Once for Legends,
Now for Every Golfer
Using WPA funds,
the city of Cleveland opened Seneca Golf Course on August 1, 1940 to provide
“fine, 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 “no facilities whatever except a tin shed.” 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, “I played
Seneca a lot of times when I was in Cleveland. It’s a good, testing golf
Both the A and B courses retain their original length, but now will 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.
Features: Pro shop, snack bar, power and hand cart rental,
golf club rental, practice putting greens, watered greens, tees and fairways.