G-o-o-g-le-.-c-o-m, Matt typed. Then, b-e-s-t O-h-i-o g-o-l-f r-e-s-o-r-t-s.
A month later, we were standing on a 1st tee in Hubbard, a northeast Ohio town of about 10,000, according to its website, with at least one great grocery store (Giant Eagle!), at least two Waffle Houses just off the interstate into town, and the home to a golf package that includes 54 courses and 25 places to stay.
Including one labeled as a mansion. Which “accommodates up to 20 guests,” according to a pamphlet, but accommodated just me and Matt in early October.
Matt and I are college buddies. He lives just outside of Milwaukee. I live in New York City. What’s in the middle? Ohio! Maps, who knew? We really did go to college! About an eight-hour drive for him. About a six-hour drive for me. The ’rona had ruined, in our opinions, any chance of us going to an airport, getting on an airplane and going to the various libraries and salad restaurants that have made up our previous boys weekend trips. But maybe we could paint our pictures and pick up our highway trash in the Buckeye State.
Matt’s search found the Penn Ohio Golf Trail.
The Trail, through its website or a phone call (877-534-6789), coordinates the golf and lodging, and the price depends on where you play and where you stay. I would get in on a Tuesday night, Matt the next afternoon, we would play 54 holes over two days and leave Friday. He paid $295, and I paid $335.
At a little after noon on Wednesday, I found the right side of the fairway on the 1st hole at Pine Lakes Golf Club in Hubbard, Ohio. Matt found the middle.
I left the Upper West Side of Manhattan at around 11, listened to a Pennsylvania radio potpourri of Queen, Huey Lewis and Eurythmics, and turned into the “Tod Mansion” at around 5. The Tod had multiple bedrooms named after golfers (I, naturally, stayed in the downstairs Ben Hogan room, and Matt, naturally, in the upstairs Jack Nicklaus room), an outdoor grilling area, an outdoor porch and a downstairs game room – all to ourselves. We were kings, and, yes, there was also a room also named after Arnie.
Pam and her daughter let me in. Pam was our guide and our cook. She pointed me in the direction of the nearby Giant Eagle (great beer selection!) She would also make us breakfast on Thursday and Friday morning.
I watched both the first presidential debate and the Jean-Claude Van Damme, 1980s love story “Bloodsport” on the Tod’s 55-inch TV before going to sleep. In my mansion.
Wednesday, we played Pine Lakes, a 6,612-yarder from-the-tips par-72. Fall golf at its finest. Lots of red and brown trees. Lots of birds flying south. A few beers. A few pars. Afterward, we grilled 30 wings on our outdoor grill. In our mansion.
Thursday, we started at Oak Tree Country Club in West Middlesex, Pa., a 6,658-yarder-from-the-tips par-71. Fall morning golf at its finest. We teed off at 9, but we were the first car in the parking lot, the first to roll Titleists through the morning dew and likely the first to crack open a beer. (A coffee stout – we got our morning coffee in.) A few traps. A few doglegs. Lots of shot making required.
(Sports gambling note! Gambling is legal in Pennsylvania, but not in Ohio, so if that’s your thing, schedule your play around the “Penn” part of the Penn Ohio Golf Trail. We may or may not have wagered on the Sanderson Farms.)
We played our second 18 at Reserve Run Golf Course n Poland, Ohio, a 6,161-yard par-70. Fall afternoon golf at its finest. Come for the 18, which includes a terrific two-hole stretch along a winding river on the front nine. Stay for the stories from the course’s owner, who was sitting in the clubhouse when we checked in. Matt told him that he lived in Milwaukee. He had a Milwaukee story. I told him that I lived in New York. He had a New York story – in which a friend of his was hosting a birthday party in Brooklyn, a friend of his friend asked if he could bring a friend, and that friend turned out to be Lady Gaga!
Afterward, we stopped at Giant Eagle again (great meat department!), then grilled some steaks on our outdoor grill. In our mansion.
Time to leave.
A few photos. A Covid friendly fistbump.
And a pact that we would annually come back to Hubbard, a northeast Ohio town named after Nehemiah Hubbard, according to its website, with at least one great grocery store (Giant Eagle!), a mansion that can accommodate 20 or two, and at least three fall-golf-at-its-finest golf courses.
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