Course: Avon Fields Golf Course
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Course architect: Unknown. Note: The architect was not Donald Ross as has been widely publicized.
From the tips: 4,963 yards
Saturday morning green fee: $ (Under $50)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: Yes
Greens: Poa annua
Starter: This century-old muni has been revitalized by a commitment to junior golf from its staff and a devoted corps of volunteers who recognize the need for simplicity in an unnecessarily complex modern game. But even if you no longer qualify for the bargain junior rate ($10, with a $6 annual membership), Avon Fields unfurls a welcome mat for a fun round. The compact, early-20th-century routing across rolling terrain can be comfortably navigated on foot.
Play because …: So, you gripe that golf costs too much, takes too much time and is too highfalutin? Then Avon Fields is your answer. It’s walkable, affordable and, on many days, plays at a reasonable pace for a busy track that logs nearly 26,000 rounds annually, according to Rob Higby, who oversees Cincinnati’s six munis for Billy Casper Golf. Enjoy the workout with your short irons. Other than the 432-yard fourth hole, all of the par 4s are less than 400 yards. Early 20th-century housing rings the perimeter of the course, but the routing takes advantage of the naturally rolling terrain in the “City of Seven Hills.” Canted fairways and run-up options to the greens promote interesting shot-making. You’ll walk off the 18th green with that increasingly elusive feeling in the modern game: vigor from an enjoyable walk amid a classic, no-frills parkland layout.
Takeaway: If you’re a scratch player who is seeking to test your game against one of Cincinnati’s muscular daily-fee tracks, then look elsewhere. Plenty of well-conditioned, 7,000-yard modern options exist in the suburbs. Nonetheless, players of all abilities should enjoy the small, demanding green complexes. The longer hitters will salivate over the drivable par 4s at Nos. 3, 10 and 11. The six par 3s range from 142 to 177 yards and play mostly short- and mid-irons. This is an everyman’s link to golf’s understated U.S. origins.
>> Small ballpark, big history
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | beverage: 5
Pro shop: 5
Pace of play: 8
THE COURSE (Scorecard)
Best par 3: No. 16 (156 yards). A short-iron approach to a wide green with varied hole locations.
Best par 4: No. 13 (351 yards). From an elevated chute and view northward, the hole plays slightly downhill to a bunkered green.
Best par 5: None. The slightly uphill 432-yard No. 4 can play like one, depending on the conditions.
RATED BY: Steve Harmon