Imperfection takes on a positive spin while playing Eaglesticks Golf Course. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry drove the hour from Columbus to examine small parcel of land packed with jarringly abrupt hills, and probably had a small budget for moving earth——considering the course’s location near Zanesville, one of the more prominent stops in Ohio’s notoriously poor Appalachian region. They did what they could. It’s not difficult to find weaknesses in the design. The fairways are narrow, as are the greens. It’s not a bucket-list course worth driving terribly far out of one’s way to visit.
But they did what they could, and it’s worth noting, if not a road trip.
Ohio and the majority of Appalachia is full of quirky, eccentric holes, where designers wage simultaneously unwinnable wars upon geology and economics. The battle for EagleSticks followed the same formula. Fry routed thin fairways because that’s what the Earth’s narrow corridors demanded. Hurdzan rotated his thin greens to match whatever relatively flat space he could find. But that Hurdzan and Fry were there at all embody the ambition of the course’s founders. The yardage doesn’t add up enough to challenge the lowest handicappers, but neither do the greens fees. Those fees apparently go much further for groundskeeping purposes than at Hurdzan’s subdivision-based courses in Columbus, based on recent experience.
You’ll see a few homes during the round, but they won’t be what you expect at a ranked course. No. 7 takes the theme of tight fairways and greens to its logical conclusion: as a short, downhill Par 4 where the player simply must consider funneling a driver through the tunnel onto the green, threading numerous layers of bunkers in the process. Distinctive, however, is the row of trailer homes that overlook the fairway from the left, separated by a simple chain link fence. Whether you appreciate the community that EagleSticks was built for goes a long way in determining whether you’ll drive down from Columbus to play it.
Date: June 11, 2019