Blogs > DSG's Affordabili-TEES

News-Herald Staff Writer David S. Glasier has been playing golf for over 50 years and writing about it for over 30. Always operating on a tight budget, Glasier is on a lifelong quest to find good courses to play at affordable prices.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Muddy start of a new golf season in NE Ohio, planning trip to North Carolina

     Let the record show that for this intrepid Northeast Ohio golfer, the golf season finally is underway after one of the longest, nastiest winters in recent memory.
     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.
         

 

Friday, August 9, 2013

"DSG's Affordabili-TEES'' in Northeast Indiana

          Great Indiana Golf Packages
    Best Western Kendallville Inn
    621 Professional Way, Kendallville, Ind. 46755
    Stay-and-play-rates: $75 to $219, double occupancy
    Website: www.greatindianagolf.com
    Phone: (260) 347-5263; (866) 719-4608

    Glendarin Hills Golf Club
    3333 Glendarin Way, Angola, Ind., 46703
    Par/yardages: 72/ 5,186 (red); 5,878 (green); 6,283 (blue); 7,055 (gold)
    Greens fees: $40 to $55, or Great Indiana Golf stay-and-play package.
    Website: www.glendarinhills.com
    Phone: (260) 624-3550

    Noble Hawk Golf Links
    3005 Noble Hawk Dr., Kendallville, Ind. 46755
    Par/yardages: 71/ 4,941 (red); 5,313 (gold); 6,007 (white); 6,411 (green); 6,817 (black)
    Greens fees: $28 to $45, or Great Indiana Golf stay-and-play package.
    Website: www.noblehawk.com
    Phone: (260) 349-0900; (888) 465-3321

    Cobblestone Golf Course
    2702 Cobblestone Lane, Kendallville, Ind., 46755
    Par/yardages: 72/ 4,734 (green); 5,812 (silver); 6,447 (gold); 6,976 (black)
    Greens fees: $29 to $46, or Great Indiana Golf stay-and-play package.
     Website: www.cobblestonegc.com
     Phone: (260) 349-1560; (877) 867-4654

     As surprising golf travel experiences go, they don't get much better than the one I just had in Northeast Indiana.
     In two action-packed days, accompanied by Cleveland-area businessman Ray Murphy, I played three of the seven courses included in the Great Indiana Golf Packages stay-and-play portfolio.
     We played Glendarin Hills Golf Club in Angola on Day One.
     On Day Two, we played an early-morning round at Noble Hawk Golf Links and a late-morning round at Cobblestone Golf Course, both in Kendallville.
     From relative proximity to Northeast Ohio to outstanding playing conditions, comfortable lodging, golfer-friendly pricing and Hoosier State hospitality, the trip was a rousing success.
     The trek had its roots at the Cleveland Golf Show in January. While working my way across the exhibit floor at the I-X Center, I met Rick Hullett, representing Great Indiana Golf Packages.
     Hullett told me about the seven courses in the stay-and-play packages based at the Best Western hotel in Kendallville. He gave me some brochures and business card and asked me to stay in touch.
     A few months later, I revisited the brochure and did web research on the seven courses, the hotel and the price points of the stay-and-play packages.
     The courses were intriguing, the hotel appeared to be nice and the prices were eye-openers in the affordable sense.
     That the courses were in the same neck of the woods as Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League, was icing on the cake.
     Weather permitting, Ray and I would augment golf at Glendarin on Day One with an evening excursion to Fort Wayne to watch the Lake County Captains play the TinCaps.
     Ray is minority owner of the Captains, a team I'd been covering since they arrived in Eastlake in 2003. We'd both heard Parkview Field was one of the best venues in minor-league baseball.
     The trip to Northeast Indiana went off without a hitch. We departed from the parking lot at Classic Park at 7:10 a.m., worked our way west to Cleveland and got on the Ohio Turnpike in Lorain County.
     Continuing on the Indiana Toll Road, we got off at the first exit and took Route 69 south to Angola. At 10:30 a.m., we were in parking lot at Glendarin Hills well in advance of our 11 a.m. tee time.
     Glendarin Hills set the bar high for the quality of golf we'd experience during our stay in Northeast Indiana. Living up to its name, Glendarin Hills offered rolling terrain and plenty of elevation change, none of it severe.
     We played the blue tees at 6,300 yards and found the course to be eminently fair. The front nine is bookended by par-4s, the 370-yard 1st and 362-yard 9th holes, the back nine by par-5s, the 520-yard 10th and 475-yard 18TH holes.
     The best of the par-3s, with the green guarded by water, is the 164-yard 13th.
     Although the greens had recently been top-dressed, putts ran quick and smooth.
     Noble Hawk offers two golf experiences for the price of one. The front nine is Midwest links. The back nine is tree-lined parkland until you return to links for the final three holes.
     We thought about playing the white tees (6,007 yards) but opted for green (6,411 yards).
     You need to think your way around Noble Hawk, starting with the par-4, 391-yard 1st hole. Doglegging hard to the right, the hole requires a tee shot over grassy waste area to a slightly elevated fairway. Distance control and accuracy are at a premium.
     On the par-5, 519-yard 4th hole, quickly survey the forward areas of the hole before hitting your second shot. With water on the left and nasty rough on the right, blasting away without a plan makes no sense.
     A similar approach would serve you well on the par-5, 542-yard 13th hole.
     The par-4, 411-yard 9th and par-549-yard 18th wrap around the same lake and are first-rate finishing holes.
     At Cobblestone, we played from the gold tees (6,447) and found it to be a stern but fair test.
     Particular favorites for me are the par-5 498-yard 3rd, par-4, 278-yard 4th, par-3, 169-yard 12th and par-4, 391-yard 15th holes.
     Given the experiences we had playing these three courses, I wish there'd have been time enough on this to visit the other four included in Great Indiana Golf Packages - Bridgewater Golf Links in Auburn, Autumn Ridge Golf Club and Cherry Hill Golf Club in Fort Wayne and Indian Hills in Centreville, Mich., about 45 minutes north of Angola.
     As close as these courses are to Northeast Ohio, every effort will be made to do just that in the near future.
     Accommodations at the Best Western in Kendallville were clean, comfortable, friendly and centrally located. It takes less than 15 minutes to travel from the hotel to Noble Hawk and Cobblestone.
     Travel times to the other courses vary from 30 to 45 minutes.

Glendarin Hills
 
Noble Hawk
 
Cobblestone
 
 

          
 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'': Great morning at Sugarbush Golf Club

    
     Sugar Bush Golf Club
     11186 State Rt. 88
      Garrettsville, OH 44231
      Par/yardages: 72; 4,627 to 6,571 yards
      Greens fees: $21 to $38, 18 holes and cart
      Website: www,sugarbushgolf.com
      Phone: 330-527-4202
    
     Every once in a while, a plan works exactly as envisioned.
     That happened when assistant sports editor Guy Cipriano and yours truly made plans for a day trip that combined a round at Sugar Bush Golf Club with a visit to Eastwood Field in Niles to watch the Mahoning Valley Scrappers play the State College (Pa.) Spikes.
      The golf was my idea.
      Sugar Bush, in Portage County about eight miles south of Rt. 422 of State Route 88, is one of my favorite courses in Northeast Ohio. Tough and scenic, there isn't a  hole I don't like on the Harold Paddock Sr. design that opened in 1965.
        Guy joined The News-Herald in February after spending a number of years at the Centre Daily Times in State College. While there, his beats included the  Spikes and the Penn State Nittany Lions. An enthusiastic golfer with a solid game, he was intrigued by my description of Sugar Bush and some of the holes that have made it a favorite of area golfers.
        I made it a point not to over-sell the par-72 layout owned from the Kovac family. However, I did advise Guy to bring his "A'' game and prepare to make a return visit to Sugar Bush in short order.
       Allowing for a 50-minute drive from our meeting point at Classic Park in Eastlake, a 7:30 a.m. tee time to give us plenty of room for a leisurely round. We needed to be finished in time for me to be at Eastwood Field by noon or so to begin an interview with Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak.
      It took us 45 minutes to get there, going I-271 south to Rt. 422 East to Mumford Rd. to S.R. 88. We got to the pro shop at 7:20 a.m. and were on the first tee by 7:25.  Turned out we would be the "dew-busters,'' or the first players on the course that day.
      Guy and I both prefer to walk. He carried. I used a pull cart. At my request, we played the white tees. From there, the course measures just under 6,200 yards at a par of 72..
      As indicated earlier, I think every hole at Sugar Bush has its merits.
      The par-5, 476-yard first hole offers opportunities for scoring but demands a drive that is accurate and long enough to give you a bona fide shot of clearing the water hazard that comes into play on the second  shot.
       Length and accuracy are required, too, on the par-4, 416-yard third and par-4, 430-yard seventh holes. The latter hole is particularly demanding with a creek guarding a narrow opening to the green.
       Walk away with pars on the par-5, 503 -yard eighth and par-4, 428-yard ninth holes, and you should be pleased.

        The back nine is 450 yards shorter than the front but, for my money, is just as if not more demanding than the front.
        As short par-4s go, they don't come much more challenging than the par-4, 324-yard 13th at Sugar Bush. From the white tees, you need to place a 170-yard tee shot in the center or center-left of a fairway that doglegs sharply left and up a steep hill to a green with a back-to-front slope.
        The par-4, 290-yard 16th is one of the best driving holes in the area. You can bust one, but the margins for error left and right are small. On the day we played, Guy smacked a bullet up the gut and left himself just a flip wedge that gave him a good birdie chance.
        Although the par-5, 486-yard 17th hole is neither tricky nor difficult, be advised a too robust approach shot may well disappear into a row of 7-foot-high hedges framing the back of the green.
        The finishing hole is a par-4, 347-yard beauty with an elevated tee, hourglass fairway and devilish bunker in the landing area for tee shots.
        If you haven't ever played Sugar Bush or haven't been there recently, you need to do so ASAP.    


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'' in West Virginia: Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa


Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa
     Lakeview Course
     1 Lakeview Dr., Morgantown, WV 26508
     Par, yardages: 72; 5,426 to 6,760
     Stay-and-play: Per-person golf packages range from $130 (Spring/Fall, one night) to $450 (Three Night/Four Day).
     Website: www.lakeviewresort.com
     Phone: (304) 594-1111; (800) 624-8300
    
     Our tour of West Virginia golf venues ended on a decidedly upbeat note with a round on the Lakeview Course at this popular resort.
     I'd never before visited Lakeview, but the place felt familiar and friendly as the bus carrying yours truly and eight other golf-travel writers pulled up to the entrance of the main lodge.
     As near as I can reckon, this resort opened in the early 1970s and has remained a popular destination for golf travelers from Ohio, Pennsylvania and other neighboring states.
     The user-friendly price structure of the resort's stay-and-play packages has much to do with the enduring popularity of this golf destination. So does geography and accessibility from Interstate 79.
     In addition to the main lodge, Lakeview Resort and Spa has cottages and manor houses available at reasonable rates. The resort offers a nice array of amenities, from a restaurant and bar to first-rate fitness center.
     The resort has two courses - Lakeview and Mountainview. We played the Lakeview Course, which fully opened in 1954 and is the older of the two.
     From the par-4, 317-yard first hole to the par-5, 620 yard 18th hole, the Lakeview Course serves up an enticing blend of challenge and scenic beauty. The putting surfaces were first-rate.
     Especially on the front nine, there are outstanding vistas of nearby Cheat Lake.
     This overview is being written about 10 days after my stay at Lakeview. The resort gets mixed reviews from guests who've chosen to submit comments on travel websites.
     Most of the complaints center on the condition of rooms in the main lodge. In the opinions of those former guests, the rooms are in need of updating.
     I was there for only one night, but I would say the place has held up well. My room wasn't posh, but it was clean and comfortable.
     A fellow guest with whom I spoke at some length said he and his family were spending six nights in one of the manor houses while in Morgantown for a wedding.
     He wasn't a golfer, but said he and the others staying in the manor house were having a fine time.
     

    

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'' in West Virginia: Stonehaven Course, The Resort at Glade Springs


The Resort at Glade Springs
Stonehaven Course
255 Resort Dr., Daniels, WV 25832
Par, yardages: 72; 5,114 to 7,203
Greens fees: $55 (off season) to $99
     Stay-and-play: Basic golf packages at $118, $161 and $209 (double occupancy). Many other packages offered.
     Website: www.gladesprings.com
     Phone: (304) 763-2000); (855) 802-3080    

     You don't want to go crazy with superlatives in this business. Use them too often, and they lose their impact.
     That being established let me heap a superlative or two on the Stonehaven Course at Glade Springs Resort.
     Stonehaven is a great track. There wasn't a hole on it I didn't at least like. Many of the holes I really liked. Some of them I loved.
     Then there's the par-5, 515-yard 16th hole.
     This hole took my breath away, and that's not easily done after a 50 years of playing the game on many hundreds of courses.
     One of my playing partners at Stonehaven was Mike James, director of golf and recreation for the Resort at Glade Springs.
     Early in the round, I'd asked Mike to set aside a couple of minutes for a video interview. I remember him saying something about waiting until 16 because the hole would offer a "nice backdrop.''
Every hole had its virtues. The layout is challenging but not soul-crushing. The greens are well-tended and rolled true. As for the scenic backdrops, they are distracting in a wonderful way.
     We played from the white tees at 6,215 yards. It was plenty of golf course.
     Putting out on the 15th hole, a short-ish par 4, I notice the climb in the cart path leading to 16. Piques my interest, definitely, as I remind Mike we'll shoot the video before we tee off.
     He just smiles and says, "Sure.''
     A few second later, I'm at the top of the path as it makes a sharp bend to the left and I'm standing there, transfixed.
     With five sets of tees and measuring 601 yards from the tips, this is as visually arresting a golf hole as I've seen in a long time.
     From the black, green and white tees, you must carry the tee shot over a waste area to a landing area framed by bunkers at either end.
     Another bunker, on the left side of the fairway, is in play on the second shot. Bunkers in front of and to the right of the green lend an element of risk to the approach shot.
     There's work to do on the green, too, as subtle breaks must be allowed for in all putts beyond tap-in range.
     I hate to throw around the "p'' work, but if the 16th at Stonehaven isn't a perfect hole, it's darn close to it.
     Throughout the round, Mike talked about the other two courses at Glade Springs, Cobb and Woodhaven.
     We didn't play either, so I'll pass on his assessments of the Cobb as challenging but player-friendly and Woodhaven as extraordinarily challenging.
     The accommodations at Glade Spring include a main lodge and  manor houses. There is a recreation center with an indoor pool, bowling lanes and spa. The resort's restaurants are first-rate.
     Prices for stay-and-play packages are reasonable.
     I'd love to go back to the Resort at Glade Springs.
     The photo below is of the 16th hole. In no way, shape or form does the picture do justice to the in-person view.  
 
 




Monday, May 20, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'' in West Virginia: The Greenbrier's Old White TPC


     The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier
     300 West Main St., White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
     Par/Yardages: 70; 5,019 to 7,287
     Stay-and-play: Packages start at $240 per player, per night (weekdays) and rise to $290 (weekends).
     Website: www.greenbrier.com
     Phone: (800) 453-4858; golf packages, (877) 398-2871

     Frequent traveling companion and Hall of Fame golf writer George Sweda had given me a tantalizing preview of The Greenbrier, both as a resort and as a golf venue.
     The place lived up to George's advance billing and then some.
     With its rich history dating to the mid-19th century, the resort is a throwback in the best sense of the term. It's an ornate place that wears its luxury on its sleeve.
     Forewarned is forearmed about the price niche of The Greenbrier. It's a five-star resort that prices itself accordingly.
     "Affordabili-TEES'' will make an allowance for the Greenbrier as a "splurge'' destination. While always keeping an eye on the bottom line, it doesn't hurt to treat yourself to a taste of the good life every now and then.
     In the resort and on its two championship courses, you will get your money's worth.
      Our group of golf-travel writers played the Old White TPC, home of the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic. The white tees came in at just under 6,000 yards, so we moved to the blue tees at 6,443 yards and had a satisfying experience.
      Old White is named after the resort's original hotel and opened in 1914. The architect was Charles Blair Macdonald, an esteemed designer who used some British holes he admied as inspiration for at least three holes on Old White.
              You climb stairs near the clubhouse to the elevated tee for the par-4, 437-yard first hole. It's a neat setting and a preview of what's to come as the course unfolds.
      Old White is demanding, fair, and oh so easy on the eyes. I'd love to get back to this resort soon, re-visit Old White TPC and play its sister course, the Greenbrier.






Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Affordabili-TEES'' in West Virginia, Oglebay and Stonewall resorts


     Oglebay Resort and Conference Center
            Palmer Golf Course
            Route 88 North, Wheeling WV 26003
     Par, yardages: 72; 4,569 to 6,725
     Greens fees: Resort offers many stay-and-play packages
     Website: www.oglebay-resort.com
            Phone: (304) 243-4000; (800)624-6988

     Stonewall Resort
     The Palmer Course
     940 Resort Drive, Roanoke, WV 26434
     Par, yardages: 72; 5,038 to 7,149
     Greens fees: $55 (off season) to $99; Resort offers many stay-and-play packages.
     Website: www.stonewallresort.com
     Phone: (304) 269-7400 (Resort direct); (304) 269-8885 (tee times).

     Eye-opening would be the apt description of my first golf trip to West Virginia.
     For years, I've passed through the Mountain State on my way to golf destinations in North Carolina, South Carolina and other points south.
     Now, I'm getting the chance to play some of West Virginia's better courses and kicking myself in the behind for taking so long to set down the clubs in a place so close to home.
     This journey began in Wheeling at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center.
     Located in the state's northwestern panhandle hard by the Ohio-West Virginia state line, Oglebay is easily reachable from all points in the Cleveland area.
     Mapquest puts it at 160 miles and three hours driving time from my front door.
     Oglebay is owned by the city of Wheeling and operated by the Wheeling Park Commission. Between the golf (five courses, 72 holes), main lodge, cottages, restaurants, zoo, museum, specialty shops and other amenities, the place teems with activity.
             Our group of golf-travel writers was placed on the championship-caliber course designed by legendary golfer and golf course architect Arnold Palmer.
             There wasn't time enough in the schedule to check out the Robert Trent Jones Sr. course at Oglebay. After having such a positive experience on the Palmer course, I'm eager to return and play the Jones course.
            Playing from the white tees (par 71, 6,065 yards), the Palmer Course is challenging, pleasing to the eye and user-friendly.
            The toughest hole is the first, a 444-yard par-4 that rightfully is accorded the No. 1 handicap.
             Every hole offers sweeping vistas of the state's hill country. You need to pay attention to hitting shots and managing your game, of course, but it would be foolish not to drink in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
      Palmer also designed the course at the second stop on our tour, Stonewall Resort in Roanoke.
              The Palmer Course at Stonewall offers all the natural beauty of the one at Oglebay and a higher degree of difficulty. Our foursome played from the white tees (par-72, 5,821 yards). It felt more like 6,200 yards.
      From first tee shot to final putt, there is no let-up on this superior track.
      Stonewall Resort is owned by the state and offers an impressive array of options for lodging, dining and indoor-outdoor activities beyond the golf course. Stonewall Jackson Lake is a gem, too.
      This traveler especially liked the outdoor/indoor pool and fitness area that featured a steam bath.
              Affordability is a major selling point at the Oglebay and Stonewall, which is about 140 miles due south of Oglebay via I-79. Check out the stay-and-play packages at both venues.
              Given their proximity and favorable price points, it's not surprising that many Northeast Ohioans are patrons at the Oglebay and Stonewall resorts.