Starter: I found this course by accident. It’s just over a mile south of the exit between where the Ohio Turnpike ends and the Indiana Tollway begins in the northwest edge of Ohio. I pulled in to the modest looking course to see if I could play a quick nine. Sure, said the man behind the counter. “How much abuse do you want?” he asked. “The front nine is wide open and kind of easy, but our back nine has what we call The Valley of Death.” "Well," I said, "I’d hate to miss The Valley of Death." So I took on the back nine and had it to myself. There was rolling terrain and a smattering of trees and one or two water hazards with unusual holes that were so quirky I enjoyed the heck out of it.
Play because …: You should measure yourself against a stretch of holes nicknamed The Valley of Death. It sounds special, plus it provides an alibi if the holes are messed up (“Well, I made two triples but, hey, it is The Valley of Death for a reason … ”) and if you dominate TVoD, you’ve got a reason to crow.
Takeaway: This is a low-budget course with low-budget maintenance — the greens run a little slow and there’s an ongoing war against ant hills — but the course isn’t long, so its unique holes are playable and fun.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | beverage: 5
Pro shop: 5
Pace of play: 8.5
Best par 3: No. 13 (166 yards). An uphill par 3 to a green complex atop a plateau, flanked by trees left, and a false front that really needs to be carried. This shot plays a club longer than expected and that makes it a demanding par.
Best par 4: No. 12 (389 yards). The clubhouse guy was vague, but I believe this hole kicks off The Valley of Death stretch. The fairway is a narrow, tree-lined trough that is reminiscent of a bowling lane. It’s tree-lined, with a hillside left and a hidden stream right. It’s a tee shot that makes causes a player to pucker, but if the fairway is hit — OK, it’s a big if — this is not a difficult hole. Just scary looking.
Best par 5: No. 15 (520 yards). The green is visible straight-away off in the distance atop a hillside, but the fairway veers right to avoid a fescue-lined pond, then slopes downhill and intersects — seriously — with the fifth fairway. A wooded area divides the holes, with a small sign pointing left for No. 15 and right for No. 5. A hard fade will be required to hit the fairway with the layup shot left of the trees and from there, it’s an uphill pitch.
RATED BY: Gary Van Sickle
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