Muddy start of a new golf season in NE Ohio, planning trip to North Carolina
This week, I've gotten out twice, each time playing six holes, at Lost Nation Golf Club in Willoughby and Airport Greens in Willoughby Hills.
The six-hole configurations were dictated by time constraints and the fact both courses still are quite rough around the edges after the aforementioned winter. Both times I walked and was glad I did. I got some good exercise and didn't leave much of a mark.
By this time next week, I'll be just a couple of days away from joining friend and Hall of Fame golf writer George Sweda on a trip to North Carolina.
We'll start by spending five days in the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area. At the top of our to-do list is a visit to Legacy Golf Links in Aberdeen, where former Willoughby resident Brad Poplyk is beginning his 11th season as head golf professional at the top-notch course designed by Jack Nicklaus Jr.
I ran into Brad (pictured below) in February at the Cleveland Golf Show, where he drumming up business for Legacy Golf Links and Legacy Golf Packages (www.legacygolfpackage.com) , the stay-and-play enterprise headed by director of sales Steve Replogle.
Steve wants us to check out some of the courses that are most popular with his stay-and-play regulars, including Dormie Club.
While in the Sandhills area, George and I will participate in media day at the famed Pinehurst No.2 course, home this June in successive weeks to the U.S. Opens for men and women. It's the first time these major tournaments ever have been staged on the same course in the same year.
On the way home from Pinehurst, we'll spend two days in Asheboro, N.C., a highly underrated destination that's home to some great golf courses and the world-class North Carolina Zoo. Been there before and am anxious to get back.
We'll wrap the trip with two days in the Yadkin Valley area in the northern part of North Carolina near the Virginia border. I've passed through the area many times but have never stayed to sample the golf and wineries.
Once back in Ohio, I'm looking forward to a busy season on the "Affordabili-TEES'' front.
It's my firm intent to do a better job showcasing local courses as well as stay-and-play golf destinations within easy driving distance.
At the Golf Show, I identified the following destinations as must-do stories for this season.
- Mercer County and Butler County, both in western Pennsylvania. There are dozens of courses in these locales that are reasonably priced and come highly recommended on websites where traveling golfers offer reviews of the courses they've played and the places they've stayed.
- Pine Lakes Penn-Ohio Golf Trail. There are 30 courses in this umbrella service in Ohio (Trumbull and Mahoning counties) and Mercer County, Pa.
- Tuscarawas County, OH. There are 11 courses in the stay-and-play package presented at the Golf Show, none of which I've ever played. It takes a little more than two hours to get there, which makes me wonder why I've never played any of them. That will be remedied this season.
- Great Indiana Golf Packages. Made my first visit to this destination in Northeast Indiana last summer and was blown away by the quality of the courses and the value. Played three of the eight courses in the stay-and-play package. Would love to play the other five this summer. Doubled up with a trip to Fort Wayne to watch the Lake County Captains play the TinCaps in one of the best ballparks in all of minor-league baseball.