Virginia death inventories from Northampton and Norfolk counties list “goff
clubs, golfe sticks, balls” as items included in estates. Quantities in one Norfolk
County inventory are large enough to suggest the deceased was a golf equipment
retailer. In addition, it is likely that Scottish and Irish immigrants to the colonies
brought their favorite recreation to the New World.
The last British colonial governor, John Murray, the Earl of Dunmore, was a Scot.
Informal records indicate he played or practiced golf on the grounds of the
Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg.
The management of the Williamsburg Inn begins consideration of the addition of
a golf course adjacent to the hotel, opened in 1937. Plans are shelved in 1941
when the United States enters World War II.
Design and construction begins on a nine-hole course at the Williamsburg Inn.
Fred Findlay, a greenskeeper at the Country Club of Virginia’s James River
Course, is the designer who lays out the course.
June 15, 1947
The nine-hole golf course opens to play for guests of the Williamsburg Inn. The
first tee is located approximately 15 yards from the present first tee of the Golden
Horseshoe Gold Course.
September 11, 1963
The Golden Horseshoe golf course, an 18-hole championship layout designed by
Robert Trent Jones Sr., opens to the public. Jones refers to the Golden Horseshoe
course as “my finest design.” After completing the Golden Horseshoe course, Jones
reconfigures the original nine-hole course, incorporating many of the existing tees
and greens, as an executive-length course named the Spotswood Course.
October 31, 1964
The Spotswood Course opens to the public.
September 19, 1967
Touring golf professionals Jack Nicklaus and Mason Rudolph play an exhibition
match against U.S. Amateur champion Marvin “Vinny” Giles and Sam Wallace Sr.,
the 1967 Virginia State Amateur champion. Nicklaus shot 67, a course record that
stands today. Nicklaus birdied three of the last four holes to beat Giles by one
stroke. Giles’ 68 that day remained the amateur course record until October 2006,
when Brigham Young University student Daniel Summerhays shot a 60 from the
back tees on a par-70 layout for the Golfweek/PING Preview tournament.
Construction begins on a second 18-hole championship course. Rees Jones,
second son of Robert Trent Jones Sr., is the course architect.
October 24, 1991
Grand opening at the Golden Horseshoe Green Course.
May 19, 1997
The Golden Horseshoe Gold Course closes for renovation and restoration.
October 4, 1997
Restoration and renovation work on Gold Course complete.
July 1, 1998
Grand re-opening of the Golden Horseshoe Gold Course.
September 14-20, 1998
USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship is played on the Golden
Horseshoe Green Course.
September 7-9, 1999
The Golden Horseshoe Golf Courses are the sites for the USGA State Team
Championships, featuring amateur teams from the 50 states and Puerto Rico.
The men’s teams play the Gold Course and the women’s teams compete on
the Green Course.
Summer 2002 – 2005
U.S. Kids Golf World Championship played on the Gold, Green and Spotswood
September 12, 2003
Gold Course tees off 40th Anniversary Celebration.
June 22-27, 2004
U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship played on the Green Course.
May 30 – June 2, 2007
NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship played on the Gold Course.