Ohio Has Fantastic Public Golf Courses – The Ohio Golf Journal

Ohio Has Fantastic Public Golf Courses

As everyone knows the Buckeye state is filled with some of the best public and private golf courses that can be found anywhere. With golfers looking for great golf opportunities closer to home, Ohio golfers do not need to travel great distances to experience some of the best golf to be found.

Arthur Hills is from the Toledo area and designed over 200 courses around the world. Some of his very best are right here in Ohio and accessible to anyone. The Arthur Hills Golf Trail in Northwest Ohio features two of his creations. Stone Ridge in Bowling Green and Maumee Bay along Lake Erie, both offer a great golfing experience.


Ohio State Parks

Maumee Bay is just one of the five golf courses in the Ohio State Parks system. Hueston Woods near Oxford is a Jack Kidwell design and features mature tree-lined fairways, large undulating greens and rolling southern Ohio terrain.

The par-71 Salt Fork Golf Course, located near Zanesville, sits high on ridges with open meadows and misty valleys. Because of several uphill shots, it plays considerably longer than the 5,800 yards listed on the scorecard.

Deer Creek State Park Golf Course, in Mt. Sterling, sits between Columbus and Washington Court House. It too, was designed by Jack Kidwell and opened for play in 1982. The relatively level terrain is perfect for players that like to walk. With a slope of 124, average golfers can enjoy a fun round at Deer Creek.

Punderson Golf Course, in Cleveland, opened in 1969, can be stretched to 6,800 yards from the back tees and is open April through October.

mill creek carts golfers

Mill Creek Metro Parks in Boardman, Ohio, on the southern edge of Youngstown boasts two classic Donald Ross designs. Both are a treat to play and with the courses located in a large park, there are outdoor entertainment options for the entire family.


Firestone Country Club is one of the most historic private clubs in the state, but with their recent addition of ‘stay and play’ packages everyone can enjoy their scenic 54 holes of golf. Firestone is a little pricey for the average golfer, but being able to tee it up on the South Course, where so much golf history has been made, is well worth the cost. The North and Fazio Courses are both fantastic and to let you in on a little secret, most prefer the Fazio course, when pressed for a favorite.


 fowlers mill cleveland ohio best coursesCleveland

In a poll compiled by NorthernOhio.Golf in March, Sleepy Hollow was voted the best public course in Northeastern Ohio. Boulder Creek was second followed by Fowlers Mill, Manakiki and Little Mountain. The entire Top 25 listing can be found at: https://northernohio.golf/2021-northern-ohio-golf-top-25-best-public-course-rankings/



If you are looking for great public golf in Central Ohio, Darby Creek, Cumberland Trail Golf Club, Homestead Springs, NorthStar and Crooks Creek are all highly rated and have received five-star reviews from players, who have enjoyed their rounds at these courses.

Formerly the Longaberger Golf Club and designed by Arthur Hills, the Virtues has been ranked the best public track in the state, as well as, one of the Top 100 Public Courses in the nation.



yankee trace flag best ohio coursesYelp’s website lists Pipestone as the most popular course in the Dayton area, Yankee Trace, Beavercreek, and Cassel Hills also receive rave reviews.

Yankee Trace offers 27 holes located on the picturesque gently rolling terrain of southwestern Ohio. It features a members-only short game performance area and three indoor simulators for year-round golfing enjoyment. A beautiful 32,000 square foot clubhouse if perfect for meetings, events and family reunions.



Hamilton Elks gets the nod as the top public in Cincinnati from GolfPass. Donald Ross originally designed 18 holes for Butler County Country Club. In 1932, Hamilton Country Elks bought the property and added an additional Michael Hurzdan designed nine holes in 1995. It has long been lauded as one of the best public courses in the state.

Unlike most public courses, Stonelick Hills was built for pure golf. It’s not and never will be located in a housing development and surrounded by residences. Their ultimate goal is to provide the finest public golf in the state, yet maintain a small, select membership.



In addition to the Arthur Hills courses in the area, Ottawa Park golf course has the distinction of being the oldest public golf course opened west of New York city. Inspired by the accomplishments of Tom Bendelow creating public golf in New York, Toledo Director of Parks and Recreation, S.P. Jermain built the first nine holes at Ottawa Park in 1899 with a second nine added in 1922.

At just 5,400 yards, this historic gem is short by today’s standards, but well worth the visit.



We would be remiss if we didn’t mention EagleSticks in Zanesville. Michael Hurzdan used the elevation changes to create rolling fairways cut through the native woodlands to create a challenging test of golf.

Although compact at 6,500 yards from the back tees, in addition to the 90 bunkers strewn about the property, EagleSticks is a course that clearly favors accuracy over power. With more than 100 feet of elevation change, most tee boxes are located on the highest ground, so you’ll be treated to panoramic views on most holes before hitting down to the fairways.

We apologize to the outstanding courses we left out of this listing, but with a little research every Golfaholic in Ohio can find an enjoyable public course nearby to bang out a few drives and lose a few golf balls.

I hope we see you on the Back 9 on one of these Beauties.


 In a recent ranking of the Best Public Courses in Ohio, Golfweek listed their Top Ten: