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Golf links are fewer in Portage County

By SUSAN JENIOR Record-Courier reporter Published: May 17, 2017 1:00 AM
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Golfers are passionate about their home courses.

It doesn't matter if the course is immaculate or has slower greens or traps that aren't filled with the ideal sand, a home course is a place to brag about a recent win, remember a first hole-in-one and enjoy a round with the same foursome that has played together for 30 years.

It was a shock for many golfers when four golf courses closed at the end of 2016, but it simply follows a trend in Portage County, where 10 courses have closed since the 1980s.

Former professionals, players and employees have fond memories of each of those closed golf courses.

Robin Liggett, Sunny Hill Golf Course manager in Brimfield, expressed the feelings of many as Maplecrest and Green Hills closed in Brimfield.

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"We will miss those golf courses," Liggett said. Many people may think that Liggett would welcome the increased business, and she does look forward to the many new golfers at the course, but she also enjoyed working with the other local courses' management.

"We sent golfers to those courses when we had an outing and they did the same," said Liggett.

Fortunately, Portage County still has Windmill Lakes in Ravenna, Sugar Bush in Garrettsville, Sunny Hill in Brimfield, Raccoon Hill near Kent, the Fairways at Twin Lakes, and Paradise Lake, Mulligan Springs and Suffield Springs in Suffield, as well as two private clubs -- Walden and Barrington in Aurora -- to carry on the rich golfing traditions and offer challenging venues for golfers.

The ones that have closed in recent years are Aurora Golf Club, Chestnut Hills, the Tower Short Course and Ravenswood near Ravenna, Oak Knolls and Kent State in Kent, Green Hills and Maplecrest in Brimfield, Oak Grove in Atwater and West's Mogadore Country Club.

The closing of the courses so rapidly in Portage County makes all golfers appreciate the beautiful clubs that remain.

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Aurora Golf Club, formerly Aurora Country Club opened in 1924 and closed in 2013. It is now green space owned by the city of Aurora. Bert Way built and designed the course. Course architect Harold Paddock purchased it in 1943. It hosted the Cleveland Open for three years in the 1960s.

Chestnut Hills dates to the late 1940 and closed in the 1980s, while Green Hills opened in 1928 and closed in 2016. Dick Pitts owned, managed and was the superintendent for the nine-hole course.

Kent State's course, formerly named Meaadowview, opened in 1929 and was taken over by the university in 1966. It closed in 2016. Maplecrest opened in 1928 and closed in 2016, and won many awards as one of the most beautiful courses in Ohio, with its unique landscaping around each tee that included a butterfly garden.

Oak Grove opened in 1927 and closed in 2014. The owners also owned the Roller Rink in Atwater. Oak Knolls opened in 1961 and closed in 2016. It once consisted of 36 holes, but 18 of them closed a few years ago.

Ravenswood opened in 1985 and closed in 2015. Roger Pittman designed the course. Tower Short Course opened in 1963 and got its name since it was located in front of WNIR Radio's transmitter tower. It closed in 1978. It was a nine-hole, par-27 course, with the longest hole being 155 yards.

West's Mogadore Country Clubopened in 1945 and closed in 2012. Among its head pros were John Rainieri, whose family owns or owned several courses, and Frank Buhas, a former KSU golfer and basketball player.


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