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The 19th Hole

Best Public Courses In Ohio?

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Best Public Courses In Ohio?

Unread postby swerb » Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:58 pm

Of the ones I've played, here's how I'd rate em. Note that I am a northeast Ohioan, so many of the great couses in the middle to southern portion of the state probably won't appear on this list.

1. Boulder Creek - The course has so much character. Always well kept, and at 7400 from the tips ... plays longer than the Open did at Winged Foot this week. 1 and 10 are par fives, I love that. 17 is an island green a la Sawgrass. Just a gorgeous course will all different kinds of holes, and a great test of your game. Breaking 90 there (89) on Fathers Day was the highlight of my golf year to this point.

2. Longaberger - Played there twice, not this year yet. A 2.5 hour haul from Cleveland, but worth the ride. The view from the #1 tee with the giant basket and a gorgeous and demanding par 4 awaiting you is one of the best in the state. Greens are like ice. Incredibly tough course that hosted the PGA Tour Club Pro Championship 3 years ago, and could easily host a PGA Tour event.

3. Avalon Lakes - Also played here twice, but not yet this year. Used to host an LPGA event. Incredibly manicured, water and sand everywhere and the greens are always perfect. Very challenging Pete Dye design. If you are spraying the ball, you can burn through several sleeves of balls here.

4. Stonewater - Hosts a Nationwide event, my buddy belongs here so I've been able to get out there 4-5 times. Semi - private now. Probably the best greens in Ohio. An incredible course, but homes being built all along it (replacing woods that gave the course character) have detracted from the feel and atmosphere of the course. That said, this is a helluva track.

5. Blue Heron - A buddy I do business with belongs here, so I've been lucky enough to play here 5-6 times, and am again this coming Wednesday. A new course out in Medina. It's a Troon course. Which means landing areas, large crevices and waste areas, and it's gorgeous to the eye. Will be even more so once the course fills in around it over the next 2-3 years. Not too many holes you can unleash driver, several where you need to strike straight shots between 170-220 yards.

6. Links At Firestone Farms - Down in Columbiana County, have played there one time each of the last three years. A relative unknown, but has recieved high accolades from Golf Digest, and is a great track that id reasonably priced. A sprawling links type course that puts an emphasis on shot making, and forces you to use all the clubs in your bag. Long, challenging, and a good amount of water and sand. An absolute ass-kicker of a golf course.

7. Thunder Hill - Out in Madison, twenty minutes east of my Mentor home, no course has given me more fits than Thunder. The word challenge personified. Very long, lightning quick greens with severe undulation, what seems like hundreds of small lakes, literally hundreds of bunkers, and a plethora of holes that require carry of 200 yards or more. great scenery, and just a great course. The fact this is ranked seven speaks volumes about the great golf courses in this area.

8. Little Mountain - Right by me in Concord, and just 5-6 years old, I've only played Little Mountain once. Very challenging par 70 course (three par fives, five par threes) with sand EVERYWHERE. Many of the bunkers are deep, with high lips, and every time you enter one you run the risk of posting a poor round killing score. Lots of elevation change, and the greens are heavily sloped. An impressive course.

9. Windmill Lakes - Nothing spectacular about Windmill, but it's just an all around great golf course. Challenging, well kept, great people work there, and the best pro shop in the area. I make it a point to get out here at least one time a year.

10. Fowlers Mill - Located in Chesterland, which is a hotbed of great courses (Fowlers Mill, Sandridge, Berkshire Hills, Orchard Hills). 27 hole Pete Dye layout complete with a number of different kinds of holes, railroad ties, split fairways, elevation changes, and numerous doglegs. Affordable to play, with great weekday specials.

11. Painesville CC - Where I play my Tuesday night golf league. A great golf course will loads of character. The two nines are dramatically different with the back much tighter and more challenging. The par 3's are murder here. Affordable as well. $40 to play 18 on the weekend, and $1.80 for a Labatt Blue.

12. Wicked Woods - Another personal favorite, out in Newbury just past Chardon. Not incredibly long, but challenging. Very scenic, with different types of holes ... makes for an enjoyable round.

13. Glen Eagles - Like Painesville CC and Wicked Woods, not an elite course like the denizens of my Top 10, but one of my favorites to play. The city of Twinsburg bought in 6-7 years ago, and improved it greatly. Creeks, sand traps, mounds, and very well maintained.

14. Orchard Hills - Also semi-private, and in Chesterland, right next door to Patterson Fruit Farm. The smell of apples in the air, and the view overlooking the course from the balcony are both epic. Small greens that are tough to hit, and many doglegs. Also a Pete Dye layout, with elevation changes and tough short par fours.

15. Bunker Hill - In Medina, I've hosted an NFL Draft party here each of the last three years that starts with 18 holes on this course in the morning. A neat track, with massive elevation changes and a host of doglegs. The finishing holes are amongst the best in the state. Both 9 and 18 are bears. Course is very well kept, and is improved each time I am there.

16. Sleepy Hollow
17. Manakiki
18. Berkshire Hills
19. Chardon Lakes
20. St. Denis
21. Eagle Creek
22. Hemlock Springs
23. Shawnee Hills
24. Astorhurst
25. Grantwood
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Unread postby jd jr » Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:48 pm

swerb you left out punderson, greyhawk is top 5 , roses run, and sleepy hollow in alliance.
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Unread postby swerb » Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:04 pm

swerb you left out punderson, greyhawk is top 5 , roses run, and sleepy hollow in alliance.

Sleepy Hollow I have on there JD at #16.

I've never played Grey Hawk, Punderson, or Roses Run.
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Unread postby GreatGoo » Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:21 pm

I totally agree with your #1 pick. Boulder Creek is a beautiful course with tons of character.

The back 9 is just flat out gorgeous.
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Unread postby swerb » Wed Jun 21, 2006 5:12 pm

There are spots on that course where you can see 5-6 different holes draped in a majestic backdrop. It's a beautiful course, the holes are so unique.

I love how each nine opens with a par 5. The par threes are all excellent, especially 17. #2 and that one par 4 that goes 90 degrees right over the lake are great, and the finishing holes are ass kickers.

Just a great fucking course.
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Unread postby swerb » Thu Jun 22, 2006 8:07 am

For the purposes of remembering all these course ...

Eagle Sticks, Cooks Creek, Pine Hills, Blue Ash, Chapel Hill, Seven Hills, Sawmill Creek, and Deer Creek are all courses that were reccomended highly via emails and a thread on The OBR. I omitted them because I never played them.

Also ... Shaker Run, The Vineyards, Yankee Trace, Fox Fire, Hawks Nest, Punderson, Salt Fork, Mill Creek Park, Pipestone, and Hinckley Hills were courses that also came up that I have not made it out to.
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Best Public Courses in Ohio?

Unread postby Matt Barker » Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:45 am

From what I have read and heard from others who have played it, Avalon Lakes is the best public course in Ohio. But there is fine line between private and public.

When I was checking out green fees and cart rentals it's about $150 to play 18, so how public is that?

Longaberger is a great track, but again, greens fees for 18 are $125. Though I would rate it as one of the best I have ever set foot on, it's not a place I can play regularly.

And while I have played many courses throughout Ohio, my top 3 would be:

Cook's Creek: great layout and affordably priced. Green fees are $42, and it's absolutely gorgeous.

Eagle Sticks: $40 for 18, and another great layout, and well worth the drive from Columbus.

Salt Fork: Another great course in eastern Ohio, and worth the drive. Once ran into Payne Stewart playing there on a Monday before the Memorial. Only $35 for fees and a cart on weekends.

One course that has not been mentioned, though I have played it many times and it's one of my favorites is Apple Valley, just north of Mount Vernon.

Other sites rank it in their Top 20, and maybe because it's not a new course it does not get the recognition it deserves.

I played there on Tuesday with a group and we walked (as I prefer) and it was only $20. And extra $5 gets you a cart. $43 gets you 18 and a cart on weekends.

Rolling hills, wooded setting, lush fairways, it's absolutely beautiful.
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Unread postby jd jr » Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:09 am

swerb there are 3 sleepy hollows in the state of ohio we are talking about 2 differnt courses
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Unread postby swerb » Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:11 am

No way ... I didn't know that JD. The one I have on my list is the one in Brecksville.
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Unread postby S4Aero » Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:27 am

SWERB!

I agree with many or your picks, the exception being Blue Heron. While it is certainly an entertaining track, the design doesn't lend itself to regular - fun play. There are too many forced carries and blind shots for the average golfer to enjoy his or her rounds there. As you might suspect, I talk to a lot of players and many (most) don't rank it high on their lists of regular play courses.

A notable omission I see is Pine Hills in Hinckley. It is a very well maintained track that has done some remodeling in the last couple of years to add some challenge (not that it wasn't already challenging). It isn't real long, but there are enough issues that length doesn't really matter.

I would also second (third) the addition of Grey Hawk in LaGrange. I'm not a huge fan of links-style courses, but this one is worth the drive. Excellent conditions and plenty of challenge without being over-the-top.

Hey - call me, let's finally play some golf!
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Unread postby Birdman » Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:58 pm

swerb you left out punderson, greyhawk is top 5 , roses run, and sleepy hollow in alliance

roses run is garbage. top five in NE Ohio taking into account cost to play:

1. Fowler's Mill
2. Little Mountain
3. Windmill Lakes
4. Hemlock Springs
5. The Patch

I am a big fan of the places that have specials and that you can usually play without having to wait every hole. I did not include any courses outside NE Ohio. If that was the case, EagleSticks would definitely be near the top. You can play there for $25 riding after 2:30 during the week. For those of you not familiar with "the patch" it is a gem located in Euclid, OH.
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Unread postby swerb » Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:21 pm

Ernie, we gotta get out and play this year. I'd like to come back out to Bunker. We'll make it happen.

Birdman, "The Patch"? I grew up one city over from Euclid (Willowick), even lived in Euclid for a year and a half. Never heard of it. And top five? Are you talking about Briardale?

And I've gotta get out and play Pine Hills and Eagle Sticks. Several people have reccomended both.
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Unread postby furls » Fri Jun 23, 2006 12:49 am

Not sure if it really qualifies as public, but Scarlet at Ohio State is stunning after Jack Nicklaus finished his remodelling. For those unfamiliar with the course, it was originally designed by Allistar MacKenzie (architect of Augusta National). The course is proably semi private, but it is not that hard to get onto.

I have played many terrific courses throughout Ohio and the country and Scarlet ranks 1st or 2nd. Behind maybe Canterbury Golf Club. I played Canterbury about 10 years ago, so I am not sure if i am just waxing nostalgic.
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Unread postby jd jr » Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:21 am

birdman i try to get you to play the patch all the time so we can get hit from 3 fairways over and you never want to play.
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Windmill Lakes

Unread postby Insipid » Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:25 pm

Just a heads up. The deal to close Windmill Lakes (discussed in the OBR) has finally fallen through. It will continue on as a public golf course. It was in the Beacon Journal today.
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Re: Windmill Lakes

Unread postby swerb » Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:06 am

Insipid wrote:Just a heads up. The deal to close Windmill Lakes (discussed in the OBR) has finally fallen through. It will continue on as a public golf course. It was in the Beacon Journal today.

Insipid, I saw the same article in the PD the other day. That is great news.
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