Columbus is the capital of Ohio and the home of The Ohio State University, the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets, and the minor league Columbus Clippers. Tourists can also take advantage of the city’s aquarium, zoo, and other cultural exhibits. When it comes to public golf in Columbus, your best bet is the city’s extensive municipal system, though there are some quality options outside the city limits.
The Municipal System
The City of Columbus owns and operates a system of seven municipal golf courses that provide varying degrees of difficulty. Residents can take advantage of the Columbus Golf Pass, which offers reduced green fees. The municipal courses include seven layouts – Airport Golf Course, Champions, Mentel Memorial, Raymond Memorial, Turnberry, Walnut Hill and Wilson Road. These courses can handle large outings, leagues and tournaments, banquets, meetings, and group lessons. The courses host an annual junior golf tour and feature pro shop, driving ranges, and short game practice areas. Players can reserve, and even make greens fees purchases, online.
Daily Fee Courses
Where there is an extensive municipal system, and there are several private clubs in Columbus, there is just one daily-fee, non-municipal course in Columbus, according to golflink.com. Minerva Lake was constructed in 1931 and today is a par-69 course that plays 5,497 yards from the back tees. The course features 10 holes on its front side and eight on its back side, differing from the traditional nine on each side. Water comes into play on just a few holes, and it is known for narrow fairways that put an emphasis on accuracy.
Outside the City Limits
Any accurate look at Columbus golf must include a look at the public courses immediately outside the city limits. Most are just 20 minutes from downtown. The Golf Club of Dublin was built to emulate a links-style course, with courses like Turnberry and Carnoustie as inspirations. The course plays 7,021 yards from the back tees. Homestead Springs in Groveport is just 10 minutes south of Columbus. Homestead Springs plays just 6,463 yards from the back tees, with just a few water hazards and open fairways. The New Albany Links is semi-private and, like Dublin, was designed as a links-style course. It plays 7,004 yards from the back tees.
The municipal courses in Columbus offer a great value for any golfer. According to the city’s Web site, the highest green fee in 2010 was $38 at Champions, which is the weekend fee. The vast majority of the green fees fell into the $15-20 range. Please note that the municipal courses charge a separate cart fee, if you choose to ride. New Albany’s standard rates are $39 on weekdays and $54 on weekends. Homestead Springs’ standard rates are $25 on weekdays and $34 on weekends. And, Dublin’s standard rates are $33 on weekdays and $53 on weekends.
Several of the courses in Columbus and the area have won awards. The Golf Club of Dublin has earned Top 25 in America honors from Golf Magazine. Raymond Memorial carries a 4.5 star rating from Golf Digest and a pedigree, as it the course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. Another one of Jones’ designs, Champions, is rated as a championship course by Business First Magazine.
If you’re planning on playing in Columbus, you should note that while these courses are open year around, play during the winter is highly dependent upon the weather. Courses reserve the right to close if conditions are unplayable. On average, high temperatures remain under 50 degrees from December to February.