Formerly known as Ambridge Country Club, Harmony Ridge Golf Club reopened in 2008 under the guidance of Greg Paul. The nine-hole course is commonly referred to as Oakmont's Little Brother, as it shares Oakmont Country Club's designers, H.C. Fownes and Emil Loeffler, and has a propensity to withstand noogies. It beckons swingers of all levels with 120 verdant acres that stretch across Beaver County countryside. A newly renovated blues cafe and sports bar, which proffers a menu of American fare along with weekly live music, rounds out an afternoon of long drives and short putts.
When the morning fog clears, a bridge fashioned out of five rustic corncribs appears to pay homage to EagleSticks Golf Club's roots. Originally used to feed the horses that grazed on the erstwhile farm, the wood from the corncribs now arches over a creek that splits the fairway on the 11th hole—a 591-yard par 5 dubbed the course's signature attraction for its bending fairway, elevated tee box, and visible ties to a bucolic past. Designed by renowned Ohio architect Dr. Michael Hurdzan, the 6,508-yard course challenges golfers with constant elevation changes—some of which exceed 100 feet—that demand accuracy, sound course management, and the ability to activate the cart's hang-gliding wings. Throughout the round, bentgrass fairways and greens present a much more hospitable landing place than the course's thick, bluegrass rough. At various hillcrests and elevated tees, players can take in a full view of the course's scenery, which includes several waterfalls and woodlands populated by oak, maple, ash, locust, and cherry trees ripe for the hugging.
After a day on the links, golfers can gather at Mac's Sports Bar to quiet rumbling bellies with a menu of classic American food such as burgers, sandwiches, and pizza. Guests can unwind in Mac's dining room—which features eight televisions, an open-beam ceiling, and other contemporary touches—or at the adjoining patio, which attracts summertime breezes and ghostly golf balls trying to reconnect with their long-lost owner.
Course at a Glance:
Designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan
18-hole, par 70 course
Length of 6,508 yards from the farthest tees
Bentgrass fairways and greens, bluegrass rough
Any golfer who played a round at Vista Golf Course between 1973 and 2010 may not recognize the course's current vistas. In 2010 the course underwent a major overhaul that saw the replacement of many ponds and tee signage. Though still not an especially long golf course?care was taken to keep it manageable for beginners?several par 4s extend more than 400 yards, giving longer hitters the chance to gain an advantage. A driving range and putting green also give every visitor the chance to work toward improving their swing mechanics.
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: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,200 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 71.7 from the back tees * Course slope of 123 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Ranked 56th on Golf Magazine's 2010 Top 100 Courses You Can Play, Longaberger Golf Club's immaculate, Arthur Hills–designed course stretches across 7,243 yards of rolling hills and parkland-style terrain. Begin a day of orb-blasting bravado with a stint at the club's 25-acre natural grass driving range, where target greens stretch into the distance, beckoning seductively to practice balls and recently single 9-irons. The lengthy course challenges golfers early on at the par 5 fourth hole—the course's most difficult hole—where orbs must travel 563 yards from the back tees to reach the green while also contending with a treacherous 150-foot drop in elevation. A generous selection of five tee options helps players of all club-flailing fortitude tame the formidable grassy monolith and its unruly gang of cart-hating, motorcycle-riding ex-caddies.
Tucked into the rolling hillsides of Johnstown, The Links at Echo Springs is equal parts pretty and challenging. Fairways lined with mature hardwood forests skirt streams and ponds. Off the course, there’s a fully stocked pro shop, a driving range with a PGA staff available for lessons, and a bar and grill waiting to serve up celebratory hamburgers. Click here to see a scorecard and read the course guidelines.