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.

Friday, June 10, 2011

DSG's Affordabili-TEES spotlight: Black Brook

      Course: Black Brook Golf Course
      Where:
8900 Lake Shore Boulevard, Mentor
      Par, yardages: 71, 3,540 (yellow); 5,015 (red tees); 5,838 (silver); 6,073 (white); 6,320 (blue)
      Greens fees: Weekdays, $12 (9 holes, Mentor resident, walking) to $38 (18 holes, cart, weekends); weekends, $14.75 to $41.50.
      Phone: 440-951-0010
      Website: www.blackbrookgolfcourse.com
           
      Here are some of life's certainties: death...taxes...year-round affordable golf at Black Brook, weather permitting.
      But it isn't just affordability and availability that are the best features of Black Brook.
      With consistently clean greens and well-manicured fairways, quality is a persuasive calling card of the time-tested track in Mentor's north end.
      Designed by
Bertie Way
and opened in 1929, Black Brook is one of this area's oldest and best public courses. It has loyal customers, a good pro shop, fine snack bar and the reputation of being a friendly golf venue.
      Tim Ausperk has been the head professional at Black Brook for 21 years. He's a solid businessman and highly-regarded instructor whose summer youth clinics and leagues have introduced uncounted thousands of young people to golf and golf etiquette.
      The same as all area courses, Black Brook got off to a slow start this season when bad weather kept golfers off the course through all of April and most of May. Lousy weather also pushed back completion of the total rebuilding of the practice range.
      Last week, the bulldozers were in the final stages of shaping the teeing areas, mounds and target greens that will be the range's efining features when it re-opens later this summer. We'll keep you posted on progress.
      "User-friendly'' is the apt description of Black Brook. It isn't a long course, even from the tips, but it's long enough to provide a challenge to the vast majority of golfers. If you shoot a low number here, you'll feel good about it.
      Black Brook has plenty of character. The front nine, although by no means a sprayer's paradise, is more open than the back.
      The par-4 348-yard first hole is straightforward and generally benign, but it can bite you if you miss the green that offers the first taste of the course's first-rate putting surfaces.
      I've always loved the par-4, 366-yard second hole. Most golfers hit their second shots from the top of the hill, over a deep swale with a creek to an elevated green with pronounced back-to-front slop. Throw in some wind, and it's one of the most challenging approach shots on the course.
      The par-4 third hole and par-5 fourth hole present chances for birdies provided that drives are hit to the right spots and approach shots are true. On the challenging, par-4 fifth hole, drives must be both long and accurate to keep you in the running for par. Make a birdie here, and you've gained a stroke on most of the field.
      Not many courses offer back-to-back par-3s as closing holes. Black Brook does with the 161-yard eighth and 154-yard ninth holes. The eighth faces due west and almost always plays into the wind. The ninth looks easy enough until you miss left or right into trees.
      Big bangers can drive the par-4, 284-yard 10th hole. We mere mortals must be content with making sure our tee shot does not stray left toward the 18th hole, where a picket line of mature trees looms like prison bars.
      The toughest stretch of holes on Black Brook begins with the par-3, 185-yard 11th. From the back tee, it plays at 200 yards over a swale with water to an elevated green.
      Remodeling of the par-5, 484-yard 12th hole has had the desired effect. It looks better and plays better than it did as a non-descript par-4.
      The par-4, 352-yard 13th is the easiest hole on the back nine as long as your tee shot is reasonably long and between the trees.
      Par is golden on the final fivesome of holes. I suspect better players feel they can have their way with the par-5, 460-yard 16th hole. A deep, narrow, well-guarded green is the separator on the par-3, 159-yard 17th home.
      Black Brook saves its best for last. The par-4, 436-yard 18th requires a well-place, long tee shot. Even with your optimal drive of the day, it's decision time on whether to go for the elevated green protected by trees on the left, a creek crossing the fairway and retention basin on the right.
      Play this course once and, chances are, you'll come back for more.
      Play this course and make a birdie on 18, and your day will be made.

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