Its claim to fame, though, is through Bobby Jones and his unrivaled attainment of the Grand slam of Golf in 1930. That year, Jones went on to take the British Amateur and Open, the U.S. Open, and the U.S. Amateur championships. Bobby Jones is reported to have said of his performance in the Southeastern Open, “That was the best-played tournament I ever turned out in my life.”
Many of golf’s early greats-Jones, Gene Sarazen, Walter Hagen, Horton Smith, Craig Wood, Henry Picard, Paul Runyan, Johnny Farrell, Ralph Guidahl, Denny Shute, Light Horse Harry Cooper, and Bobby Cruickshand- played the Open at Forest Hills. Later, champions like Tommy Armour, Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, and Byron Nelson joined the list.
From 1929 to 1942, the Forest Hills Women’s Invitational attracted the best women players of the day-Helen Detwiler, Maureen Orcutt, Marlon Milley, Jean Baue, Opal Hill, Dorothy Kirby, Louise Suggs, and Babe Didrickson Zaharias.
In 1942, the federal government commandeered the hotel and converted in into a hospital for the recuperation of wounded soldiers. It was renamed Oliver General hospital, and the golf course became known as the Armed Forces Golf Course. Gary Middlecoff-winner of the 1955 Masters- served in the Army there. In 1977 the property was declared surplus, and the University System acquired it the following year for Augusta State University, renaming it Forest Hills. The Augusta Golf Association manages the course on behalf of the university.
Several holes were redesigned in 1984 by the Arnold Palmer Company to accommodate construction of the university’s athletic complex. In 2003, the course was restored to its original design.
As the home course of Augusta State University’s golf program, Forest Hills hosts the annual ASU-Cleveland Golf Invitational which draws the top collegiate teams in the nation. Among the college golfers who played in the tournament and have gone on to become champions are Phil Mickelson (1989), Justin Leonard (1992), and Davis Love III, (1981, 1982). Other notables include Larry Mize, 1987 Master’s champion, and Charles Howell, 2000 NCAA champion.