The 9-hole, par-three course at Mulligan Springs, situated in Portage County, challenges, but also subdues, golfers with reflective ponds and mini waterfalls that ripple across rocky structures. Here, the casual, uncrowded atmosphere is especially inviting to novice golfers, who can avoid the air of intimidation and ball washers filled with molasses that come with playing on more difficult courses. As abundant as they are out on the links, Mulligan Springs' modest vibes stretch to its clubhouse area, which features an outdoor patio for relaxing after rounds.
Sculpted into the Ohio countryside in 1928, Maplecrest Golf Club’s course spans 6,312 yards of immaculate fairways that arch over gentle hilltops for a par 71 round. The club’s intrepid greenskeepers work hard to keep the course in pristine condition, including maintaining an onsite greenhouse where they grow all the course’s plants, trees, flowers, and sand-trap rakes before incorporating them into the layout. Throughout the course, fairways tunnel through imposing tree lines, so players should consider making a preround stop at the club’s driving range or bribing the oldest oak in their neighborhood for favorable treatment from its fellow timbers.
Since 1985, the Kent State University Museum has served as a time-traveling portal for fashion and design, allowing style-stalkers to admire some of the world’s most exquisite dresses, costumes, paintings, and furniture dating back to the 18th century. The museum came into being when two New York dress manufacturers, Jerry Silverman and Shannon Rodgers, donated 4,000 costumes and accessories, nearly 1,000 pieces of decorative art, and a 5,000-volume reference library. A year later the museum was fortified with 10,000 pieces of American glass, from Akron antique collectors Jabe Tarter and Paul Miller, which had been carefully guarded from errant baseball throws and juggle-hungry clowns. Today the eight galleries feature a revolving door of exhibits from world-famous artists and designers, highlighting the cultural and artistic significance of fashion.
Once the warm weather hits, families begin to fill the grounds of Sluggers & Putters—a sprawling family fun park built into the natural landscape. Children and adults alike tear around two tracks in single or double-seat go-karts, follow a yellow-paved path through 18 holes of old-fashioned miniature golf, and race to scale a rock-climbing wall. While parents and children fill out insurance claims after playing double-seat bumper cars and water bumper boats, other visitors practice their swing in fast-pitch and softball batting cages. On a landscaped garden patio, staff helms an installment of the local Auntie Em's Ice Cream Co., where they serve frozen treats such as hand-dipped cones and old-fashioned sundaes.
A tricky aspect of the game of golf – and one that amateurs are often slow to recognize – is the notion that all misses aren’t created equal. This becomes starkly apparent with shots into the green, from mid-iron approaches down to greenside chips. Often, beginners give in to the temptation to hit directly at the hole, thinking that it will leave them with the shortest possible putt. While there are certainly situations when going directly at the flagstick is the right decision, they’d be much better off remembering to take into account the other factors at play, such as the layout of the green, where the pin is positioned upon it, and whether or not a lemur’s head is sticking out of the cup. With a little forethought and execution, they should be able to set themselves up perfectly for the next shot – usually a short uphill putt. Versus a downhill putt, uphill putts can be struck harder with little risk, making them less susceptible to lateral movement, more forgiving, and less likely to fly past the hole and settle on the opposite fringe.
Golfers will find themselves embroiled in this decision-making process numerous times throughout a round at Green Valley Golf Club, a rolling course tucked into the hills of Tuscarawas County. On just about all of the 18 undulating greens, stopping the ball on the downhill side of the pin is the correct move. If they succeed and sink their putts, players give themselves a good shot of posting a good score against the par of 72. And if they don’t, they can always eat away their post-round regrets with a hamburger, coney dog, or smoked sausage at the 19th Hole.
Course at a Glance:
For 50 years, linksmen have surveyed the ins and outs of the nine-hole, par-36 design of Hidden Oaks Golf Course. After getting in the groove on the practice grounds and new driving range, stick wielders venture through the course's 100 acres of wooded vistas, filling the cups of par 3, 4, and 5 holes.