Golf Overview

Course History

A Rich Tradition of Golf Dating Back to Over a Century 

Allegheny Country Club’s 18-hole golf course opened on May 18, 1902, making it the oldest in Western Pennsylvania. Over its more than a century-long history, the course has benefitted from the design expertise of some of golf’s most prestigious designers including Tom Bendelow, W.H. Fowler, Donald Ross, and Gil Hanse. The successive efforts of these architects have created a uniquely challenging course that appeals both to experienced golfers and those still honing their skills.

1902: Allegheny Country Club’s new 18-hole golf course opens 

bendelow.jpgTom Bendelow, the “Johnny Appleseed” of American golf, designed the Club's course and prepared it for its grand opening in May of 1902. From 1901 to 1915, Bendelow worked for Spalding Sporting Goods where he introduced the game of golf, gave lessons, sold equipment, hosted competitions, and designed courses across the nation. His habit of walking from the tee and staking traps and greens as he walked. His method of design was dubbed “18 stakes on a Sunday afternoon.” Bendelow’s Scottish heritage is evident in many of his early layouts including Allegheny, which he laid out as an inland links course. That style has shaped the character of the course throughout its history

1921: W.H. Fowler initiates Expansion

fowler2.jpgAs the game of golf rapidly gained popularity in the early 1900s, equipment technology also drastically improved. By the 1920s, the course needed to be lengthened and the Board contacted W.H. Fowler for the task. Fowler, an English cricket player turned successful golfer, had a reputation as an eccentric player and long hitter and his courses reflect those tendencies. Fowler presented his plan to the Board in 1921. The Club acquired additional property to accommodate his bold proposal, and Fowler expanded the course to its modern footprint (although the routing is different). Fowler parted ways with the Club before completing the project and in the spring of 1922, C.H. Alison stepped in to keep things moving along. Finally, in the fall of 1922, Donald Ross partnered with ACC to finalize the changes and make future recommendations.

1933: Donald Ross redesigns all 18 holes

The Club’s long-standing relationship with Donald Ross began with consulting work in 1913 and continued through the course expansion in 1922. Up until this point, the course included architectural elements from all of its previous designers; however, in 1933 Ross was finally able to complete his design vision. While maintaining the links character of the course, all eighteen holes were redesigned including bunkers, greens, and routing.

1945: Donald Ross Restores the back nine

8_dross.jpgMaintenance on the front nine holes was greatly reduced and the back nine holes were closed for most of WWII. As the war was coming to an end and members in the military returned home, reopening the back nine became a priority. In 1945, just over three years before his death on April 26, 1948, Donald Ross was once again engaged for the Club’s golf course developments. This time, however, Ross was also tasked with reviewing the back nine routing. This final visit by Ross and the routing selected has stood the test of time and remains as the current layout. One of the most distinct changes was developing a closing succession of three par-fours. This arrangement is one of the most of grueling finishing sequences and often changes the fate of would-be champions during tournament play.

2002: Gil Hanse undertakes course restoration project

hanse.jpgIn 2002, Gil Hanse created a master plan to complete a historically sympathetic restoration of the course, which hadn’t seen any major developments since 1945. Hanse’s bold vision melded original architecture and play strategies with the modern aspects of the game. The comprehensive plan included tree removal, restoration of original features, added bunkering and mounding, new grassing plans, and new forward and back tees. In 2003, approximately 80% of the plan was completed and although the course became more challenging in many ways, it was also made to be more approachable for players still honing their skills.

The Course Today

DJI_0006.jpgToday, work to enhance golfers' experiences continues under the capable oversight of Gil Hanse. Recent projects have included finalization of all planned tee construction, numerous bunker renovations, the addition of new bunkers and mounding, tree removal, new grassing installations, a new practice putting green, and many other details that further the character of this historic course.

 Architectual Timeline

Allegheny City Location

  • 1895 – Samuel Tucker:  6-Hole Original Construction
  • 1896 – Samuel Tucker:  3-Hole Original Construction

Sewickley Heights Location

  • 1902 – Tom Bendelow:  18-Hole Original Construction
  • 1921 – W.H. Fowler:  18-Hole Renovation – Initiated
  • 1922 – C. H. Alison:  18-Hole Renovation – Continued
  • 1922 – Donald Ross:  18-Hole Renovation – Completed
  • 1933 – Donald Ross:  18-Hole Renovation
  • 1945 – Donald Ross:  9-Hole Renovation
  • 2002 – Gil Hanse:  18-Hole Renovation – Initiated
  • 2014 – Gil Hanse:  18-Hole Renovation – Continued