Whether it’s the challenge of a Nicklaus Design course, the history of a William S. Flynn layout or the beauty of 18 holes surrounded by nature, Lorain County has the best that golf can offer. Long-hitters, shot-makers and short-game specialists can find plenty of enjoyment on area layouts this year. And while the Northern Ohio golf season is a short one, players of all skill levels can take advantage of special rates and competitive membership deals. puLse takes a look at the best the county has to offer for great golf, delicious food and memorable special events.
VALLEY OF THE EAGLES GOLF CLUB
1100 Gulf Road, Elyria | 440-365-1411
AS THE ONLY NICKLAUS DESIGN DAILY FEE GOLF COURSE IN NORTHERN OHIO, Valley of the Eagles reflects the beauty of the Black River Valley. The fairways are lined by mature Elm, Oak and Ash trees, and the course features steep valleys, challenging hills, rock outcroppings and a 10-story shale cliff. Island tees and island greens add to the challenge for visiting golfers.
The Nicklaus Design team did such an incredible job on the former Spring Valley Country Club site that the Troon Golf managed Valley of the Eagles was named as Best U.S. Remodel in the December 2018 issue of Golf Magazine. The magazine called the course “a fun, compelling new spread with standouts that include the 276-yard par 3 fifth hole, which demands an approach over water and bunkers to an elevated green.”
“That was a great, great honor,” says Valley of the Eagles General Manager Ray Metz of the Golf Magazine award. “This course is playable for all levels of golfers, and there is a lot of risk and reward as you move back on the tees. The Black River comes into play on 11 of the 18 holes.” There are several noteworthy holes on the course, including the par 4 14th hole, playing 374 yards from the back tees with both an island tee and an island green. The second and 11th holes are par 5, running parallel to each other with 50-foot elevation changes from tee to green.
With affordable greens fees during the week and on weekends, Valley of the Eagles also offers two annual golf passes for the 2019 season — an individual pass that includes unlimited play, cart fees for $2,000 and a buddy pass for four players at a rate of $10,000.
The beauty of the surroundings makes Valley of the Eagles a perfect setting for dining, weddings and special events. The Black River Tavern, with handcrafted walnut tables and wood accents from timber harvested from the course, serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch to golfers and non-golfers alike. The Tavern is known for its cozy yet sophisticated atmosphere with exceptional food, signature cocktails and a rotating craft beer selection.
The second phase of the course remodel continues this year with an outdoor deck accommodating up to 350 and an indoor venue seating 250. A second restaurant offering fine dining is also in the works.
LEGACY GOLF COURSE/SWEETBRIAR GOLF CLUB
750 Jaycox Road, Avon Lake | 440-933-9001
The Sweetbriar Golf Club has been a popular destination for Lorain County golfers for decades. As a shorter layout, the course attracts public golfers of beginning and moderate skill levels.
In recent years, players have been flocking to Sweetbriar’s new Legacy Golf Course, which has become popular thanks to conditioning rivaling that of a private course. Legacy’s front nine opened in 2002, and the back nine was ready for play in 2007, offering two different landscapes that serve to award players with a diverse 18 holes.
In recent years, players have been flocking to Sweetbriar’s new Legacy Golf Course, which has become popular thanks to conditioning rivaling that of a private course. Legacy’sOn Legacy’s front nine, golfers will find a linksstyle layout with winding fairways and large greens. On the back nine, players will be faced with a wooded landscape and more traditional East Coast feel with natural wetlands and riskreward par 5s. front nine opened in 2002, and the back nine was ready for play in 2007, offering two different landscapes that serve to award players with a diverse 18 holes.
“Legacy is our big draw,” says Kevin Moore, Sweetbriar’s director of golf and head pro. “It’s a public course, but we keep it in perfect condition. It’s finely manicured, and I would rank it right up there with the best of the private courses, if not better.”
Legacy is also very playable for the average golfer, with four tees and a yardage of 6,557 from the back tees. “Any skill level of player will feel comfortable here,” says Moore. “What makes us unique is that Legacy is a challenge for skilled players, but it’s also fair for junior golfers.”
A popular home course for high school teams, Legacy serves as the home track for boys’ and girls’ teams from Avon Lake and Bay and the girls’ team from Magnificat.
The Legacy Restaurant and Grille offers American cuisine with other eclectic influences, as well as small plates, salads, burgers and sandwiches. Outdoor seating provides great views of the course.
RED TAIL GOLF CLUB
4400 Nagel Road, Avon | 440-937-6018
NAMED FOR THE RED TAIL HAWKS THAT FREQUENT THE GOLF COURSE, Red Tail Golf Club is situated on 400 acres of what was once farmland. The formerly flat land has been transformed into a superb layout that has gained a stellar reputation among area golfers who enjoy its challenges as well as the natural setting.
With bent grass tees, greens and fairways and pro angle sand bunkers, Red Tail features 16 lakes on its course. The course has been named on the Fox 8 Hot List for Best Golf Course for eight years running.
Red Tail, which offers full and daylight membership programs, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The 20,000-square-foot clubhouse has indoor and outdoor dining venues, and the Red Tail Room offers dining with grill and clubhouse specialty menus and a patio cafe that operates seasonally.
The club’s St. Andrews Room is an intimate setting for family gatherings, meetings or a night out with friends and overlooks Red Tail’s 10th tee with access to an outdoor deck. The larger Carnegie Room can accommodate groups of up to 175 and an outdoor gazebo is a perfect spot for weddings.
The club’s modern fitness center includes treadmills, ellipticals, spin and recumbent bicycles and free weights in addition to a recently renovated locker room. For non-golfers, a swimming pool and tennis courts are available for use in season.
“We’ve done a major patio expansion with custom bocce ball courts and fire pits,” says Ann Zitello, Red Tail’s administrative director. “And our outdoor kitchen now has a wood-fired pizza oven.”
Red Tail plays at 7,000 from the back tees with a more manageable 6,600 yards from the blue tees and 5,900 from the white tees. The course has hosted several national junior tournaments, as well as U.S. Open qualifiers.
ELYRIA COUNTRY CLUB
41625 Oberlin Elyria Road, Elyria | 440-322-6391
One of the oldest private clubs in Ohio, Elyria Country Club was founded in 1905. Renowned golf course architect William S. Flynn, who also designed such iconic courses as Merion, Shinnecock Hills and Cherry Hills, created the layout.
At 6,736 yards from the championship tees, Flynn’s design features tree-lined fairways with water coming into play on 10 holes. While the course was built in 1925, Elyria’s modern facilities and youthful energy give the club a contemporary feel. What results is an ideal combination of history and tradition with state-ofthe- art amenities.
COLUMBIA HILLS COUNTRY CLUB
16200 E. River Road, Columbia Station | 440-236-5051
THE 166 ACRES that make up Columbia Hills Country Club were originally intended for use as a pig farm. All of that changed when owner George L. Williams hired Harold Paddock to design a golf course in 1927.
And what a course Paddock created. The Tudorstyle clubhouse still stands, and Columbia Hills is one of the most scenic layouts in all the state. The par 71 championship course is intertwined with challenging hills, as well as the West Branch of the Rocky River, which is in play on a third of the 18 holes. The course’s natural terrain is enhanced by eyepleasing gardens and mature trees.
Columbia Hills members Fred and Kathy Ode liked the place so much they purchased it in 2014 and came up with a simple philosophy — Golf, Family and Friends.
“They rescued the club,” Michael Jaeger, head pro, says of the Odes. “As of this year, we have the most members we have had since the beginning of the club. Mr. Ode has done a ton of improvements. It’s been his mission to make the club self-sustainable.
Golf, social and corporate memberships are available at Columbia Hills, and all members enjoy the grill room, the Columbia Room for private events and a popular patio area that has become the focal point of the club during the golf season.