10 of the Best Golf Courses in Ohio
The things that make a great golf course will vary depending on who you ask. Some people like lots of hazards, and difficult, high-par courses, while others prefer scenic, easier fairways.
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What makes a good golf course? According to course architects, there are many aspects that must work together to make a course enjoyable to play and experience, and many of these follow the principles of artistic and architectural design: line, flow, color, scale, etc. While you may not think about these things consciously when on the course, they will impact your experience and how you feel while playing, and course architects consider all of these things seriously. What kind of turf or grass would suit the environment best? How many hazards should be present? Are water hazards possible/sustainable on a course in this area? Often, the best courses are those that utilize their natural environment to the best of their abilities, melding natural features like hills and water with artificial features.
However, to some people golf is more than just the course itself. The prestige and exclusivity of the establishment matters to some, while others prefer public, open courses. Sometimes, the other amenities offered with courses are just as important. No matter what is most important to you in a golf course, you’ll be able to find one that fits your ideal in Ohio. Here’s a list of 10 of the best golf courses in Ohio.
Top Rated Golf Courses
In a search for the best golf courses in Ohio, a few names stand out over and over as the “‘top-rated” courses in the state. These ratings are combined from amateur and professional player input, as well as input from course architects and golf magazines/websites/etc. So here, in no particular order, are some of the top-ranked courses:
Blacklick Woods Championship course
7309 E Livingston Ave Reynoldsburgh, OH 43068
The Blacklick Woods Championship Golf Course is part of the Columbus and Franklin County group, MetroParks. The MetroParks were established in 1945 and compromise 20 natural park areas covering 27,500 acres of land in seven central Ohio counties.
The Course is notable for a few different things. Of the course’s total 234 acres, 40 are set aside as natural area, and the course is certified by Audubon International “as a Cooperative Sanctuary for their comprehensive environmental management and protection of wildlife habitats.” The course was developed and built with the intent to aid in the protection and enhancement of the natural surroundings. The course also has and offers two “solo adaptive golf carts” in addition to normal golf carts. These carts are built so that people who cannot stand or golf in the traditional sense can play from tee to green without having to leave the cart.
The course is also home to “First Tee of Central Ohio”, a nationally recognized outreach program “that teaches life skills and leadership through the game of golf to youth age 7 to 17,” and last year, the program had over 1,000 participants. From its start as a 10-week summer program, First Tee is now held year-round.
In winter, part of the course also becomes a sledding hill for families and people of all ages to enjoy.
2196 Riverside Drive, Columbus, OH 43221
Availability: Members Only
Located two miles to the northwest of downtown Columbus, the Scioto Course is famous as the location where Jack Nicklaus (regarded by many as the greatest golfer of all time) got his start. The course hosted the 1926 US Open, the 1931 Ryder Cup, and the 1950 PGA Championship. The course was originally designed by famed course architect Donald Ross, but it was changed significantly by Dick Wilson in the 190s before undergoing another redesign by Jack Nicklaus and Michael Hurdzan in 2008 to rebuild the greens to modern USGA standards. The course is noted today for its good use of the natural landscape in creating its gentle slopes and seemingly natural greens, as well as its favoring of thought and problem solving rather than pure power to complete the course well.
The Virtues Course
One Long Drive Nashport, OH 43830
The Virtues golf course was listed as the number one public golf course in Ohio by Golf Digest in 2015 and 2016. Designed by Arthur Hills, the course opened in 1999 with a design aimed to blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings. The wide fairways and greens are lined with mature trees, and many holes offer sweeping views of the surrounding landscapes. One notable feature of the course is its design featuring multiple tees per hole to emphasize different challenges. The course is located 40 miles from downtown Columbus, and the club offers programs for both adults and children.
5588 Wedgewood Road Medina, OH 44256
The Medina Country Club golf course consists of a typical eighteen hole course and a nine hole course. Both are notable for their frequent use of difficult water hazards in combination with long fairways. The club boasts fast true greens and a variety of tees to accommodate a wide range of skill and experience levels. The club welcomes golf outings and events for members that include everything from personalized scorecards to prize table set-up and special event management.
Little Mountain Course
7667 Hermitage Rd Concord, OH 44077
The Little Mountain Country Club opened in 2000, but just six short years after its opening, the club received a coveted five-star rating from Golf Digest in 2006. The course is known for “Mature wooded grounds, ample fairways” and “exquisite bunkering”, on top of which, players can get fantastic views over Lake Erie. The green is wide enough that players of average skill levels can finish a game with a good score. In addition, the club often features live music in its clubhouse and outside on its patio, as well as an outside bar area that seats over 200 people with a view of the final hole of the course.
Westfield Group Country Club Courses
6500 Greenwich Rd Westfield Center, Ohio 44251
Opened in 1937 with a nine-hole course, the Westfield Group Country Club has expanded over the years to boast multiple 18-hole courses, as well as other amenities including an Olympic-size swimming pool, Inn, and fitness center. The club prides itself on its top-notch member service. However, it is worth noting that the club has a strict dress code policy with specific instructions for golfers. Men are to wear golf shorts or slacks with golf shirts, and women are required to wear golf shorts/skirts or slacks with golf shirts. Denim clothing is not permitted, and spikes worn are to be non-metal.
5650 Quarry Lake Dr SE East Canton, OH 44730
The Quarry Golf Club is an incredibly unique course located minutes from downtown Canton. Built in an old quarry from the 1800s (hence the name!) and opened in 2007, this course is target-style with five tee points per hole to allow all different skill levels to play. Despite its history as a quarry, the areas lining the greens are heavily wooded, with native grasses and rock outcroppings framing the areas around each hole. The club offers a full practice facility, complete with chipping, putting, and target greens that they recommend warming-up on before your appointed tee-time, and the clubhouse features scenic views of all the surrounding landscapes with rooms for events as well as a restaurant. In addition, the course was named #1 in Ohio by golfclevelandohio.com and also boasts an award for most beautiful landscaping.
Canterbury Golf Club
22000 S Woodland Rd Cleveland, OH 44122
The Canterbury Golf Club is recognized as on of the America’s Top 100 golf courses as rated by Golf Digest, Golf, and Golfweek magazines. The course was built in 1921 by Herbert Strong with the intent to embrace the area’s natural topography, resulting in a difficult yet fair course. The finishing three holes are apparently considered by many to be “ the best three finishing holes in golf.” Relatively unchanged from 1921 onwards, the course underwent a full renovation in 2016. The Canterbury Golf Club has hosted many prestigious tournaments over the years, including the US Open, PGA Championship, Senior Open, US Amateur Championship, and the Senior PGA Championship. The club itself also offers amenities such as tennis courts, a fitness center, a swimming pool, multiple dining establishments, and golf practice facilities.
Tee times must be booked ahead of time.
The StoneWater Golf Course
One Club Dr Highland Heights, OH 44143
Opened in 1996 with a course designed Hurzdan and Frye, the StoneWater Golf Club is a notable stop for professionals, guests, and members of all skill levels alike. The course is noted for its landscaping, including wetlands, lakes, streams, waterfalls, and sandstone accents. Over the years, the course has won many accolades, including:
- Golf Digest Top 30 in the country; 2002-2006
- Golf Digest Best Golf Courses in Ohio, #9; 1999, 2005-2006
- US Open Local Qualifier: 2002, 2003, 2004
- US Mid-Amateur Local Qualifier: 2005
- Nationwide Tour Legend Financial Group Classic Host: 2005-2007
- Division I & II State Sectionals Host: 2009
There is a 3500 sq. ft. practice area at the course, as well as 3 private teaching areas. Members have the additional benefits of locker spaces, bag storage, handicap services, the ability to ship clubs to vacation destinations, 14-day advanced tee time bookings, special golf programs, and more.
Shaker Run Course
4361 Greentree Rd Lebanon, OH 45036
Recognized as the #2 Public Golf Course in Ohio by Golf Digest, the Shaker Run Golf Courses are a good stop for any golf enthusiast. The original 18 holes of the course were designed by Arthur Hills in 1979, and another nine holes (the Meadows course) was built in 1999 by Hurzdan and Frye. The course in known for its Bent Grass fairways and its use of water hazards on 14 holes with sculpted bunkers and beautiful woodscapes, and it has hosted many events, including:
- The Kroger Senior Tournament Qualifier
- Nike Miami Valley Tournament
- the 1998 Ohio Amateur Championship
- The 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship
In addition to its golf, the course and its clubhouse were named the “Best Pick of 2010” by The Knot magazine as the best wedding ceremony and reception site near Cincinnati, as chosen by a poll of brides.
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