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History of the Club

Golf in Greater Cincinnati goes back to the 1890s and the creation of the Inverness Country Club on 25 acres between Mt. Pleasant Avenue (now North Fort Thomas Avenue), the streetcar tracks (now Memorial Parkway), and Southgate Avenue.  It was a 9-hole course which was common at the time.  The clubhouse opened in 1900 and was the scene of numerous events.  Several issues caused the membership to look for a new location for the course.  It became evident that the land was too small.  One hole required that you hit over the streetcar tracks.  The club did not own the land, and developers saw greater potential in the building of homes.  Finally, on New Year’s Eve 1909, a fire destroyed the clubhouse.  Adjacent property was studied and plans for a new clubhouse were created but did not occur.  Several members formed the Fort Mitchell Country Club in neighboring Kenton County.  Finally in 1915, land was purchased on the Gieskemeyer farm and orchard for a new club named Highland.  The site was near the end of the streetcar line and Alexandria Pike.  On Labor Day weekend the clubhouse designed by famous local architect Christian Clay Weber was opened.  Several golf holes were laid out along with a baseball field, tennis courts and bowling lanes.  The first golf professional was Scotsman Alex Baxter.  The Bunning family operated food service in the clubhouse.  Famed golf course designer Bill Diddel developed the nine-hole course.  Golf club maker Elmer Gerth became the second professional, and he expanded the Highlander Invitational Tournament that is played annually in June.  Many excellent golfers played at Highland, most notably Johnny Fischer.  After numerous collegiate victories, Fischer won the 1936 US Amateur Championship.  He was the last golfer to win using wooden clubs.  Golf instructor Harry McAtee became golf pro in 1944.  The bowling alley room on the lower level of the clubhouse is named in his honor.  A fire destroyed the clubhouse in 1968.  The current building was constructed on the original foundation the same year.   McAtee's assistant Jay Lumpkin became the fourth golf professional in 1980.  A new Olympic size pool and an additional 9 holes were added in 1982.  The new 9 holes were developed by Arthur Hills.  New tees for holes 12, 13 and 17 were built in 2000.  Number 12 green was moved 100 feet to allow separation from number 16 green and improve water drainage.  The pond between the holes was maintained until 2018 when it was piped underground.  In 2008 the pro shop was renovated and named in honor of Lumpkin.  Upgrades to the locker rooms and main dining room occurred in 2009, including a deck, reminiscent of the wrap around porch of the original C.C. Weber building.  The Northern Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame is located in the McAtee Room.  Photographs, golf clubs and trophies dating back to 1905 are on display in the clubhouse.