After World War I, James J. Thomas was elected mayor of Columbus amid tough economic times.

Convinced the city could emerge from recession, Thomas oversaw the city’s growth, including plans for a new city hall, a central police station, and the beginnings of John Glenn Columbus International Airport. He also encouraged the development of city parks and a public golf course.

Thomas arranged to lease a large segment of land at the confluence of the rivers and east of the city water plant, adjacent to the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Grandview Yard.

In March 1921, the city’s first public course, the Columbus Municipal Golf Course, opened on this land. It was initially a nine-hole course, and was extended to 18 holes in 1927. A clubhouse was created with a restaurant and bar and the course was renamed Twin Rivers Golf Course in 1933.

After an expansion in 1941, the clubhouse at 860 Dublin Road became a popular site for groups to mingle after a day on the course. A publicity leaflet issued by Lazarus Department Stores in 1945 featured an advertisement for the clubhouse, captioned “You can bend your elbow at the 19th hole at Twin Rivers”.

In most Columbus courses, the caddies were mostly Italian boys. They had a caddy master, Pat Guidi, who held caddy tournaments among those at Brookside, Scioto, Twin Rivers and Dublin courses on Mondays, the day they were allowed to play.

They gathered with their families for dinner on the courses after these tournaments. The caddies, their golfing parents and others formed the American Italian Golf Association (AIGA) in 1947 and organized a golf league with 12 teams of four golfers each.

Twin Rivers was the league’s first golf course and they held their banquet in the clubhouse’s Gold Room.

That same year, James Rhodes, then mayor (and later governor) and big proponent of golf in the city, was unhappy with the operation of the city’s courses.

The only municipal course, Twin Rivers, was short and easy. And the course would become even shorter, as the owners of the land that was leased for Twin Rivers planned to further develop the property. Coca-Cola had a bottling plant on the eastern edge, and WBNS-TV planned to build a transmitter and station on three acres south of the plant. The WBNS “Tele-centre” opened in 1949. The main post office was also later built on the old route.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for the Grandview landmark came when it closed due to road construction in 1956.

Joe Thomas was a local golfing legend and professional in Twin Rivers. He started out as a caddy at Arlington Country Club, and at age 17 was the first to hold a caddy pin at Scioto Country Club when it was dedicated in 1916.

When the Twin Rivers course closed, Rhodes asked Thomas to find a venue for another municipal course, and Thomas founded the Raymond Memorial Golf Course on Trabue Road. Thomas was the golf pro there until his retirement in 1968.