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LOCAL GOLF

Par 71, 18 hole course located in Madison, about a 35 minute drive from downtown using Rt.2. Formerly a private country club that emerged from banruptcy in 2014. Conditions have been restored to country club standards and now everyone can enjoy this1923 design from Sandy Alves. Classic holes in a queit, development free environment with decent topography and good soil conditions. Excellent green complexes with great rolling greens. It takes some thought to succesfully navigate the routing and there are many opportunities to be bold. But brashness can lead to disaster here. The course is somewhat tight and the hole routings really require a proper shape off the tee if you want to be aggresvie. Don't be fooled by the length, this is a tough course and you better be conservative off the tee if you can't fit your driver to the hole. The short par four 17th has perhpaps the most difficult approach you can ask for here. it is best to take a wedge into this very difficult green. Guard against being long on your approach. The 18th is perhaps the mos difficult tee shot with encroaching trees and a snaking fairway. Many, many, many golfers end up punching out to the fairway. Don't be that guy. Full grass driving range and a great short game area. Range: Yes • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6487

36 holes of sand less golf in Columbia Township. Mallard Creek is a decent course and usually in good condition. The first 18 winds through woods with some water while the third and fourth nines play mostly over and around water. Despite being a good looking 36 holes, there is not a single sand trap here. The course has a low budget modern look with gentle mounding which seems to be intended to maximize golf traffic, particularly that of the high handicapper or senior. Pace of play is a little slow and there are often leagues and outings here. Both courses are on the short side with several of the par 5 easily reachable for the long hitter. While the Water 18 is slightly shorter than the Woods 18, it's numerous water hazards slightly increase it's difficulty. It is not really that there are two different courses anyway, they mix and match all the nines. The fourth nine, the most recent of all, is perhaps the worst with a very poor design and several hatchet job holes.  Range: mats • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6638 (first and second nine) 6307 (third and fourth nines)

18 holes of great Metroparks golf in Willoughby, about 25 minutes east of downtown Cleveland. A classic Donald Ross layout with wonderful and sometimes dramatic elevation changes and rolling fairways. A local favorite which often sees plenty of play. The heavily wooded course offers a sense of privacy and no two holes are alike. Plenty of sand and water which comes into play on many holes. Then there are the meandering creeks that always seem to add a layer of difficulty you didn't expect. The old style smallish greens have a good deal of slope and undulation and are rolling much faster these days, though they still tend to hold a lot of water. Much better conditioning and serious upgrades have restored this great layout to some of its original grandeur. They did a wonderful job keeping the feel and strategy of Donald Ross while carefully implementing modern improvements. They deserve high praise for this effort. Improvements include several expanded tee boxes adding a good deal of length. The four new teeing stations at hole nine is a good example. They added a few new bunkers here and there for targeting and definition off of the tee, most notably to the right side of the par 5 twelfth hole. Better drainage and some new contouring in spots were added where needed. Thankfully the fairway of hole 10 was totally recontoured and slightly widened. Other smart changes include expanded green complexes on the par 3 fifth and seventh and the par 4 fourteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth. Collection areas, grassy hollows and better bunkering have turned ho-hum green complexes into interesting puzzles. With the improved design and conditioning, Manakiki jumps right back into the mix of top courses in the area. From the excellent and forgiving beginnings to the punishing finishing holes, you are immersed in a splendid classic test. Like any great course, there are many nuances that might not be appreciated after only one round. Good positioning off the tee is often rewarded. Watch out on your opening tee shot. Targeting the left bunker with your tee shot is not the play. A hair to much draw and you are across the street. Nine seems like an easy enough tee shot, just stay out of the left bunker, correct? Not so. The fairway runs out not far after the 150 yard marker into a perpendicular hollow where you are almost guaranteed a bogey. Sixteen seems like a nice shot par 4 that offers several option including driving the green. Laying off the big stick in favor of the 150 yard marker with an iron or hybrid seems sensible. Still, most are tempted to cut off the inside corner and try to reach to the green. This will bring into play a ball swallowing hidden creek bed. Going long down the middle runs the fairway out and forces a difficult lob shot to a seriously perched green. The par threes here are vastly under-appreciated. Designing four great par 3s on a single course is a daunting task for even the best modern golf architects. Not old Donald Ross. Try finding a finer varied and shot worthy quartet anywhere in Ohio. They reopened the high tee box on the par 3 fifteenth and it is all grass, no longer a matt. And finally, it is not so easy to reach the par 5s in two anymore with the added length. This course still has some teeth and they keep making it better. Range: grass but shag your own • Total Tees: 4 • Total yardage: 6643

A par 71 (72 for women) 18 hole course located in Kent, about a 23 minute drive from the I-77 & I-80 interchange and just less than a mile west of the I-76 on Tallmadge Rd. While only 6312 from the tips, this course can play much tougher than you think. Conditions here are good and the greens roll true. Even though this 1928 style course has conservative bunkering, a few creeks and many straight away fairways, it has seen years of gentle improvements. The many short par 4 that can lead to good scores, if you find the fairways. Driver, fairway wood or long iron is usually the discussion on the tee. The course is very tight with heavy tree lines that severely penalize tee shots too far off line. The center of the fairway is no guarantee either because the small greens require laser-like approaches with not many easy up and downs. Four of the five par 3s are at or over 200 yards. It is not to often you see someone pull out a driver on a par 3 but you will here, especially on the 241 yard eighth hole. All the par 5s are a good tests requiring several solid shots just for chance at par. The layout itself may not be the most intriguing and green complexes somewhat basic, but the owners show great care and pride in caring for this course. You will not find many other courses with more decorative landscaping in a beautiful, natural setting of rolling hills and mature trees. They even have their own greenhouses for flowers and shrubs. Some say the trees have over grown the course and made it too narrow. Others prefer the tightness arguing that thinning the trees will just make the course easier and not better. The turf conditions can get a bit spongy after heavy rains. Range: grass • Total Tees: 4 • Total yardage: 6132

A pleasant par 31, nine-hole Metroparks executve golf course on the Cleveland westside, about 2 minutes from Hopkins Airport. A nice little starter course, especially for kids in the Rocky River basin. You will also find your share of seniors and women getting in a quick round. A few nice elevation changes. While conditions are only average, the layout makes up for a lot with the flowing Rocky River nearby and plenty of woods and wildlife. Slow pace at peak times. No sure why we need two Metropark executive courses within two minutes of each other. Either Mastic Woods of Little Met should be turned into a full fledge range and practice facility. Range: None • Total Tees: 2 • Total yardage: 1900

27 holes of junk, in the heart of westside suburbia. Other than location, nothing redeemable. Dead flat and short with terrible conditions and a very poor design. Sure it is an executive course, but what is the point of having three nine hole executive courses? You should wear a hardhat here to protect yourself from all the flying golf balls. Now if they wanted to, they might be able to put in 18 decent holes. With all the new money in Westlake, you would figure the City would be able to do something worthwhile. Range: No • Total Tees: 1 or 2 • Total Yardage: Red Nine 1374; White Nine 1471; Yellow Nine 2635

18 hole par 72 quality course just south of Ashland, about fifty five minutes south of the I-71 / I-80 interchange. Four sets of tees. A very nice, professionally designed, course by Jack Kidwell. Even though it is a 1970's traditional design before the advent of modern architecture, it remains a solid layout with outstanding conditioning. Pretty much in the middle of no-where Ohio. There wasn't much dirt moved to make this course, the holes were just cut into the wonderful natural elevations. You get the feeling of being on the cusp of the foothills of central Ohio, especially on the cliff top tee of the twelfth hole. Peaceful and very scenic with terrific par 3s. Beware of the quirky tee shot on the par 5 tenth hole. Many tee off with just a middle iron due to very high risk of losing the driver into the trees. The best holes follow the tenth and get better as you close your round. Smallish greens by today's standards but with plenty of slope. Range: grass • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6622

9 hole par 30 executive course across the street from Springvale Golf Course. This is a tough one to rate. It is not for most golfers. The course caters to women, junior, beginner golfers as well as golfers with disabilities. However, it can also serve as an excellent practice course for advanced golfers seeking a quiet place to work on their mid and short game. The course lies in and around a condo and home development with some wooded holes that can play pretty tight. The short course has only three par 4s on the card and if you can knock your driver out there about 250 or more, forget about hitting it here. The shortest hole is only 80 yards long, but the green is only ten yards wide and ten deep. Talk about a postage stamp. Some bunkers and three small ponds add to the intrigue. Renovations which began in 2002 to improved drainage and conditions have proven worthy. Conditions are surprisingly good and the greens a quite nice. The course is the host of the Northern Ohio Golf Association so it looks like they get some help. You can probably get around, even walking, in 90 minutes and the price is very reasonable. Range: none • Total Tees: 2 • Total Yardage: 1702

JUST SOLD AND NO LONGER OPEN AS A GOLF COURSE.  History: A par 72, 18 hole course located in Kent, about a 35 minute drive from the I-77 & I-480 interchange and about 6 miles from the I-80 Rt.14 exit. It used to be a 36 Complex on both sides of the road but the West course closed in 2006. Gently rolling terrain, good conditions and very nice greens. This traditional, 1963 layout, has a lot of charm. No water on this course, but several tight holes with out-of-bounds stakes and trees constantly threatening you. There is a mild effort to add some mounding and contouring to give a little definition. Two long freaking par 5s of over 600 yards. Only three par 3s and three par 5s. Don't miss these greens long, there is often trouble and difficult up-and-downs from there. Perhaps the most memorable hole is the short par four 5th hole. Its a sharp dogleg left at just over 300 yards. A long iron or fairway wood is the preferred tee shot, hopefully leaving you only 100 yards in. But the dogleg is very hilly and accuracy is an absolute must. Your approach shot must then contend with a very difficult green bordered by heavy woods and a ravine. A birdie try can easily turn into double bogey. The course is well marked with many trees even having yardages attached. Range: none • Total Tees: 3 • Total Yardage: 6883

18 holes located in Grafton. The 5 holes located nearest the club house have nice elevation changes crafted from a few stream beds and water features. The rest of the course is flat and boring. Then only sand trap on the course is on the fine par three 17th which is one of the best holes on the course. Sparse but mature trees line most fairways, tightening up some of the the driving lanes and approaches on most holes. Conditions are less than average and in mid summer the fairways take a beating. But hey, if you can hit it down the fairway you might get a little extra roll. The greens are unexpectedly decent considering the rest of the course which in turn seems to lead to better than average scores for most. Six par 3's and on this par 70,  but it plays a little longer than you think. There are about four or five interesting holes with hole 9 being our favorite. A well place tee shot down the left kicks to the middle leaving a long to mid iron in on this par five elevated green. To far right and you may be blocked. Beware the tee shot on hole 18. Forget the big stick. A long iron is all that is needed to make the fairway. Anything longer brings the tight tree cover on the right into play unless you can fit a draw into this right to left fairway. Green fees are reasonable and no housing on the course. Range: none • Total Tees: 3 • Total Yardage: 6062

18 excellent holes located in Hinckley about 8 minutes from I-71. One of the top courses in the area but a bit pricey. It is a unique and traditional layout with good elevation changes. Conditions are usually top notch and this is definitely a local favorite where local knowledge can pay big dividends. The smooth and fast greens are some of the very best around. You are immersed in a wonderfully natural environment devoid of homes and filled with rolling terrain, creeks and ravines surrounded by mature trees. The saucer shaped greens are in the tradition vein in that they do not sport much undulation nor are they significantly elevated from the fairways. Many scenic holes as well as a few very dramatic ones, especially the par 3 fourth hole which has a drop off of over 70 feet into a rock sided gorge. While the balance of par 3 are solid, they do lack variety in design and length, the main knock on the course. Each par 3 tees off over a small valley where you might get away with using the same iron into each small circular green. The par 4s and 5s are very good, particularly the par 5s. The par 5s are unique in presenting many different ways to be played and many different ways to punished. The wonderful and distinguishing finishing par 4 has a large lake that must be avoided on the tee shot and then carried on the approach shot. The closer you can stay to the lake the easier your second shot. Pine Hills can be a tough course since there are not a lot of bail out areas and some tight driving holes even though it is conservatively bunkered. The wavy fairways sometimes resemble rolling surf and are constructed the old way from soft top soil. On those wet days, it gets a bit spongy, but you will not likely see any burned out fairways in the heat of the summer. Three great new holes, #2, #14 and #17 were added in 2004 as well as other improvements like lengthening hole 18 with a new tee box. The new holes were needed to keep up with the times and blend nicely into the existing layout. The course as a whole has been seriously lengthened and improved as a result. Pine Hills is known for their very fast greens which deserve special mention here. The greens do not sport modern undulations and tiering but they have a deceptive tilt which makes keeping the ball below the hole essential. A five foot downhill put can end up as a fifteen foot uphill one. Some of these traditionally shaped greens have sloped shoulders and nice nuances which can release a ball straying to close to the edge down into the collar. Putting and approach shots are at a premium here. They keep a close eye on the pace of play like a good course should. Range: none but an expansive practice area usually reserved for fitting and members • Total Tees: 3 plus one combo tee • Total Yardage: 6748

A Par 72 1970's design which can still hold its own today. Located in Medina about five minutes west from I-71. The dated clubhouse sort of lends a back-country atmosphere to the place compared to other more bustling clubhouses. The under whelming facilities do not convey the test the course can present. It is rare to find a place good for new golfers as well as accomplished golfers. The decent price and less than crowded conditions make you wonder why more don't golf here. For a middle tier course that is rarely advertised, this is one of the better ones. It is an honest traditional style test right in front of you with no housing and ample mature trees. The routing and greens complexes are more than satisfactory despite having only a dozen bunkers on the course. They really don't need anymore except for perhaps aesthetics. At 6900 plus yards, even the longest golfers will find room to play and the par five 6th is one of the better par 5s in town at over 600 yards. For the most part, the front nine possess some gentle rolling terrain and gentle doglegs and the back turns quickly more difficult with narrowing fairway framed by thick strands of trees, stream beds and more elevation changes. The course finishes in fine fashion with the interesting par five 16th requiring a good downhill tee shot followed by an accurate uphill approach to a perched green. The long par three 17th requires metal fortitude and hybrid over a menacing ravine. There is more miss on the right than the left. The outstanding 18th finishing hole is a long appealing cape hole leading to a nicely protected green. Errant tee shots and approaches easily find the lake. Par-par-par is not to shabby. Range: none • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6912

18 holes par 70 course in Madison about a 40 minute drive east on I-90 from downtown Cleveland. In many ways, except the clubhouse, this course has a great country club feel. With finely manicured fairways and great medium sized greens with just the right amount of modest undulation, you definitely feel pampered. The course lies in a natural environment with a fine assortment of trees, creeks, ponds and elevations, completely free from residential housing. You are practically guaranteed a good day regardless of your score at this pleasing course where attractive hole follows attractive hole. Most do not consider this a long track but it is only a par 70 with just two par 5s. That does accounts for some of the shortness on the scorecard. You know you are in for a fun round right away with an opening tee shot through a chute to a medium fairway which then sets up a spectacular shot to a green fronted by large limestone blocks and a pond. Then a short but driveable par 4 at the second helps your score recover from the ball you dumped in the pond fronting the first green. The tee shot on the par 4 third hole requires about a 210 yard shot to a segmented fairway framed by creeks. It is a tricky dogleg so take what you see and hit a long iron into the green. Your are asking for trouble if you try to cut off too much of the dogleg. There are other holes to take chances at. With four par 4s at 300 yards or less, you definitely have some opportunities here. Longer hitters feel like they can drive the short par 4s, but their intelligent design with narrowing fairways and small greens fronted with bunkers, makes going for no simple proposition. Even though these few holes may take the driver out of your hands, you still need precision with your fairway metal or hybrid to score well. There is no question that the meat of this course and the holes that will make or break your round are 10, 11, 12 and 13. You sort of get used to the scoring opportunities on the front side and your card probably looks pretty good, then bam, the monsters 10 and 11 bear their teeth. If you are still standing, you still have to deal with the devilish par 4s at twelve and thirteen where the terrain is the problem not so much length. These par 4s are particularly beautiful to the eye but pose a real monkey puzzle for the mind. Thick tree strands are pinching in, creeks and ponds await errant shots and tucked away greens dare you to approach. Like many of the holes here, each can be played with brawn or precision and each method can yield dramatically different results. Go have fun. Greens fees are very reasonable. Range: grass • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6004

18 holes of metro-park golf located within a state park. About 50 minutes east of Cleveland on Rt. 87. Mostly flat and nondescript. Condition typical for a metro course. Best hole is short, tight downhill par four eighth. A long iron is best bet from the tee setting up a 100 yard shot over water. The 14th through the 17th are a nice series of holes. Nothing too fancy at this course, but it is a solid and fair test. Most holes border at least one other hole. A lot of bunkering for a metro course. Range: grass • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6815

18 destination holes which opening in 2007, about an hour and ten minutes south of the I-77 / I-80 interchange. A long haul from greater Cleveland but worth the drive from anywhere in Ohio. Brian Huntley has done some great work and has many signatures holes around Ohio but this is perhaps his first design where every hole gets the full upscale treatment. The Quarry is known as the sister course to Shale Creek but it is very different. When you drive up into the hills toward the course, you notice immediately that the driving range is nicer than many golf courses. A huge and inviting clubhouse tells you this place is meant to attract golfers from around the Midwest. Even the practice green cut into a hillside is more aesthetically pleasing than the finishing hole of many top courses. Then as your cart climbs the steep incline to the first tee, the wonder of the layout is revealed. From the heights of the first tee you see several of the holes rising and falling across a valley of trees, waste areas, cattail filled marshes and a large lake. You really have to look hard for evidence of the century old quarry this course occupies because everything looks so natural and grown in. Below the mature trees sitting high on ridges are the signature rock outcroppings which look like they have been here for a thousand years. Many holes are routed down and through the high walled valleys providing a good sense of solitude and separation of the holes. Launching a tee shot from 100 feet above a river shaped fairway that flows around a ravine is a sight to behold. Thankfully, most of the resort style wide fairways provide alternative targets to advance the ball. A good number of tee boxes play from a height so the course plays shorter than the listed yardage. Be sure to take enough club when you come upon the elevated greens. Huntley likes to reward course management and strategy and followers of his philosophy will fair well here. It is hard to imagine these kind of elevation changed in north east Ohio but it does play fair and easier than it looks. Sometimes with "mountain golf" one can tire of all the up and down holes repeating all day. That won't happen here where a nice balance of elevations meets more level holes. The green complexes and protective bunkering are top notch and reveal a pinch of the Arthur Hills influence on Mr. Huntley. You can expect fast greens but with conservatively sloped surfaces. Crazy tiering just would not work with this design. The third hole is the only blind tee shot which passes through a chute opening to a wide left to right fairway. There is hidden O.B. on the right and red stakes down the left so be sure you take the correct line. The fourth hole is one of the very best short par 4s in the area. It is drivable, even with a three wood, if you can play the tee shot up into the hill to the right of the bunker guarding the entrance to the green. Then the ball might just careen down the slope onto the green for an eagle try or at least a kick in birdie. Be warned that the fringes of this green are shaved down and the surface slopes mostly from front to back which rejects poor chips and pitches. Most holes set up nicely for a little fade, especially the par 5 eleventh. This cape hole has a retention lake running all down the left side and your tee shot can reach the trouble unless you cut your tee shot on the inside of the trees guarding the right side of the fairway. Any hook will find the hazard. The back tee of the par 3 seventeenth is the highest point on the course and besides the spectacular views of the course below, you can also see downtown Canton peeking just over the horizon. Listen, we could go on and on about how stunning the visuals are and how well designed the holes are. More than a handful are outright world class spectacular. You won't find many courses where a missed shot is so heartbreaking. Not because the golf course is penal, but because you feel the despair of a lost opportunity and a certain distastefulness your errant shot leaves on such a breathtaking canvas. Not to worry, there are ample chances to be the hero and make it right again. The par 4 eighteenth plays harder than it looks, especially with a little wind coming in off the pond protecting the green. The Quarry could be one of the best courses in the entire Midwest. The conditioning of the tees, fairways and greens are surprisingly good and there are far fewer raw spots in the rough than you might expect for such a young course with difficult terrain. It serves as a great credit to the Superintendent. Some residential housing is going in but from the master plan, it looks like it is limited in relation to the course. You can tell the Ownership wants this to be a top tier course and they are still doing some minor tweaking to bring out the best in this course. Great food and service are standard here, so hang around for a beer on the veranda and take in the enjoyable view overlooking the pond fronted 18th green. Great practice facility. . Range: grass • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6815

18 hole par 71 course just outside of Kent, about 25 minutes east from the I-77 and I-80 interchange and only 7 miles from the from the Rt. 14 turnpike exit. The course is rather interesting, especially the front side. Decent mounding of the green complexes and respectable separation between holes give the course a nice expansive feel. Generally semi-flat, but they tried to give you something to look at which deserves some praise. You would not normally expect to find pot bunkers on a course like this, but they are out there, lurking. There are many areas of tall grass between the trees which they call "happy grass" that provide nice separation between fairways and add to the character of the course. Fortunately, a local rule treats them as lateral hazards. Short but very inviting par 4s at eight and nine encourage you to be bold, but there is no green light here. The 9th hole green slopes severely from left to right. The back side starts fine enough, but the course sort of hits a wall at hole 13 where the next three of four holes are sawed off dogleg par fours. A weighty par three of 200 yards over water awaits the conclusion of your round. Conditions are above average and while the greens have a sneaky slope, they putt straighter than you think. The yardage seems short, but its got some length. Its those three crazy doglegs on the backside that throw everything off. Range: none • Total Tees: 3 • Total Yardage: 6299

18 solid holes located just south of Akron, about 35 minutes from the I-77/ Ohio Turnpike interchange. One or two holes are actually visible from I-77. This 1992 Brian Huntley design, just north of the Canton Regional Airport, sports his solid green complexes and design. Somewhat forgiving with several adjacent fairways with thin tree cover, there are also some holes where you must guard against hazards. With conservative bunkering and good conditioning, it is easy to see why this has been a popular course in the area. Apparently, this is one of Huntley first solo efforts. It lacks the sophistication and refinement of his later projects like the Shale Creek or Deer Ridge. The fairway contouring lacks a certain natural ebb and flow and the mounding feels a bit contrived at spots. Nevertheless, it is still a solid track with some really good holes. A great par 5 at seven begs you to bomb in down the right side over the trap to have a go at it in two. But even the longest hitter will think twice because the very narrow green is guarded in the front by a ball eating lake and in the back by a steep drop off. The par 4 ninth favors a little fade slightly downhill which then rises to a beautifully elevated green carved into the hillside with two very distinct tiers. You are virtually guaranteed a three putt if you are on the wrong tier. The finale par 5 provides another great opportunity for heroes and fools. The left fairway is safer on your tee shot, but if you can carry the creek and keep on the right side, you will have a great chance to get home in two. Long is better than short on your approach because a small creek and bunker front this green. The ample hillside backstop behind the green protects long shots. Conditions are usually very good with very good greens with gently rolling terrain with some wooded holes. Range: grass and matt • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6936

18 former county club holes located in Sevelle, about 50 minutes south of Cleveland. Rawiga came out of receivership in 2012 and now this wonderful course is available for public play. The new owners are bringing the course back to condition after a few lean years and it looks like the place is on the way up. Driving in over primarily flat farm land, you will be surprised at the elevations, mature trees and water features. Designed by old school architect E.L. Packard that showcases smallish greens, classic routing and conservative but sufficient bunkering all over fine golf terrain with no residential housing. It is said these old school courses were build on the last of the "good land" for golf. Were not 100% sure about that but smart classic design never goes out of style. The smallish greens have some serious speed and plenty of subtle breaks. Many greens have a sneaky shoulders where balls to close to the fringe easily become chip shots. Rawiga possesses some really good golf holes and both high and low handicappers can enjoy all the challenges. The par 5 sixteenth demands every shot. The tee shot needs sufficient length to make the second shot reasonable but the landing zone is narrowed by water right and trees left. Very few can go for it in two, over the lake and up over the trees on the hill on the right to the hidden green. But there is more room straight away for your layup than you might think offering and excellent wedge angle into the green for mortals. The sandwiches were pretty good and reasonably priced. Sure it's a long ride for most, but with a decent price and less crowded than your Cleveland Muny on the weekend, its worth the extra gas money. Range: none • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6711

18 hole par 72 course in Medina, about a 35 minute drive south from the I-71 and I-480 interchange using I-71. This enjoyable course has some interesting holes and a good deal of elevation changes. Several quirky doglegs keep the driver in the bag for the long hitter. The eighteenth par 3 is perhaps the most beautiful hole, with a spectacular short downhill shot to a well guarded green. Conditions are around average but pace of play and price are good. Range: none • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6241

18 hole par 70 public course located in Parma just off of Ridge Rd. This 1925 design has a lot of character and plays out over some great terrain, especially considering it is right in the middle of metropolitan Cleveland. A new management and groundskeeper philosophy has resurrected this course from the ashes of neglect. This 1925 design by George Sweda was built in the golden days where golf courses were built only where the terrain suited for them, not for a housing development. So here you find wonderful elevations changes, mature tree cover, a stylish classic layout with nice bunkering all leading to small and medium sized greens. Once top professional tournaments were played here but then came decades of neglect. From the old aerial photographs you can clearly see how the course became overgrown during the last century. In 2014 much of the overgrowth was trimmed back or removed bringing back the original avenues of play. Conditions have also vastly improved and the greens are rolling nice. Suddenly, Ridgewood is back on the golf radar again. We always said it has potential, it just needed the right people to bring it back. Not an long course by any means, yet it presents nice challenges and options to the experience golfer while being still playable for the high handicapper. The par 5 seventh's dilemma off the tee is the crossing creek which will throttle back a lot of tee shots. But if you can carry the creek, you will have a mid iron for your second shot on a par five. The par 5 sixteenth is over 600 yards long and mostly uphill. Long are the discussions on how to attack the monster of Ridgewood. Get your yardages and angles right and play the hole conservatively. The narrow par 4 seventeenth has several new and longer tee box and the plateau landing area has been opened up dramatically. Now this uphill hole is actually exciting and playable. Having five par 3s, two of which are back to back and another being the 18th hole, typically is sort of a downer. But in defenses of the course, these are very good par 3s and all remarkably different. The course is currently in the midst of a renovation and hopefully they will continue on this trajectory. The GCO will be keeping a close eye on this one. With a decent rate and great location, why not give it another look? Range: none • Total Tees: 3 • Total Yardage: 6074

18 hole par 72 course in Stow, about a 35 minute drive south from the I-77 and I-480 interchange using I-77, the Ohio Turnpike, then Route 8. Opening in 1998, this is a modern course which lies in a horse ranch that is now a housing development. Nice mounding and bunkering. The layout is very nice especially the back nine. Many doglegs, subtle elevation changes and great par 3s. They have a few seriously swaled greens here where approaches to the correct pin position is vital to avoid a three putt. Five ponds come into play on the front and creeks come into play four times on the back. A common complaint is that there are too many houses and at times they come too close to the course on the front nine. Some holes are really squeezed in here. Two awful looking nets were put up to protect homes from errant tee shots. Not very well marked and conditions are no where as good as they used to be. Scorecard has all 5 pin positions and hole layouts, but not yardages. The cart has a yardage book attached, but the pin locations do not match the score card. Need to play this one more than once to get club selection down. Very nice finishing hole par four where the largest pond is in play down the right side all the way to the green. The pond pinches into the fairway right where long knockers would like to land. Range: grass • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6859

18 holes in Columbia Station, about 8 minutes west of I-71 on Rt. 82. Par 71 for men, par 73 for women. A very flat course with slightly better than average conditions. Often hard to get on. Most of the back tees are just laid out on the ground behind the first two tee boxes and stupidly sit below the front tees. The three lakes hardly come into play. Range: none • Total Tees: 4 • Total Yardage: 6763