Sitting in the breakfast nook at the hotel in Canton, Ohio, Friday morning a few feet from me were four fellows all wearing stylish golf hats representing various golf courses. It was all the impetus I needed to say good morning and strike up some golf chat. Amongst the friendly four was a fellow Canadian, a good-natured chap from Nova Scotia, he being the guest as the remainder were all native Ohioans. My attire was more a tuned to spending the morning at The Pro Football Hall of Fame with Myra while leaving our options open to playing golf after lunch at yet to be determined local golf course.
Among the list of courses, the 4 guys were playing during their week together, The Quarry Golf Club garnered the most attention and commentary. It was high on everyone’s list. Only 5 minutes into our early start at The Pro Football Hall of Fame, my Friday email to GM/Owner Doug Titko was responded to with a very friendly phone call and invite to come out and play around 1:30 that afternoon.
Located a mere 15 minutes from away, we trimmed our time looking at the incredible displays and careers of the greatest NFL players down a little and got geared up to play golf. Now, we’ve been very fortunate over the years to meet wonderful GM’s, Directors of Golf, Head professionals and a few private owners, but none have extended the welcome and warmth more than Doug Titko. From that initial phone call at 9:30 AM to our farewell some 8 and half hours later his generosity, kindness and hands-on presence was significant.
Even with limited food services available, he made sure the upbeat server Kaley brought us a fresh light lunch and a cold drink. It was the perfect opportunity to meet with Doug Titko and now Director of Golf, Troy Schonover, while satisfying our hunger with a great bratwurst on a bun and a fresh chicken salad sandwich. Doug, Troy and a few other key players make up the small ownership group who recently purchased the entire golf operation in the late spring of this year.
The Quarry already had a successful past and excellent reputation so the mandate for this very talented and successful group of business people is to maintain what is already there and enhance this amazing facility to an even greater degree. The 27,000 square foot clubhouse is beautiful inside and out with an outstanding rich wooden interior décor. The pro shop is spacious and conveniently positioned and in due time will be fully stocked.
The multi-tiered driving range is close by and there is an ample parking. The power carts are smooth gas powered EZ Go’s with GPS. With a fairly brisk wind blowing and scattered clouds, we were excited to get going. Of course, and no surprise to us by this point, it was Doug Titko himself that walked us to the car, helped load up Myra’s clubs and sent us off.
We knew from seeing the course from the entrance road that it was pretty juicy, but the initial cherry on top was the first close up look we got as we turned the corner and approached the first tee. We call it the “Oh My God” moment. Just that look alone cemented a very solid positive opinion that was confirmed with every hole we played. Although parts of the course had been part of a working quarry there is more evidence that oil was pumped out of these grounds with a few old oil pump jacks remaining around the course. The short downhill Par 3 6th has one just left of the path, a very unique feature for sure
The course is very challenging and rewarding to play with so many spectacular holes and views that I could have posted 50 photos to augment this review. The Par 4 8th requires a tee shot over a hazard and a second shot short of a another one focusing on accuracy and placement off the tee rather than just bombing away. Your front nine finishes with a slightly uphill Par 3 guarded by a few well placed bunkers in front. In behind is the halfway house, The Oasis which is where the foursome in front stopped for a break and enjoyed watching Myra pure a 5 wood to 15 feet, definitely the shot of the day. Hole 10 mirrors the first from the tee but is slightly shorter giving way to length on the beautiful Par 5 11th. Water left and mounding right it’s a straight runway of beautiful fairway that leads you to the green. Designer Brian Huntley is no household name outside of Ohio, but that is insignificant. If this was the only course he ever designed he could proudly sit at any table with the likes of the design teams at Palmer, RT Jones, Nicklaus and Dye to name a few.
Superintendent Kevin Hershey has been handed an incredible template and is maintaining it to a very high standard. The most important playing aspects of the course are all beautifully kept; smooth running greens, nicely mowed lush fairways and 5 great level tee boxes per hole.
A couple of the bunkers were a little soggy from recent heavy rains, so other than the first hole when I got out easily Myra and I just made a point to stay out of them. Myra being of the petite but capable category was pleased that in spite of some daunting tee shots the “forward, not ladies” tees made the course very playable for her. Don’t shy away from bringing any shorter hitters be they young juniors, aging seniors or smaller gals.You can see by the photos that this is a stunning course and it is why Myra and I both agreed that this very publicly accessible gem is a must play.
The topography is quite severe in places and no more so than when you get to the Par 4 – 13th hole continuing until you stagger off the green on the daunting Par 5 – 15th hole. Add two clubs to your approach shot on 13 as it rises up to the green at least 75 feet from 100 yards out. 14th is a short par 4 severely rising to a plateau that sits adjacent to a huge slab of the remaining quarry 50 yards from the green. The Par 5 – 15th from the upper tee situated next to the 14th green is beyond outstanding, bordering on perilous. The hang time on my drive rivaled one of those crazy skiers in the winter Olympics who barrel down that 120-meter wooden ramp and soar what seems like forever. Once down to the fairway you then go uphill to an elevated green that looks like its sitting on Mount Everest. How I made par on the 15th was by playing target golf to near perfection.
Herbert Warren Wind famously described the consecutive 3 holes of 11, 12 and 13th at Augusta National as “Amen Corner ” and if he were alive today he might use a similar biblical reference and name this section of the course “Hallelujah Ridge” for the utterances expressed by surviving this punishing joy. As you exhale and look back in shock, you then come upon my favorite Par 4 on the course – the 16th followed by the signature hole; the dramatic downhill Par 17th. You are then homeward bound to a delicious finishing hole the Par 4 – 18th, water left and the gargantuan clubhouse in the background.
So, if like us, you are a traveling golfer, one of the near 100 members or a local green fee payer looking for memorable golf come play The Quarry. The drive from tee to green through hardwood forests is both serene and majestic and at an almost laughable fall green fee rate of $39 with a power cart this might be the deal of century. The round ended on a positive note with the exceptional service continuing with multi tasker Taylor assisting us with our bags into the car and Troy, Doug and I sharing more rewarding conversation about the exciting future of another of America’s hidden gems.
Phone (330) 488 3178