Mayfield Sand Ridge (Mayfield) - Ohio - USA

Mayfield Sand Ridge Club,
1545 Sheridan Road,
South Euclid,
Ohio (OH) 44121,
USA


  • +1 216 381 0826

  • Randy Owoc

  • Bert Way & Herbert Barker

  • Mark Evans


Site of the US Women’s Amateur in 1920, the Mayfield course at Mayfield Sand Ridge Club is a classic design that’s laid out across a rolling landscape, with a couple of creeks coming into play on occasion.

“Many of Mayfield’s holes are laid out in the bottom-lands along a stream,” Tom Doak remarked in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, “but it is the up-and-over holes to bridge the gaps between the valleys, like the 2nd and 9th, that make the course fascinating, and others like the 13th with its green site between two enormous mounds are simultaneously fun and stout. This is one of the few classic Golden Age designs where no one has done a proper restoration; I guess there’s just not enough potential work for any designer to portray themselves as a ‘Bert Way expert.’”

The Sand Ridge Golf Club from Chardon merged in 2006 with Mayfield Country Club forming the new Mayfield Sand Ridge Club allowing members of both establishments to use the facilities on offer at either location.

As if one merger was not enough, Cleveland’s venerable Oakwood Club amalgamated with Mayfield Sand Ridge Club in 2019, forgoing its Golden Age Donald Ross-designed course in the process.

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Description: Site of the US Women’s Amateur in 1920, the Mayfield course at Mayfield Sand Ridge Club is a classic Golden Age design that’s laid out across a rolling landscape, with a couple of creeks coming into play on occasion. Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Reviews: 2
TaylorMade
Ryan Book

Mayfield Country Club had two relatively obscure Englishmen at the wheel when the course was first laid out. Although the sentiments of Golden Age architecture that spread across the United States and indeed Cleveland — Ross, Flynn, Thompson, Alison and Tillinghast all stopped by — ultimately for the betterment of the design game as we know it, it did come at a cost, as the Victorian quirk of the old world more often went by the wayside, less accusations of “luck” emerge. Way and Barker didn’t have quite the credentials as the men listed above, and the land at Mayfield isn’t quite as suited for championship golf…thank goodness. Cleveland’s golf scene is better for it.

Consider the second tee shot on both counts. Calling for a 200-yard club up and over the crest of a hill, the majority of the Golden Age royalty would have frowned, or at least raised an eyebrow at such wholesale blindness. The likes of Way (who takes the lion’s share of the credit) may not have “known better,” or he may have realized the land simply didn’t give him a choice. Clear the crest and hope for the best as your ball will catch some groove or another; the most thrilling portions of the Mayfield property bear some resemblance to the bubbling landforms at Moraine, glacially-adjusted (if not so sandy) — be sure to look back at your path once you’ve reached the green. This landscape guarantees nothing from a straight tee shot, leaving a variety of lies, and here’s where the “marmite” argument comes in:

“Unfair” some will cry, perhaps reasonably. “Excellent” others will opine, just as reasonably. (The rest will make their opinion based on their final lie).

As for the routing, Way began his career as the professional at Royal North Devon, a course notorious for the seemingly directionless views it provides first-timers (based on the profiles of Keith Baxter and Bill Branch, there’s something funky in Westward Ho!’s water supply). Mayfield’s blind tee shots probably seemed relatively obvious to its primary attendant.

This course, in your correspondent’s opinion, benefits from such shots, being that it offers a character rarely experienced at the region’s best (even Canterbury’s blind shots don’t offer quite the Victorian ambiance that Mayfield does).

That said, relying on “quirk” as a calling card rarely results in perfection. I’d compare it to the discography of the psychedelic folkie Donovan…although I genuinely enjoy perhaps 66 percent of his wonky tunes, the other third don’t quite work for me. Likewise, after two quite favorable experiences with such extreme tee shots (No. 9 is superior to even No. 2), the third (No. 15) seems like overkill. It doesn’t help that at this point the player is simply hitting up to a flat fairway, without the kid-at-Christmas “what lie did I get?” suspense to look forward to.

(It should be noted, both metaphorically with relation to Mayfield’s oddest shots and in a strictly literal sense, that some people will hate all of Donovan’s music. I’d start with “I Love My Shirt.”)

Similarly, No. 11 is a flavor of marmite that will appeal to some critics, if not this one. A par five, those playing driver are likely to end up in a deep valley separating two hills. Although it’s fairway all the way through, the next shot will be over the second elevated area, which gives way to another descent down to the green. How does one measure the appropriate amount of topsy-turvy? Generally by gut, and this sea snake left your correspondent a tad seasick, considering that one may face multiple shots with no visible target.

Mayfield is more than landscape, however. Despite Doak’s notes (seen above) about no proper restoration having ever occurred, the greens here are sized well and generally strong (the short par four No. 7 is the obvious best-of-class). The crew keeps many of the putting surface entrances cut in a severe, squared-off line…an aesthetic touch one expects at the Chicago Golf Clubs of the world, lending a classy vibe here.

If a renovation / restoration were to occur, one would guess that adding some more personality to the bunkers would be top-of-the-list. Old aerials show some signs of Emmet’s influence, likely due to Barker having been head pro at Garden City (prior to Walter Travis becoming involved). The cubist take might be nice, considering the aforementioned entryways to these greens.

My final rating teeters at 4.5, requiring one strong push from this analyst, who values an exciting plot of land more than most. Those less geocentric than I will have no problem marking it down for less, as the second half of the course just doesn’t pack the same mustard as a front nine, which — to be fair — possesses zero weak holes. The land settles a bit on the back nine, and Way may have lost his way a bit when the land didn’t aid in invigorating.

But would Ross or Flynn have done better with the plot? Perhaps at its flatter portions, but it’s possible that they would have simply walked away when looking at its most drastic terrain. Way, not coincidentally, harnessed those moments into Mayfield’s finest.

May 19, 2022
7 / 10
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BB
May 28, 2022

Ryan - considering the flat nature of the land available to the designer for the back 9, did the club miss an opportunity by not calling the club Wayfield?

michael nowacki

Mayfield is a hidden gem in Northeast Ohio. A Bert Way design with little earth moving, it is quirky with many original and memorable holes. It also has some pure and subtle greens.

#2 is a blind uphill shot to a wildly sloping fairway. The approach is to a small green that is fast and slopes back to front.

#5 is one tough hole. The doghill right downhill tee shot has a creek on the right and fescue and bunkers on the left, or if you hit it straight and too fair. If you land safely in the fairway, you have a good shot at the green, but anything off the fairway is in danger of going right or long into the greenside creek.

#7 only requires an iron tee shot, but the creek on the left and challenging green makes it a difficult par. #14 is another tough par. The downhill tee shot is not too tough, but the approach is long and difficult.

October 21, 2018
8 / 10
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