The Omni Homestead Resort

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Discover the Old Course and The Cascades, two championship level golf courses that have hosted countless professionals over the years.

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The Omni Homestead's golf heritage dates back to when the Old Course opened at the resort in 1892.

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The iconic Omni Homestead Resort offers guests opportunities to tee off at two very historic Allegheny Mountains courses: The Cascades and The Old Course. The Old Course opened in 1892 as a six-hole course. (It currently features the most historic first tee in continuous use in the United States.) The Old Course was then expanded to nine holes by 1898, and famed golf course designer Donald Ross expanded the course to 18 holes in 1913. Ross had trained at St. Andrews in the 1890s, and then spent most of his career and life in the United States, where he designed many of the country’s greatest courses during the Golden Age of Golf. His influence still exists today on the historic courses he designed, as well as the newer ones that he inspired. The Cascades Course, designed by golf course architect William S. Flynn—a contemporary of Ross’s—opened in 1924. The Cascades Course is regarded as one of Flynn’s finest works. Known for designing courses in concert with natural terrain, Flynn’s deft architectural skills created a course that fit perfectly within the scenic Allegheny Mountains. Golf legend Sam Snead once remarked that if he could play only one course, it would be The Cascades in Hot Springs, Virginia. One of the greatest players of the 20th century, Snead had strong ties to the game at the Omni Homestead Resort. As a young boy, he worked at the Old Course as a caddy and eventually served as the golf professional at The Cascades Course. At the age of 71, he finished par-72 The Cascades Course 12 under par. Over the decades since, Hollywood celebrities, business leaders, and foreign royalty played these renowned courses.

William McKinley was the first U.S. President to play golf while in office and he did so on the Old Course, teeing-off at the Old Tee in 1899. Around the same era as McKinley, former President and former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court William Howard Taft played The Old Course. Taft and his family enjoyed staying at the resort often and would visit for months at a time. One of his more famous visits was during the 20th annual meeting of the Virginia State Bar Association in 1908. Taft specifically served the role of a keynote speaker and gave a lengthy hour-long address. He then listened to another attendant give an even longer speech, prompting the tired Taft to seek a round of golf as a way to unwind. Former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge loved to play a round of golf on The Old Course and occasionally fished at The Cascades. Dwight D. Eisenhower visited the resort throughout his life, especially once he was elected President in the 1950s. (Golf was one of his personal passions, and even helped him recover from a series of heart problems.) President George W. Bush visited The Omni Homestead Resort in May 2015 and played The Cascades. On the other hand, President Richard Nixon himself preferred The Old Course when he was in office. First ladies be found on the course, too. For instance, in 1915, former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and former First Lady Edith Wilson spent their honeymoon at the resort. The newlyweds played golf together each morning on The Old Course. And as a young girl in the 1930s, Jacqueline Bouvier learned to play golf on The Cascades.

The resort has also hosted many tournaments since golf first arrived in the 1890s. The New York Times wrote on September 10, 1899: “The well-kept greens have won the praise of all the visiting experts, and, as usual, golf has been the most popular pastime here this Summer. Everyone is anxiously looking forward to the tournament.” Notably, Glenna Collett, the greatest female golfer of her day, won the USGA Women’s Open on The Cascades in 1928. The victory was among her finest, defeating one of her archrivals, Virginia Van Wie, by a score of 13 & 12. Her win at The Omni Homestead would ultimately be the first in three consecutive first-place finishes at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. (She would ultimately win six U.S. Women’s Amateurs.) Babe Didrikson Zaharias—one of America’s greatest athletes—drove her ball into the fork of a tree in 1935. Aspiring French golfer Catherine Lacoste won the 1967 U.S. Women's Open on the course. An underdog heading into the competition, no one expected her to beat a crowded field of competitors like Louise Suggs, Marilynn Smith, and Sandra Haynie. Despite the odds, she managed to beat the entire field, finishing with a 79 in the final round. Lacoste subsequently became the first international golfer to win the U.S. Women’s Open, as well as the youngest. She also had the distinction of being the only real amateur to win the tournament—an achievement that still stands intact today. Cultural heritage travelers are invited to participate in the long golf tradition at the Omni Homestead Resort’s historic courses.

  • About the Location +

    The Omni Homestead Resort is located in Bath County, Virginia, which is surrounded by a series of mineral springs that people have visited for centuries. The first tales of these elegant water sources date to ancient Native Americans, who relied upon the springs for medicinal purposes. Archeologists have even discovered evidence that the area’s indigenous peoples had used the mineral springs for more than 9,000 years. European Americans began using the mineral springs during the mid-18th century, with one of the first being Captain Thomas Bullitt. He wound up constructing a bathhouse at one location known as The Gentlemen’s Pool House that would work alongside its rustic hotel. The Gentlemen's Pool House was used by ladies and gentlemen alike, though at alternate times during the early morning and late evenings. In 1836, the circular Ladies' pool was constructed to give the women guests a pool of their own. President Thomas Jefferson, who suffered from rheumatism, visited these very pools in August of 1818. The Omni Homestead archives contain the original guest books documenting Jefferson’s 22-day visit, during which he found great relief in the warm mineral spring waters. The Gentlemen’s Pool House itself is similarly octagonal and about 120 feet in circumference. It holds about 43,000 gallons of constantly flowing spring water. During his visit, on August 13, 1818, Jefferson enjoyed breakfast at The Homestead, soaked in the springs, and had his dinner. He recorded that the entire day’s activities cost him $2.12 and wrote to one of his daughters praising the springs as among the best in America. The United States Geological Survey determined that these springs have a remarkably uniform rate of temperature and flow and are unaffected by changes of the seasons – their waters are remarkably at body temperature all year and flow at the astounding rate of 1,700,000 gallons per day. The mineral content of the water is so high that people float effortlessly. As of 2020, the Jefferson Pools are closed as they undergo a series of additional geological testing by Bath County officials.


  • About the Architect +

    Donald Ross: Few other golf course designers have had such an impact on the sport of golf than the legendary architect Donald Ross. Born in Dornoch, Scotland, Ross’ legendary career began when he apprenticed under Old Tom Morris at historic St. Andrews during the late 1890s. He harnessed several important skills from Morris that ranged from club maintenance to landscaping. Ross then used his education to parlay a job at the Royal Dornoch Golf Club near his childhood home. Unfortunately for Ross, the pay was abysmal. With the encouragement of Scottish expat named Robert W. Willson, Ross decided to try to find more rewarding work at one of the many new professional golf facilities that had started opening across the United States. Willson subsequently financed Ross’ trip across the Atlantic in 1899, who helped him settle down just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Ross accepted a job as the resident golf pro at the Oakley Country Club, where he left an immediate impression upon its members. Word soon spread of his talents, which eventually attracted the attention of prominent businessperson James Walker Tufts. In the midst of developing the resort town “Pinehurst” within the North Carolina sandhills, Tufts decided to hire Ross to head the new settlement’s golf club. Ross headed south that winter, although not without some cajoling from friends who doubted the entire endeavor.  

    Nevertheless, Ross went to work in 1901, serving as the primary golf instructor for a single, 18-hole course created a few years prior by Dr. Leroy Culver and John Dunn Tucker. Ross decided to completely renovate its fairways after conferring with Tufts, thus jumpstarting the work on the future Pinehurst No(s). 1 – 4 over the next two decades. Over time, they quickly became the treasures that Tufts had originally envisioned. Their success further catapulted Ross’ reputation throughout the United States, inspiring many other destinations to hire him to design their respective courses. In all, Ross would create (and redesign) over 400 unique golf courses across the country, with some of his most notable being at the Seminole Golf Club, Oak Hill Country Club, and the Aronimink Golf Club. Ross was also commissioned to renovate the Old Course at the Omni Homestead Resort in 1913. He subsequently transformed the layout into a stunning system of 18 different holes that blended in seamlessly into the surrounding countryside. Ross continued to work well into his seniority, often returning to Pinehurst to modify his first four professionally made courses. When he finally died in 1948, he had managed to leave a legacy that few others in the world of golf have come close to matching ever since. In fact, Ross’ legacy is still so great today that the World Golf Hall of Fame even inducted him posthumously several decades later in 1979.  

    William S. Flynn: From a young age, William S. Flynn thoroughly enjoyed the game of golf. Indeed, he competed as a youth against Francis Ouimet during interscholastic matches for years. Flynn eventually decided to make the sport his career when he began designing golf courses under the direction of his brother-in-law, Frederick Pickering. Perhaps the greatest project that Flynn undertook at the time was the development of Merion Golf Club’s historic “East” course. After having a disagreement with Pickering over design aesthetics, Flynn formed a partnership with Hugh Wilson to conduct more work at the Merion Golf Club. The experience netted Flynn some much needed national attention that he used to gain more work. He formed yet another company with Howard Toomey, which quickly set about creating numerous courses throughout the country. Among the many assistants their team hired included future golf course architects of great renown like Robert Lawrence and Dick Wilson. While Flynn himself spent most of his time designing courses around Philadelphia, he developed several prominent ones beyond the city limits. In Pennsylvania, he was responsible for crafting the fantastic Doylestown Country Club and the Country Club of Harrisburg. But he also influenced the appearance of many courses outside of the commonwealth, including Cherry Hills Country Club, The Cascades, and the vaunted Primrose nine at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. His most celebrated work occurred while redeveloping the Shinnecock Hills Country Club in 1931. Flynn’s incorporation of the natural terrain into its comprehensive renovation has since earned the praise of golfers from throughout the United States.


  • Famous Historic Tournaments +

    33rd U.S. Women’s Amateur (1928): During the Roaring Twenties, Glenna Collett was one of the most famous female golfers in the United States. Since the founding of professional women’s golf was still two decades away, Collett managed to gain significant national renown as an amateur. She had amazed many with her tantalizing skills with a club, impressing even the likes of her famous instructor, Ernest Jones. Collett also demonstrated her skills masterfully at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1919, winning her first-round match at the age of 16! But real success came for her at the 1922 U.S. Women’s Amateur, where she won her first title at the tournament. Collett subsequently returned to the tournament numerous times, losing in 1924 and winning in 1925. But her dominance over the competition truly began in 1928, when she won her third U.S. Women’s Amateur. Collett specifically defeated one of her archrivals, Virginia Van Wie, by a score of 13 & 12. The victory would be the first in three consecutive first-place finishes at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, capping her total number of victories at the competition to six. Unfortunately for Collett, she lost her attempt at a seventh and eighth title in 1931 and 1932 in close matches to both Van Wie and Helen Hicks. Nevertheless, Collett’s six victories at the U.S. Women’s Amateur helped affirm her status as one of the nation’s best golfers at the time.

    22nd U.S. Women's Open (1967): Some of the most elite golfers in the world had won the U.S. Women’s Open by the late 1960s, including Louise Suggs, Betsy Rawls, and Patty Berg. As such, most people overlooked French amateur Catherine Lacoste when she enrolled to participate in the 1967 U.S. Women’s Open. No amateur—regardless of age—had ever won the U.S. Women’s Open to that point. The 22-year-old Lacoste looked very much like an underdog, especially when ranked against her fellow competitors that year. Indeed, the field was incredibly packed, featuring names like Suggs, Marilynn Smith, and Sandra Haynie. Many professionals thus predicted that the young Lacoste would not last through the weekend. But much to their surprise, Lacoste not only held her own—she completely dominated the group. Lacoste held a masterful five-stroke lead through nearly two-thirds of the holes, sitting firmly atop the leaderboard. However, her lead narrowed somewhat the final day of the competition, as Susie Maxwell and Beth Stone closed the gap. Lacoste even began to waver somewhat, getting six bogeys on seven holes. But she nonetheless maintained a stoic demeanor, making an incredibly impressive birdie via a pitching wedge on the 17th hole. Lacoste managed to make a 79 on the day, solidifying her first-place finish two strokes ahead of both Maxwell and Stone. Lacoste subsequently became the first international golfer to win the U.S. Women’s Open, as well as the youngest. She also had the distinction of being the only real amateur to win the tournament, too—an achievement that still stands intact today.


  • Famous Historic Golfers +

    Sam Snead, winner of seven major golf championships that include the PGA of America and Senior PGA Tour.

    Glenna Collett, winner of six U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships, two Canadian Women’s Amateurs and a French Women’s Amateur.

    Babe Zaharias, Olympic gold medalist and winner of ten major golf championships.

    Catherine Lacoste, winner of one major golf championship—the U.S. Women’s Open in 1967.

    Edith Wilson, First Lady of the United States (1915 – 1921)

    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, First Lady of the United States (1961 – 1963)

    William McKinley, 25th President of the United States (1897 – 1901)

    William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States (1909 – 1913) and 10th Chief Justice of the United States (1921 – 1930)

    Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States (1913 – 1921)

    Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States (1923 – 1929)

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States (1953 – 1961), and Supreme Allied Commander Europe during World War II.

    Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States (1969 – 1974)

    George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States (1989 – 1993)

    George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States (2001 – 2009)


  • Women in Golf +

    Glenna Collett: One of the most successful golfers in history, Glenna Collett is celebrated for her impact on golf in the United States. In fact, the World Golf Hall of Fame even remembers to her today as being the best female golfer of her age. She first began pursuing golf as a young teenager, where she studied under the renowned instructor Ernest Jones. Jones was incredibly impressed with Collett’s natural ability, commenting that she had a natural affinity for the game. Indeed, Collett was able to successfully compete in the U.S. Women’s Amateur just two years after starting! Even though she failed to win the tournament, her performance was harbinger of what lay ahead—she would eventually win the U.S. Women’s Amateur six times, including her third at The Cascades. Collett also won six North and South Women’s Amateurs, as well as six Women’s Eastern Amateurs. She even managed to win the Canadian Women’s Amateurs, the French Women’s Amateur, and finished as the runner-up in two consecutive British Ladies Amateurs. In total, Collett won 49 championships, ending her competitive career with a victory at the Rhode Island Women’s Golf Association tournament. To honor her accomplishments, Collett won numerous awards throughout her retirement, including the esteemed Bob Jones Award.

    Babe Zaharias: Regarded as one of the most accomplished female athletes in American history, Babe Zaharias once played an exciting round of golf at The Cascades in 1935. On one memorable shot, Zaharias drove her ball into the fork of a tree! Interestingly, Zaharias was already a household name by the time she began pursuing golf—she had actually been an All-American in multiple sports while part of the Amateur Athletic Union. Zaharias had even won two gold medals in track and field for the United States during the 1932 Summer Olympics! After performing in vaudeville for a time, Zaharias decided to play golf competitively. Struggling initially, Zaharias eventually emerged as a leading female golfer by the late 1940s. The climax of her success began in 1946, when she won 13 straight tournaments, including the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She subsequently followed up her triumphs with a memorable victory at the Women’s North and South Amateur, beating an up-and-coming star named Louise Suggs. Then, two months later, she became the first American women to win the British Ladies Amateur. (Other titles that Zaharias won included the Titleholders Championship, the U.S. Women’s Open, and three separate Women’s Western Opens.) A founding member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, Zaharias has since been remembered for her immense impact on the sport.


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