The Golf Club—New Albany, OH
Rankings as of 7/1/2010—
7th best Modern course (Golfweek)
34th best US course, 59th best course in the World (Golf Magazine)
35th best US course, 2nd best course in Ohio (Golf Digest)
Some experiences on a golf course are wonderful, some are exciting, some are historic, and then there is The Golf
Club. The best word I can think to describe it is “sublime.” Per my idea of what a golf experience should be
nothing beats a round at The Golf Club.
For starters, it is located in a somewhat rural/suburban-ish area of Columbus, Ohio. To get to the club, you’ve got
to drive down a country road and all you will see that will alert you to the potential presence of a golf course are
two stone entrance columns with the words “The Golf Club” inscribed upon them. But even after you pull into the
entrance, you will wonder, “Am I in the right place?” The road winds across what seems like quite a distance
before you see greens, tees, flagsticks, and the like. And then you see a fairly small parking lot with a non-
descript building attached to it. A small white door then opens up to a very small pro shop. If you happen to make
your way over to the locker room and dining room, the size of the rooms expand…but the low key, classy feel
continues. This place certainly isn’t about pomp and circumstance. It is about golf.
The course is a straight forward 18 hole course located on a massive 500 acre piece of property. Given the vast
size of the available land, the feeling of seclusion and privacy is like nothing I’ve ever seen. It is a golfing
Shangri-la; Heaven on earth.
And, in fact, that is what Fred Jones was after when he built The Golf Club; an ideal place for members to play golf. Joel Zuckerman wrote about The Golf Club in his book, "Pete Dye Golf Courses." There is no question that Joel nailed it with his description of what The Golf Club is:
It's the type of club where, after looking out his office window on a beautiful afternoon for golf, a member can arrive on the bucolic grounds and be assured that the course is open, available, and ready for play virtually every day of the season.
(it) offers a sense of quietude, a feeling of remove and seclusion that is generally the province of high-end private clubs deep within the confines of the countryside, untarnished by perimeter housing, with modest membership rolls and limited play. It's a series of combined factors that's hard to engineer, but when it's done properly, it affords some of the finest ambience in the game.
The routing is Pete Dye at his very best. Almost as soon as you step out of the pro shop, you are on the first tee.
A small little par 4 with a dog leg right to the green and you are off. But then you are faced with a MASSIVE par 4
with a fairly long carry over a MASSIVE set of cross bunkers with an approach shot into a fairly mundane green.
Throughout the front nine, you seem to wind in and out of tree lined corridors and you are faced with long shots,
short shots, big greens, small greens, bunkers, creeks, and the like. The curiosity of what might be lurking on the
next hole keeps you on the edge of your seat. You might be faced with a fairly short par 3 with wooden plank lined
or you might be faced with an approach shot into a green guarded by pot bunkers.
But even with this variety, the natural feeling of the land is striking and stunning. It seems like this course has
always been here and has simply been waiting for someone to discover and play it.
The adventure through the tree lined corridors continues until you hit the 13th hole and the course opens up and
kicks this adventure up a notch. The 13th hole is my favorite on the course and again shows why Pete Dye is such
a genius. Off the tee, you have a visible and easily drivable fairway off to the right. But you also get the sense
that the massive waste area that lies directly between you and the green just might be carry-able, but you really
can’t see any landing area.
But as you approach the green, you do notice that the massive waste area was indeed carry-able with a nice drive
and leaves a very manageable approach. However, the water behind the green and the bunker off to the right
keep you on your toes as you finish this hole up.
This wide open part of the adventure continues through the 17th hole as the vast expanse of the property yields
mind numbing views and one incredible golf hole after another.
Generally, putting the ball in the cup on 18 is a bittersweet feeling. Bitter that the round is over and the fun that
ensued over the last few hours is done. Sweet that the round is complete, you can add your score up, reminisce
over shots, and head home to be with your family. However, it is purely bitter at The Golf Club. The round is
over. The sublime journey across the 500 acres in central Ohio has come to its completion. If you’ve played it
before, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, do what you’ve got to do to play the course…it is simply magnificent.
The course is the brain-child of Fred Jones and Mr. Jones hired Pete Dye to build it in 1967. From the gold tees it
measures 6,632 yards and is rated 71.6/131.