The Golf Club is not a search that you’d type into Google and expect to get a meaningful result. The name is vague and we suspect that's just the way they like it. The Golf Club is a course, and naturally a golf club too, which opened at New Albany, close to Columbus in Ohio, in 1967. It’s one of Pete Dye’s earliest and most understated creations, and the course feels mature way beyond its years.
To our knowledge, The Golf Club has never hosted a significant tournament, so very little is widely known about the course. But if you are lucky enough to receive and invite to play The Golf Club, take it immediately but make sure you choose the right tee blocks. Even though this is one of Dye’s earliest designs, it’s still a really tough challenge, so don't spoil the fun by slogging it round off the tips.
The Golf Club is the brainchild of Fred Jones who has effectively created a charming and understated private course. We suspect that The Golf Club does not want any publicity but we passionately believe that if a course is worthy of a Top 100 ranking, it’s a legacy worth sharing. If you've played The Golf Club, we'd love to know what you think.
In his book Bury me in a Pot Bunker, Pete Dye says, "When I began sketching ideas for The Golf Club, images of two golf courses built in the 1920s came to mind. Along with the Scottish courses and Pinehurst No. 2, the design features at Seminole and Camargo influenced many of the characteristics prevalent at The Golf Club."
A key design element of Pete Dye golf courses is his use of railroad ties. Their use here was while Dye was just getting started as an architect and still experimenting. Dye used railroad ties on the third hole like a teenage girl uses text messaging.
The par four tenth hole has an interesting design feature; it has a slightly raised green that prevents the golfer from hitting a bump and run shot to the hole. Many holes have raised greens; this one is only about a foot high and creates a grassy transition from the fairway to the green.
There really isn't a bad hole on the course, but the stretch of holes from twelve through sixteen are the most brilliant. The 369-yard par four thirteenth is a world-class hole that doglegs to the left off the tee. Dye made extensive use of sawed off telephone poles in the bunker right of the green. As with many great short par fours, it is a classic risk-reward hole where the further to the left you hit the ball the more you will be rewarded, but it also brings the flowery hazard to the right into play.
Like Garden City Mens Club, Pine Valley and Augusta National, the Golf Club is an all-male club. I came away with a very favorable impression of The Golf Club, and I think that these lesser known courses by Pete Dye such as this and the Honors Course in Tennessee surpass his better known courses such as Whistling Straits or the TPC Stadium course. Also, I'm getting too old to be beaten up by a golf course. The Golf Club is challenging but is easily the type of course you can play every day and not tire of because it is a great walking course.
John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs
I think this is my favorite Pete Dye course I've seen given how it follows the lay of the land and doesn't really go overboard anywhere. The strategy of the holes is far more subtle than simply all or nothing. I can agree with the review below stating it's quite an idyllic place for a game of golf. It's certainly in great contrast to the other courses I've seen in the area and belongs in the top couple courses in Ohio only taking the course into consideration. Add the other amenities, surroundings, clubhouse, amazing locker room etc then for me The Golf Club would vie for the top position in Ohio. It's a perfect place for a get together with a few buddies. In fact, The Golf Club in my mind wins out hands down as the place I'd love to hang out with my buddies and play and enjoy what's there away from it all more than any other places I've seen in Ohio. It's definitely a really special place. Jump on any chance to experience it!
Fred Jones had a vision and was not about to be deterred from it. The Golf Club was to be a private sanctuary in which his friends could play golf and cards whenever and however they wanted. He slowly acquired 400 acres, most of which was signed over to him on crumpled handwritten notes and napkins he kept in his pocket. When one of his friends asked him if he’d had surveys done on the land, he retorted, “Of course not!” In the end, he turned all his notes and agreements over to a real-estate attorney who put everything in order for him…
The Golf Club caters to its members. It’s available whenever a member wants to use it, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The club has 150 members. Why 150? “We only have 150 lockers,” is the stock answer…
A couple of Pete Dye’s signature design elements may have first appeared here: A coyote skull lies in a waste bunker on the second hole, and until recently a hangman’s noose hung from a tree near the 16th hole. The noose was removed after one of the grounds crew was mowing the grass close to the creek. His riding mower lost traction, slid down the steep embankment, turned over, and pinned him face down. He drowned in 16 inches of water. The noose was taken down out of respect…
The Golf Club is a difficult course, make no mistake about it. The fairways are tight, the greens are severe, and the terrain is rugged. Although the fairways and greens are in terrific condition, the surrounding woods look natural. I shot a 94, respectable for a tough course like this, and birdied Number 15. Larry Berle.