One has no idea about the nature of Eaglesticks from the entrance roadway. You don't really see anything of the course until you're literally on the 1st tee. The site used to be land for horses and the rolling nature is well prepared for the golf you'll encounter. Credit much of the routing magic to Dana Fry -- before joining to form a partnership with Michael Hurdzan -- Fry was a key player on the Tom Fazio team.
The holes use the sweeping nature of the property to good effect. The bunkering is also far more than just scenic because key pin placements on most holes are well protected. Eaglesticks rewards smart and accurate play. Those who attempt to muscle the course will get plenty of pushback if such aggressive play is not executed properly.
The aspect that really elevates Eaglesticks is how 18 holes were crafted for such a tight piece of acreage. At the same time, there's a general feeling that you're not cramped to the point of suffocation when playing.
My lone real disappointment is that the actual back tee for the 1st is not in usage anymore. The extra yardage and angle provided made for a quality opener.
One of the things you quickly realize at Eaglesticks is how the short holes are the ones with the longest fangs. The downhill par-4 7th plays 338 yards but it's no less demanding than the far longer par-4''s at the 8th and 9th which play 438 and 456 yards respectively. At the 7th, players are tempted to go for the green. There's an alleyway
provided but it's akin to the width of an English countryside community roadway. Water is just to the right and the green shape is serpentine in nature.
The inward half of holes balances the layout in equally fine fashion. The par-3 10th is a devilish target to hit with a fronting pond waiting for any shot hit too meekly. The plunging downhill par-5 11th is a first rate three-shot hole. At the long par-4 13th you encounter a testing two-shot hole with a putting green that narrows considerably when the pin is cut in the far rear half.
Eaglesticks does have birdie holes. The final three give you opportunities to close strongly but you'll always need to play quality shots to do so. One of the really neat touches is the pot bunker placed perfectly on the closing par-5 18th. Gives just enough pause for long hitters to consider before launching away. For a course that plays just over 6,500 yards there's plenty of sizzle and bite to the course. Anyone driving along the I-70 corridor to and from the Columbus area when heading to Pennsylvania should make it a point to stop by and see firsthand. A top tier public course that's very affordable and fun to play.
by M. James Ward
Date: January 14, 2018