We asked our readers to vote for their favorite local courses and, occasionally, the boundaries got stretched. Like the man who voted for the TPC at Sawgrass, which is just outside Jacksonville, which is in Florida, which is just a tad south of the 14-county region we include in this annual golf section.
We also received votes for Blackberry Patch and The Grande, which are just a bit too far north in Michigan, and Eagle Creek, too far east near Norwalk. But the voters are right. Those courses are simply marvelous. The Grande is aptly named, as pretty as they come, and The Patch is a robust test that demands shots with every club, including Canadian Club. Eagle Creek draws from Toledo and Cleveland alike and for good reason.
As for Blade golf writer Dave Hackenberg, he'll stay inside our circulation area for his list of favorites:
1. The Legacy: Country club conditions, on the course and in the dining room. Some wonderful water holes, and isn't trying to drive the green at No. 10 the most fun around?
2. Maumee Bay: I sometimes wish the state parks system took better care of it, but this is a masterful links-style layout, and you never know what you're going to get until you test the wind.
3. Red Hawk Run: If only this Findlay dandy hugged a body of water, you could close your eyes and imagine being dropped along the craggy Irish coast. Bring your game.
4. Carrington: Not many places where golfers are treated better, and rarely will players find a course in better shape. A tough, but fair test in Monroe.
5. Eagle's Landing: Sometimes we equate hard with good. But this is a very fair, playable course with some pretty holes that are plenty good. Course and pro shop both player-friendly.
6. Valleywood: The first five are among the area's newer courses, but this is an oldie that has stood the test of time thanks to lush, country club conditions. The new clubhouse is top-shelf.
7. Stone Ridge: A bit pricey, perhaps, by northwest Ohio standards because walking is not an option, but it's a fine layout with a collection of par-3 holes that is second to none in the area.
8. Ottawa Park: Well into its second century, it's a monument to S.P. Jermain and is as fun to play as ever. Plus, the living legend, Mary Tossell, and her snack bar crew set the standard.
9. White Pines: This rural track near Swanton opened as a no-frills layout with the idea that less maintenance would mean lower fees for golfers. Who knew it would also be a darn good course?
10. Riverby Hills: Another veteran, with a wonderful variety of holes and a back nine that belies the fact that we're in the flatlands of northwest Ohio.
11. Bedford Hills: It's a popular, 27-hole complex just a wedge shot north of the Ohio-Michigan line. We particularly like the Irish and Wolverine nines and the New York strips on the grill.
12. Whiteford Valley (Red/Blue courses): Seventy-two holes in all, some of which are pretty sporty, augmented by a well-stocked pro shop and a spacious clubroom.
13. South Toledo: An old parkland layout that's always in nice shape. It's the place to shop for golf shoes. Plus, extra points for the dome that keeps golf alive during a never-ending winter.
14. Giant Oak: A few years ago, this course might not have made the cut, but it has benefited from some TLC and is a fun play.
15. Ironwood: It's worth the drive to Wauseon to play a traditional parkland course that has a little more length and a little more bite than expected.
16. Detwiler Park: One of Art Hills' early designs, it can be a bear from the tips. Gets a lot of play and, unfortunately, conditions fluctuate.
17. Tamaron: Lots of trees, hills, water, out of bounds, and history. This old track, once a private club, was designed by Harold Weber, Toledo's first great amateur golfer.
18. (tie) Spuyten Duyval and Chippewa: Two courses that merit more respect. Hey, every course can't be Inverness, but that doesn't mean they can't still be fun to play.
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