In a business where changes among elite courses are rare, we’ve seen an unprecedented number in a few short weeks.
Oakmont Country Club superintendent John Zimmers confirmed that he has accepted an opportunity to move to the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. He’ll officially start in early June. “It wasn’t even on my radar,” he said. “They called and I thought about it, and decided the time was right.”
A Pennsylvania native and Rutgers graduate, Zimmers has served as Oakmont’s superintendent since 1999, guiding the club through two U.S. Opens, the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Amateur. Zimmers helped oversee the removal of thousands of trees from the course, and the agronomic enhancements and spectacular vistas created by the tree removal was widely lauded during the 2016 U.S. Open. “I’m leaving Oakmont in a good place,” he said.
Zimmers and his wife Tracey talked about the move and felt like it was time for a change. “She’s very excited about it,” he added. “She encouraged me to do it. She really deserves a gold star for putting up with me.”
The new position marks a return to Ohio for Zimmers, who received his first superintendent position at the Sand Ridge Club in suburban Cleveland. Zimmers’ team at Sand Ridge in the late 1990s included Chad Mark, who left Inverness last week to replace Paul B. Latshaw at Muirfield Village Golf Club, and Saucon Valley Country Club’s Jim Roney. “I’m looking forward to building another great team at Inverness,” said Zimmers, a Pennsylvania native who attended Rutgers. “That’s what it’s all about.” The flurry of activity at high-profile clubs started last month when Merion Golf Club selected Latshaw to replace retiring Matt Shaffer.
Zimmers is leaving one multiple-time major championship site for another. Inverness has hosted four U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships, and the club was recently selected to host the 2021 Solheim Cup. “Inverness is just a wonderful old course and it’s a great opportunity to go back to Ohio,” he said.
Zimmers added that he’s grateful for the nearly two decades he spent at Oakmont. “I just really want to say thank you to everyone, particularly the members at Oakmont for the opportunity they gave me to steer the course through four championships,” he said. “I really want to thank my team here, all of our supply partners and everyone who’s supported me along the way. I’m excited to head to Toledo and get started on the next chapter.”