While the origins of golf are traced back to Scotland in the 15th century, it took some time for golf to really take hold in the United States. The USGA was founded in 1894 and golf quickly became one of the favorite recreations of Americans. In the early 1900’s golf courses were being built around the country primarily by private clubs and resort hotels. The popular resort town of Cambridge Springs was no exception. William Baird of the Riverside Hotel started constructing a 9 hole course just north of the hotel in 1915. He commissioned Herbert Lagerblade, a former assistant to the famed architect Donald Ross, to design the layout and it was quickly touted as one of the best golf courses in the north. Golf in Cambridge Springs became so popular that Baird decided he needed to add an additional 9 holes. He again contacted Lagerblade and in 1923, Riverside Hotel Golf Course became the first public course in Northwest PA to have an 18 hole track.
For much of the 1900’s, Riverside Golf Course was widely considered to be one of the finest courses in Western PA. Over the years it has been played by Masters, US Open, and PGA Champions along with a number of World Golf Hall of Famers, including some amateur women who were considered the best in the world. Follow Riverside Golf on Facebook as we will be digging through the archives this summer and telling more of our story and impact of some of the famous and unique characters who have played Riverside over the years.
Sitting alongside routes 6 & 19 just north of Cambridge Springs, Riverside Golf is experiencing a renaissance. After years of gradual decline in the maintenance of the course, clubhouse, dining room, and event center, it was purchased in the spring of 2021 with the vision of making it once again the Queen of Northwest PA. Under the direction of Superintendent, Michael Bochert, the course has made a remarkable turnaround in just 3 seasons. Significant improvements to drainage and irrigation have the course drier than it has been in decades and our guests are constantly remarking at how playable the course has been shortly after heavy rains. The greens are some of the nicest in the area and the layout has been a favorite for a century of play. The par 71 has a variety of holes that require all of your clubs and attention. The flat terrain make this an easy walking course or for the more adventurous golfer, rent our FINN Cycles (Look them up, they are awesome), but make your reservations early because weekend rentals fill up quickly.