By Sean P. McHugh
Cleveland Metroparks eight golf courses lay nestled in a ring of forests, rivers and valleys surrounding the City of Cleveland that’s locally coined “The Emerald Necklace.” While each course is unique in its own right – Manakiki in Willoughby and Sleepy Hollow in Brecksville rank among the top public courses in Ohio and for good reason.
Located 17 miles east of downtown Cleveland, Manakiki Golf Course is an elegant public course in a classic Donald Ross design. The course offers a variety of challenges including doglegs, water hazards, up-and-down shots, back-to-back par 5s, and two canyon holes. The course is full of picturesque beauty from its maple-lined fairways, elevated tees and greens as well as its historic clubhouse – formerly a summer estate for prominent Cleveland industrialist Howard Hanna.
Sleepy Hollow Golf Course in Brecksville offers spectacular views of the Cuyahoga River Valley and a classic “out and in” layout. The course, designed by Stanley Thompson, is known for its aesthetic beauty and challenging play. Sleepy Hollow has been the site for many amateur and professional events including qualifying events for USGA championships and every other year hosting the Greater Cleveland Amateur Championship.
While the championship layouts of Manakiki and Sleepy Hollow can challenge the best golfers, all of Cleveland Metroparks golf courses offer a unique experience.
Located at the highest point in Cuyahoga County, Seneca Golf Course in Broadview Heights offers 27 scenic holes, many of them newly renovated. The course is known for some lengthy par fours and fives.
While Cleveland Metroparks courses all offer a fast pace of play, there are several course options for golfers looking to get in just a quick 9-holes. Shawnee Hills Golf Course in Bedford is often noted as Cleveland Metroparks most versatile course with its ability to serve golfers of every skill level on its 18-hole regulation course and 9-hole par 3 course. Shawnee Hills offers hills and large pines, maples and oaks as well as the beautiful Deer Lick Creek.
Cleveland Metroparks Washington Golf Course in Newburgh Heights is a great 9-hole course only 10 minutes from downtown Cleveland. Washington Golf Course is also one of Cleveland Metroparks best practice facilities featuring a driving range, chipping area with bunkers and a target green. With its executive length, Mastick Woods Golf Course in Rocky River Reservation is ideal for juniors, new players or those looking for a leisurely golf experience.
Two additional courses tucked in the rolling hills of Rocky River Reservation include the 9-hole Little Met Golf Course and 18-hole Big Met Golf Course. Little Met offers a longer 9-holes than Mastick Woods but not the length of its larger neighbor Big Met. Big Met, believed to be Ohio’s most played golf course, features rolling hills, a moderate length as well as the scenic beauty of the Rocky River valley.
In addition to the varied courses across Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Metroparks also offers golf lessons for golfers of all ages and skill levels. Cleveland Metroparks 2019 Academy of Golf program includes a variety of lessons for both adults and juniors including clinics on short game, putting, bunkers and more. Academy of Golf Programs for the 2019 season will begin in April and continue until October.
Golf camps, golf leagues and tournaments are also offered throughout the golf season. Golfers can start their own league, join an existing league or sign up for the Cleveland Metroparks Travel League hosted at five 18-hole golf courses from April to October. The league, offered for men and women, is now in its ninth season and is a great way for adults to experience a variety of courses and meet new golfers.
For those interested in experiencing Cleveland Metroparks golf courses in a non-traditional way, Cleveland Metroparks offers several unique opportunities throughout the golf season. FootGolf is offered at Mastick Woods and Shawnee Hills Golf Courses and is a combination of soccer and golf. The game is played by kicking a regular soccer ball on shortened holes with 21-inch diameter cups. It’s a great way to experience the beauty of Cleveland Metroparks golf courses without bringing along your clubs.
Moonlight Golf is also a can’t-miss event for those looking for a unique golfing experience. Players are supplied with a glow-in-the-dark golf ball and hit the greens after the sun goes down. Moonlight Golf in 2019 includes seven events across three Cleveland Metroparks golf courses.
For golfers looking to save this season, Cleveland Metroparks Golf Bonus Rounds program is a great way to earn rewards just for playing Cleveland Metroparks golf courses. For every $1 spent on greens fees at Cleveland Metroparks Golf Courses, golfers earn $.20 in Bonus Dollars to be used on a future visit
Golfing in the Cleveland Metro Parks