Top 10 public golf courses in Ohio

Ohio, in the Midwest of the United States, boasts a rich golfing tradition with many superb golf courses that are open to the public. Here’s our top 10.

Whether you’re a pro golfer or a casual enthusiast, you’ll find a wide range of courses here offering scenic beauty, challenging layouts and excellent playing conditions.

10. The Golf Club at Stonelick Hills

Located just outside Cincinnati, this is one of the top public golf courses in the state, and its affordable. Designed by Jeff Osterfeld, this championship course offers a challenging yet fair test, routed through heavily forested hills and over and around numerous ponds and lakes.

Ohio golf course

9. Manakiki Golf Course

Located in Willoughby east of downtown Cleveland, this is an elegant public course. It’s a classic Donald Ross design with variety of challenges including doglegs, water hazards, up-and-down shots, back-to-back par 5s and two canyon holes. Many years ago, the city of Cleveland obtained both this course and Sleepy Hollow (below) and made them part of the city’s park system. Both today are among the most popular public courses in the state.

Manakiki GC Ohio

8. The Quarry Golf Club

Set in Canton, this is built around an old limestone quarry, creating a visually striking course. Designed by Brian Huntley, it’s a links-style layout with dramatic elevation changes, deep bunkers, 100-feet cliffs, streams and stunning views. This course offers a unique golfing experience in breathtaking surroundings and it’s a public layout so everybody can come and experience this one of a kind venue.

The Quarry Golf Club

7. Shaker Run Golf Club

This is a public championship course located between Cincinnati and Dayton. It’s an Arthur Hills design which is known for its unique combination of woodlands, water hazards and manicured fairways. The course is made up of 27 holes divided into three distinct nines: Woodlands, Meadows and Lakes, so it offers a great variety of play and excellent value for money.

Shaker Run Golf Club

6. Sleepy Hollow

In Brecksville, this course opened to the public back in 1963 and was originally designed by Stanley Thompson. It offers great views of the Cuyahoga River Valley. Hole 14 features a 70-feet canyon and is one of the standout holes in the region. It’s one of the prettiest courses you can play anywhere and it’s in pristine condition. It’s one of the few golf courses in the United States to sit on National Park land.

Sleepy Hollow

5. The Virtues Golf Club

Near Columbus, this course is set in the rolling hills of southeast Ohio. Designed by Arthur Hills, one of his most natural designs, this 18-hole championship layout showcases the beauty of the area with its lovely views and strategic bunkering. Known for its impeccable conditioning, it’s popular among both local and visiting golfers.

virtues gc

4. Firestone Country Club’s West Course

Updated by Tom Fazio in 2021, this is a links-style course in Akron originally built in 1989. At just under 7,000 yards from the back tees, the opening nine routes around the perimeter of Robert Trent Jones’ South Course, while the closing nine climbs in elevation providing great views. It’s undulating fairways are open making it easier for public golfers than the South and North courses at this esteemed club, but it’s got typical Fazio large bunker complexes.

ohio golf

3. Firestone Country Club’s North Course

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, this course opened in 1969, ten years after his South Course opened for play. While the South gets most of the plaudits, the North rivals it as the best layout at this club. It routes around the Firestone Reservoir, providing water holes together with tree-lined fairways, lush parkland and large speedy greens. The American Golf Classic and the World Series of Golf have been hosted here.

firestone ohio

2. Fowler’s Mill Golf Course

Set in scenic countryside just 30 minutes east of downtown Cleveland, this club features two 18-hole layouts: The Lake Course and The River Course. The Lake is a Pete Dye masterpiece and one of the finest public golf course experiences in northeast Ohio, known for its picturesque water hazards. The River Course, designed by Jack Kidwell, winds along the Chagrin River, offering stunning views. Together they are an excellent option for public golfers and they’re affordable too.


1. Firestone Country Club’s South Course

Updated by Robert Trent Jones in preparation for the 1960 PGA Championship, this is the most vaunted best public-access course in the state having hosted three PGA Championships and several PGA Tour events including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Once called a ‘Monster’ by Arnold Palmer, it’s part of this famous 54-hole club which though private does offers tee times at its three courses to public golfers who book a stay-and-play package. 

Jones’ update added dozens of bunkers, closed off green fronts and lengthened it to over 7,000 yards with several new water hazards. Over the years this tree-lined test has remained a demanding layout with a premium on ball striking. 

ohio golf
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