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Historic 1923 Donald Ross Course at Landmark
Bedford Springs Resort Under Restoration
Includes Vintage Holes by Oldham, 1895; Tillinghast, 1912; Ross, 1923 
Bedford, Pennsylvania, August 20, 2006 - Bedford Resort Partners, Ltd., and Benchmark Hospitality International have announced that the historic Donald Ross Course at the landmark Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pennsylvania, is being comprehensively restored.  The course is expected to reopen in the spring of 2007.

The project will include restoration of the routing for select original 1895 holes, (some of the first golf holes completed in America as discovered by Ross in the early 1920s), and the unique restoration of Shober's Run stream channel and floodplain, which traverses the course and will be incorporated into the design.  A short par three hole faithfully restored and documented by A.W. Tillinghast in 1912 and described in his landmark book on golf design, Gleanings From The Wayside, will be once again restored with care. 

Forse Design Inc., a golf course design firm of Hopwood, Pennsylvania, that is renowned for its work in preserving and restoring classic golf courses throughout the United States and Canada, will oversee the project.  Forse Design has worked on such important restoration projects as the East Course at The Broadmoor, site of the 2008 U.S. Senior Open, and the Newport Country Club, site of the 2006 USGA Women's Open.

LandStudies of Lititz, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a specialist in watershed restoration, will restore well over a mile of Shober's Run stream channel and floodplain.  Also restored will be an important tributary leading into the stream, providing an ideal native trout habitat.  Upon completion, Shober's Run will offer a superb environment for trout fishing year round. 

The restoration is part of a comprehensive $100 million + renovation and expansion of the Bedford Springs Resort, a property that traces its origins to 1796 and boasts original architectural elements and buildings dating to 1804.

"When we undertook the restoration of this remarkable National Landmark property, we understood early on that everything would need to be carefully researched and if possible, properly and authentically restored," stated Keith Evans, president of Bedford Resort Partners, Ltd., owner of the resort.  "This included large sections of the hotel, which spans two centuries of original architecture and extraordinary American history -- and the remarkable golf course, which has its roots in the late 19th century and is one of the great early 'springs courses' in the United States."  Evans continued, "When we were encouraged to fund the proper restoration Shober's Run and its floodplain, reversing centuries of man-made damage, we realized it was the right thing to do for our future resort guests, for the aesthetic beauty of the course and the area, and for the environment, which is part of the greater Chesapeake Bay Watershed."

Golf Greats at Bedford Springs 

US Open Champions Francis Ouimet, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Sam Parks, Jr., and Arnold Palmer

Golf has been a huge part of the Bedford Springs Resort experience since it was first  played on the site at least 110 years ago. Throughout the years, some of the greatest  golfers of the 20th Century played the course, including US Open Champions Francis  Ouimet (1913 US Open Champion); Walter Hagen (1914 & 1919); Gene Sarazen (1922  & 1932); Sam Parks, Jr., (1935) and Arnold Palmer (1960).

In fact, Sam Parks, Jr., enjoyed Bedford Springs so much he played it for three decades - from the 1930s, through the 1940s and into the 1950s.  Caddies for some of these golf greats still live in the Bedford area and recall their heady days along side greatness.

Architects Spencer Oldham, 1895; A.W. Tillinghast, 1912, Donald Ross, 1923

Over the past century, there have been a series of revisions to the golf course at Bedford Springs.  Features from Spencer Oldham's original 18-hole, 6000-yard course that opened in 1895 still exist, including chocolate drops and geometric S-curve and donut bunkers.  In 1912, the renowned A.W. Tillinghast created a 9-hole course from what remained of Oldham's original course, which included the existing Little Par-3 "Tiny Tim." 

In 1923, the most prolific year for golf course construction in the 20th Century, Donald Ross, the master golf course architect, was hired to redesign and expand the Tillinghast course.  Ross built upon the best features of the past and created a masterpiece of classic 'springs course' architecture.  This design has remained virtually untouched ever since.

Donald Ross, known as the patron saint of American golf architecture, utilized the natural landscape to create an aesthetically pleasing yet challenging course design.  It was hailed upon opening as one of the best courses in Pennsylvania.  In 1984, the Bedford Springs Hotel and the Donald Ross Golf Course were recognized as one of the best remaining examples of "springs resort architecture" by the U.S. Department of Interior and designated a National Historic District.

All three periods of the Bedford Springs Golf Course design will be incorporated into the resurrected Bedford Springs golf course during the 2006-7 reconstruction, creating something of a golf architectural museum.  Golfers at Bedford Springs will experience three historically significant eras of American golf and the work of three golf architectural masters in one cohesive, harmonized classic composition.  These include, the Primitive American Era (pre-1910, characterized by geometric or "steeplechase" features); early A.W. Tillinghast (1909-1915); and Classic 1920s Donald Ross.  The dominant feel of the reconstructed Bedford Springs course will be Donald Ross, with the other eras well integrated into the whole. 

A unique aspect of the course restoration will be the complete refurbishment of 6200 linear feet of Shober's Run, a Gold Medal trout stream meandering through the expanse of the property.  Over the past three centuries, this stream's flow and streambed have been vastly altered and compromised through logging, damming, and milling, resulting in severe erosion and destabilization of the streambed and stream banks.  Its restoration will be incorporated in a scenic and strategic manner in the design of each golf hole it touches.  Shobe's Run affects play or comes into prominent view on 12 of the 18 holes.  Every conceivable configuration and use of water hazards and adjacent wetlands is being actively considered.

"When the vision is implemented, guests at Bedford Springs Resort will enjoy a golf course built upon the latest in construction technology," said Ron Forse, "with a renewed respect for nature.  A course that feels right at home with the vintage era of this grand old resort."

Bedford Springs Resort - National Historic Landmark

The historic Bedford Springs Resort, sections of which date to 1804, is undergoing a comprehensive renovation and expansion program to create a 210-guestroom Four Star destination resort and conference facility.  The property is expected to reopen in the summer of 2007.

The National Historic Landmark resort has hosted such distinguished guests as Aaron Burr, Daniel Webster, and seven US Presidents, including James K. Polk, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Ronald Reagan (while Governor) and James Buchanan, who used Bedford Springs as his Summer White House. In 1857 in the Grand Lobby, President Buchanan received the first transatlantic cable from England's Queen Victoria. 

A classic 'springs resort' with many of the original buildings and architectural elements still in place, the restored and expanded Bedford Springs Resort will feature the Crystal Room restaurant, a colonial frontier-style tavern situated in the original stone building, over 19,000 square feet of meeting and event space with pre-function areas to accommodate a wide variety of groups, a restored 1905 swimming pool and solarium, one of the first in America, and the new spa complex.   The spa complex will total 30,000 square feet and have a full range of treatments designed around the seven unique springs that are part of the property and the history of the resort. There will also be a fitness area and a full service salon.

Outdoor amenities will include the restoration of the Donald Ross 18-hole golf course and a new pro shop.  Ross, widely considered the father of American golf architecture, re-designed the existing course in 1923 and added his signature features, such as small greens, serpentine bunkers, 'doughnut' bunkers, false fronts on greens and more.  Also, the resort will offer three tennis courts, an outdoor pool and spa with sun decks, a snack bar, miles of hiking trails covering the surrounding 2,000 acres of natural wooded landscape, a mountain biking program, and a Kids Camp program.

Additional activities and amenities are an historic outdoor wedding grotto, spa garden, an outdoor pavilion on Red Oak Lake, fly fishing streams, river rafting, carriage rides and day excursions and cross country skiing in season.

Situated on 2000 acres just outside the charming borough of Bedford in south central, Pennsylvania, the Bedford Springs Resort is located on Highway 220, three miles south of Exit 146 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Close to the intersection of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 70, the resort is a convenient two-hour drive from Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh, and two and one half hours from Philadelphia and four and one half hours from New York City.  To learn more about Bedford Springs Resort, visit  The property is owned by Bedford Resort Partners, Ltd.  Benchmark Hospitality International operates the resort.

Bedford Resort Partners, Ltd., is the owner and developer of the Bedford Springs Resort project. The partners include The Ferchill Group of Cleveland, Ohio, a real estate development company that specializes in historic rehabilitation projects, Chevron TCI, Inc., a leading investor in tax credit rehabilitation projects in the United States and The Bedford Springs Company, LLC.

Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers, hotels and condominium resorts both domestically and internationally.  For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at 


Bedford Springs Golf Course Rendering

  Benchmark Hospitality International
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas

Ken Ellens
Ken Ellens Communications 
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax

Also See: Benchmark Announces the Appointment of David Swartzel as Head Golf Course Superintendent for Bedford Springs Resort / August 2006
Benchmark Appoints Rikki Boparai General Manager for the Historic Bedford Springs Resort / June 2006


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