Cleveland’s Windmill Lakes Golf Course: A Golfer’s Dream
Windmill Lakes Golf Course in Ohio more than just a golf course.
The home course for Kent State University golf teams, Windmill Lakes Golf Course in Ravenna is arguably one of the best public tracks in northern Ohio, and was named Course of the Year in 2011 by the National Golf Course Owners Association. It gets high marks not only for its conditioning, but also for its value – you can play golf with a cart for less than $50.
Windmill Lakes has another giant feather in its cap: Herb Page, director of golf since 1977 and co-owner with his good friend Dr. Emilio Ferrara. Coach to the men and women’s golf teams at Kent State for 31 years, Page’s teams, the Golden Flashes, have achieved 16 Mid-American Conference (MAC) titles. Page himself has garnered 17 MAC Coach of the Year awards, is a member of four halls of fame and was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 from the Northern Ohio PGA.
Page’s passion for golf is apparent in his savvy management and superb maintenance of Windmill Lakes, a course that packs a double punch with its tree-lined parkland-style layout and impressive merchandising operation.
“Windmill Lakes is not your typical public course,” said Page. “It’s very mature with lots of trees lining the fairways and we have 54 greenside bunkers, big rolling greens, five beautiful lakes and an extensive driving range.”
Designed by Edward Ault Sr., everything is right in front of you. A relatively flat layout, there are no forced carries and unlike most courses, there are only two par 5s. That sets up some pretty challenging par 4s considering the course is almost 7,000 yards from the tips.
The first par 5, hole No. 4 is just plain long, playing 567 yards from the tips and with a creek running along the right side, it’s the number one handicap test. Still Page said, “One of the trickiest holes, No. 7, is actually the shortest par 4. With OB on the left, a hazard on the right and three greenside bunkers, it’s very, very tight.” Page also likes No. 18, a tree-lined dogleg up the hill. “It’s one of my favorites,” he says.
There are five tee boxes ranging from 6,936 to 5,368 yards and with about 400 yards separating each one, this is one of the best tee box setups we’ve seen, giving all skill levels choices.
Several professional events have been held at Windmill Lakes since it opened in 1970, including the U.S.G.A. Public Links Sectional Qualifiers and the Mid-American Men’s Golf Championships. “We do everything including charitable events, and this year we hosted more junior golf programs than ever before,” said Page.
Golf Gear Galore
Another big asset at the course is The Shoppe at Windmill Lakes – an amazing, 7,000 sq. ft., multi-level facility with a huge array of apparel and golf equipment. Open to the public, the shop has won several merchandising awards and draws crowds from far and wide who come here just to shop. Offering all major brands, including Greg Norman, Ping, Adidas and Nike, The Shoppe has more than 3,000 pairs of shoes, 500 of which are just for ladies.
“Every August we run a four-day massive tent sale,” Page said. “People come from everywhere. We have three tents for this extravaganza — it’s becoming a three-ring circus. I’ve heard people come from Pittsburgh just to shop.”
Windmill Lakes also has one of the best club fitting operations in the area, using TrackMan and official fitters for Titliest and Ping are always on-hand.
About 30 minutes away, another facility, the Windmill Golf Center, an upscale driving range has 25 covered and heated bays, another high-volume shop and a 27-hole short course. The course, in the tradition of the old pitch-and-putts that helped to popularize the game many years ago, is bringing entire families out to play.
“It’s so cool,” says Page. “You see mom and dad and the kids walking with one or two clubs and it only takes them 30 or 40 minutes to play a few holes.”
Featured image courtesy of Ohio Golf.com