The trip began at the Donald Ross designed Shaker Heights Country Club in Shaker Heights with my friend Rick Phoenix who I hadn't seen in a couple years. It was great to catch up with him and play a wonderful Ross course.
Our pace at Shaker Heights was very good for a Friday afternoon so I started thinking about playing somewhere else that afternoon. Rick insisted I try to play Mayfield Country Club. I hadn't heard of it, but he said I wouldn't be disappointed. I called them and they were nice enough to let me come play. I was very glad I took his advice. A very cool, fun course with lots of great, quirky holes. Mayfield is located in South Euclid and was designed by their first head professional, W.H. "Bertie" Way in 1911. Mr. Way famously went on to design the original South course at Firestone Country Club.
Day two of the trip began at another big surprise, Elyria Country Club designed by William Flynn. I have played most of the courses designed by William Flynn from living in the Philadelphia area for many years, but I wasn't expecting to see this level of variety and creative bunkering on a surprisingly undulating piece of property.
After my round at Elyria, I made the drive to the town of Chardon for a round at Sand Ridge Golf Club designed by Tom Fazio in 1998. The course is a solid high end Fazio course with lots of very pretty and pleasant holes.
Day three of my trip saw a tremendous 54 hole day of golf that began at the Pete Dye designed Avalon Lakes Golf Club in Warren.
The Pete Dye theme continued with a round at Fowler's Mill in Chesterland. This highly ranked public course is a 1971 Pete Dye design. In his early years, Dye relied more on contour and creativity to create challenge instead of the bunkering we see in his later designs. I was very impressed by the simplicity of the course.
My final round on day three was Stonewater Golf Club in Highland Heights. This 1996 Hurzdan/Fry design has appeared in the various top 100 public course lists over the years. The large cloverleaf shaped bunkers we often see from Hurzdan/Fry are very prominent at this course.
The final day of my Ohio trip brought a round at one of the most fun golf courses I have ever played, Congress Lake Club in Hartville. The original course here was designed by Willie Park Jr in 1919. Donald Ross re-designed the course in 1926 using Park's holes from eight to eighteen and creating several new holes by the lake. I can not emphasize enough just how much fun this course is to play. It has lots of dramatic elevation changes, interesting angles and some amazing small contoured greens.
|5th Hole in foreground with 2nd in background|