Course: Grantwood Golf Course
Location: Solon, Ohio (30 minutes east of Cleveland)
Driving Range: Yes, large buckets $10.00, not included with golf
Tee Info: Blues (Pro) 6,352 yards 70.7/124 Slope and rating
Date Played: 7/8 (Home course)
Weather: Sunny, mid 80s
Written By: Patrick Althof
I have to start this review with a disclaimer: I am personally biased towards this course, as the score I decided to shoot on my review day turned out to be the best score of my life, along with a hole-in-one. Go figure.
Grantwood is a beautifully laid out 18-hole course and banquet facility in the suburb of Solon, Ohio. It is a publically owned course and features discounted rates for Solon residents. Management has changed hands many times since the facility opened in 1924, and currently the biggest issue facing the course is one that plagues many public courses: overpopulation. It is not difficult to reserve a tee time, however it is nearly impossible to play the course at a smooth and comfortable pace. Walk-in players, leagues, groups of new players and senior citizens alike are all sent off at the standard 7 minute tee time spacing which causes an unbearable course backup during their prime playing hours. That being said, Grantwood maintains spectacular course conditions despite the number of players. Fairways and greens are well kept and manicured. The cuts of rough are distinct. Sand traps are clean and raked. Hazards are clearly marked and fairly challenging. And as always, USGA rules are in play at all times to maintain consistency. The carts are electric, but Grantwood is a very flat and walk-able course, with detailed scoring books available for shot selections on each hole. The course offers players of all skill levels a fun yet challenging golf opportunity, and is currently ranked as one of Cleveland’s “Best Courses to Play for Under $50.00” (Golf Magazine).
Plain and simply put, the driving range is excellent. A large bucket (105 balls) for $10.00 is plenty of warm up for a round or a practice session. Grantwood also has a great putting green, and a separate green for chipping and sand shots to practice. PGA Pro Cary Bonham is available for professional instruction, and is an excellent teacher. I spent a few sessions with him ($75.00 for an hour and a half) working on my swing and he is great! The Pro Shop is also excellent, offering the newest equipment and fitting for players, gear, and even laser cut plaques for a hole-in-one. As a banquet facility, Grantwood offers a large dining room area and an outdoor patio, making it the ideal location for outings or other events. The food is mediocre at best, so if you’re planning an outing, cook for yourself. It’s cheaper and more fun anyway!
I played from the Pro Tees (Blue) for my review; however the overall distance is only about 200 yards shorter from the Whites. There are only three holes where playing from the blues makes that much of a difference. Hole #1 is a par four where hitting a driver isn’t necessary. The driving range is left, and the highway is right, so you need to be accurate off of the tee. Hole #2 is tricky for those who hit big off of the tee. At 280 yards, there is a 6 foot creek running through the middle of the fairway. Either go big, or hit 3 wood. Hole #3 features a left to right tee shot, followed by an approach that must clear a 60 foot pond in front of the green. Hole #4 is the first par 3 at 205 yards with the driving range to the left and OB right. Hole #5 is the first hole where the blue tees make a difference. It is a par 5, but 500 yards at the whites and 585 from the blue. The fairway funnels to the green and it is downhill slightly, so a good tee shot and fairway shot can still get you home in two. Hole #6 is an easy par 5. Hole #7 is now currently my favorite hole: a 165 yard par 3, surrounded by bunkers with water to the left. A smooth 7 iron bounced about 10 feet short of the hole and rolled right up and in for me. Ace! I received my plaque from the course about two weeks later, and obviously had to buy everyone in the clubhouse a round. Hole #8 features a natural wild habitat growing into the fairway, which makes no sense, so aim left or it’s a penalty. The front finishes with a short par 3 that is wide open, but has a two tiered green. You must go for the flag or else a three putt is easily doable.
Personally, I found the back 9 much more enjoyable than the front. It plays perfectly into my game. Long tee shots, right to left holes, and big smooth greens. Hole #12 is an uphill par 3 with OB woods as a backboard, yet the hole always plays longer than the yardage. It is a really tough 3. The signature series of holes comes up after the short par 4 13th. 14 is a medium range 185 yard par 3 with OB woods to the right, a slight portion of which you must carry to reach the green. 15 is a linked par 5 requiring two massive shots to get home in 2. Par is a great score here. 16 and 17 are back to back beautiful 400 + yard par 4’s with wide open greens. On 17, after a great drive, I knocked in an 8 iron for an eagle. It really was my day. And finally, 18 is also a long par 4 back to the club house, with a tough green to hit as it’s surrounded by bunkers. Par is a great score here as well.
Not to sound repetitive, but anytime you can break 80, you may tend to favor that particular course. I have played Grantwood numerous times with varying results and it remains one of my favorites. Lately though, the failure to address the slow play and the number of people mixing in with leagues has become a major problem for the course. If you’ve ever had to wait after literally EVERY shot, you know what I’m talking about. It’s unfortunate because Grantwood is such a beautiful course and I play it so frequently. That being said, the cost for 18 with a cart is still under $50.00, and if you can get out before league play or avoid prime playing hours, you should move smoothly.