The OAKWOOD CLUB, 1516 Warrensville Center Rd., was the first major Jewish organization located in the CLEVELAND HTS. Founded as a golf club for Cleveland Jewry's successful merchants and professionals, it was incorporated 1 July 1905 by Leopold J. Wolf, MORRIS BLACK, EDWARD M. BAKER, Hascal Land, and MAURICE (MOSES) J. MANDELBAUM. A 9-hole golf course was officially opened on 10 September 1906, and an additional 9 holes were dedicated on the club's 159 acres in 1915. The course was chosen as the site of the 1921 Western Open Golf Tournament, which included golf greats Bob Jones, Gene Sarazen, and Walter Hagen. The Oakwood Women's Golf Association was established in 1931. As membership grew from the 70 charter members, Oakwood was expanded to provide additional recreational and social facilities. The largest expansion occurred with the merger of Oakwood and the EXCELSIOR Club in January 1931, raising Oakwood's membership from 300 to 450 with new classes of membership established to accommodate the nonplayers of the Excelsior. The clubhouse was subsequently expanded, with the addition of squash courts, bowling alleys, and an outdoor swimming pool by 1935. Further changes included the enlargement of women's facilities in 1953 and the addition of an entertainment and dining center in 1972.
During WORLD WAR II, club members used the Isaac Joseph home on Oakwood Dr., while the U.S. Army's 729th Military Police Battalion utilized the Oakwood clubhouse as a barracks. Famous members of the club included U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum and Indians player Al Rosen, a seven-time club squash champion.
In 1994, plans were made to sell the property for redevelopment and move to another location in Geauga County. But opponents of the plan successfully halted the sale. Like many country clubs, Oakwood faced declining membership, going from about 600 members in 2000 to 350 in 2010, the year it closed.
The club’s membership merged with MAYFIELD SAND RIDGE, itself the product of a merger between the Mayfield and Sand Ridge country clubs, and the land was sold to First Interstate Developers. In 2016, the clubhouse was sold to CLEVELAND HEBREW ACADEMY.
Updated by Vincent Guerrieri