Over 100 years in the making, the legacy of the Old Course lives on.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania is proud to be home of one of the country’s first golf courses. Dating back to 1895, the restored, historic course offers an experience of the highest caliber to rival the most private of clubs. Overlooking breathtaking views of the Allegheny Mountains and Cumberland Valley, this remarkable course spans the work of three golf architectural masters – Spencer Oldham, A.W. Tillinghast, and Donald Ross.
The Old Course has gone through many phases, all of which have impacted the sport of Golf.
Back when the Old Course was still a new course.
It was Spencer Oldham who designed the original 18-hole golf course. At 6,000 yards, the course was considered massive. While that isn’t particularly long by today’s standards, bear in mind that players at the turn of the century used clubs with wooden shafts and wooden heads. Plus, they weren’t hitting the high-compression golf balls used today. Seen from that perspective, a 6,000-yard course would certainly have been a monstrous challenge.
A genius comes of age before our very eyes.
In only his second golf course design in the United States, a young A.W. Tillinghast downsized the course from 18 holes to 9. Included was his signature hole, Tiny Tim, which he would go on to duplicate over 100 times on golf courses around the world. Tillinghast quickly established a reputation at Bedford as an eccentric, a bit of a lady’s man, and one of the premier architects that golf has ever known. Among his achievements were the designs of eleven U.S. Open courses. To honor his contribution to Bedford, and to golf as a whole, the restaurant in the new clubhouse bears his moniker: Tillie’s.
Donald Ross designed a string of masterpieces, including the Old Course.
Donald Ross, an already well-established architect, took the course from 9 holes back to 18, leaving 3 holes from the original Oldham course, and 4 holes designed by Tillinghast, including Tiny Tim. While Ross is considered the architect of today’s Old Course, the influence of his two predecessors is undeniable. Ross would ultimately design a number of prominent courses, including Pinehurst Number 2, Oakhill Country Club, and Oakland Hills, three courses that architects emulate even today. Omni is privileged to have four courses designed by Ross, at our Bedford, Grove Park, Homestead, and Mount Washington locations. No other resort in the world can make that remarkable claim.
Late ’60s – 2005
The Old Course transitions to the modern era.
To answer incessant demand, a driving range was finally added – a process which took out the 17th and 18th holes. Those two holes were moved to a flood plain situated at the center of the golf course. And there they would stay until the new redesign in 2005. That’s when the golf course was restored to the Donald Ross layout, returning the 17th and 18th holes back to their original locations. In turn, the golf range was moved to the flood plain, where it remains today.
The original clubhouse was built in 1917, and was a casualty of the 2005 restoration. There was no clubhouse until the recent grand opening of a magnificent, new clubhouse, whose design and finishes pay homage to the resort’s history and incorporate modern amenities and elements.
Today, the Old Course is as new as ever.
Bedford’s Old Course has undergone yet another total renovation, this time overseen by noted classic golf course restoration architect Ron Forse, who returned the course to its original layout. A round of golf on these historically significant bentgrass tees, plush greens, and well-manicured fairways is a must-play for golf enthusiasts of all levels. Esteemed visitors have included President George W. Bush, beloved golf legend Arnold Palmer, and many others.
You’ll come for the championship golf, but you’ll enjoy so much more.
Before setting out for the first tee, enjoy Bedford’s signature “Art of Breakfast” in the Crystal Dining Room. Then be sure to follow up your round of golf with a spa massage treatment and an exclusive evening at our Chef’s Table where you’ll delight the senses with a six-course prix fixe menu with beverage pairings.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort is committed to providing a championship golf experience for guests and members. Named as a Top 100 Resort Golf Course in the United States by Golfweek magazine, Old Course offers breathtaking views and challenges for all levels.