Green With Envy
Unsuspecting Cleveland is really a golfer's paradise
By Denise Koeth, Image by Cleveland Metroparks
If you're heading to Cleveland in the spring or summer, pack your golf clubs. With more than 250 courses from which to choose, Northeast Ohio offers links for every budget and handicap.
In fact, the Greater Cleveland area is among the highest in the nation for number of holes per capita -- stiff competition that makes for high quality at affordable prices, according to Allen Freeman, publisher of the Northeast Ohio Golf website.
"We have the highest end private clubs that are on the Top 100 list of every golf magazine and we have tons of great public access courses that are really affordable," he said. "The golf courses we play here for $35-$40 would be $75-$80 in Chicago or New York."
Members-only spots include the prestigious Canterbury Golf Club, Kirtland Country Club, Brookside Country Club and Firestone Country Club, among others. Don't have a friend who can get you in? Don't worry -- there are plenty of options for average Joes and wannabe pros.
The Cleveland Metroparks alone offers eight courses throughout the region, from the beginner-friendly par 3 at Shawnee Hills, located in Bedford, to the challenging championship layout of Brecksville's Sleepy Hollow. For the shortest commute from Downtown, check out Washington Golf Course in Newburgh Heights, which offers a 9-hole course and accompanying driving range. If playing a game designed by notable course architects is on your Cleveland bucket list, don't miss Sleepy Hollow, designed by Stanley Thompson, and the Donald Ross-designed Manakiki, located in Willoughby Hills.
Outside of the Metroparks' offerings, particularly challenging courses include Streetsboro's Boulder Creek, with more than 100 feet of elevation changes, and Chardon Lakes, located in Chardon, with 43 sand traps and water in play on 11 of 18 holes. In other words, pack some extra balls.
Throughout Northeast Ohio, there's an abundance of hidden gems -- affordable courses that are well-designed and in great condition, according to Freeman -- including Fowler's Mill in Chesterland, Windmill Lakes in Ravenna, Chippewa Golf Club in Doylestown, Shale Creek in Medina, and Pine Hills in Hinckley.
No matter which course you choose, provisions will be close at hand, as the majority of courses have equipment shops and restaurants on site.