holes were opened with the purpose of gaining revenue to buy equipment to complete the other 27 holes the following year. Using a Parkland Design, where not a lot of earth was moved to create land features, both 18-hole courses have tree-lined fairways along gently rolling terrain and small greens.
The #8 hole on the A course is 605 yards. When built in the early 1940s that length of hole was quite rare. Legend has it that there are only two players known to have reached that hole in two shots. The original B course includes two enormous par fives of 582 yards (#3) and 572 yards (#15) as well as numerous long and difficult par fours. The B course also features three ponds that have proved very formidable water hazards.
The original plans for the clubhouse could not be completed when funds ran out. As the course matured patronage steadily increased and by the early 1950s Seneca was known as one of the finest 36-hole golf courses in America and attracted several national championship matches despite the fact there were â€œno facilities whatever except a tin shed.â€ The long needed clubhouse, built in 1954, included a dining room, locker rooms, a pro shop and living quarters for the clubhouse caretaker.
Golfing legends such as Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, Billy Casper, and Jack Nicklaus (as an amateur) visited the course in its heydey. The Carling Open Invitational was played at Seneca in 1959 and was won by Dow Finsterwald as Casper, Nicklaus and Palmer did not score well. Quoted in the Plain Dealer before his appearance in the 1959 Carling Open, Arnold Palmer said, â€œI played Seneca a lot of times when I was in Cleveland. Itâ€™s a good, testing golf course.â€
Both the A and B courses retain their original length, but now include a fourth sets of tees as Cleveland Metroparks adds Family Tees. Situated anywhere from 60 to 275 yards out, the Family Tees are designed so that a family can play together with each family member playing from tees appropriate for their age or skill level.
The Seneca Golf Course, B Course closed in 2010.
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