Pros: Not very busy; friendly staff; decent mix of interesting and forgiving holes
Cons: Bunkers are lousy; Lots of Construction/unfinished areas; Fairway conditions are hit-or-miss
I'm a relatively new golfer, and so when I'm looking for a course, I tend to look for two things: a course that's a good value and won't beat me up too much. Phoenix does a good job of fitting the bill.
I don't know all the history, but as I understand it, the course was built relatively recently on a reclaimed landfill. Some area golfers like to make snide jokes about that, but the course does a pretty good job of recapturing Scottish Links-style terrain what with its lack of trees. The fescue is unforgiving, though, although so many golfers abandon balls hit into it that if you're patient, you can play a round with a net gain of golf balls (key tips for success as a student golfer, #331, never turn down free golf balls, no matter their condition).
The staff at Phoenix has always been very friendly and accommodating. When walking to their driving range, which is up a short but steep hill, I've often had course employees on carts stop while passing by and ask if I want a ride. The pro shop employees and snack bar girls have always been nice. Charlie, who I think owns the course, is a real nice guy.
The course itself is usually in decent shape, but I often see some rough patches on the fairways and unrepairs ball marks on greens. The bunkers, though, are in pretty bad shape and tend to just be hardpacked clay and mud versus sand. I'm not complaining, though, it just makes them easier to get out of. The course benefits from having a lot of land, so the spacing between holes is good. There is a good mix of easy and challenging holes (at least for a new player), and the par 3 17th is a lot of fun to play as it has a steep drop right off the tees to the green. Knock a pitching wedge up in the air and enjoy watching it fly.
The course runs parallel to I-71, so for a few holes you're dealing with unpleasant sight lines and road noise, but the lack of wind breaks makes for some fun wind patterns, plus you get a nice view of the Columbus skyline from the course. You also get a view of the cement plant next door; take the good with the bad.
The course could be just a little bit cheaper for the golf it offers, but it's not that expensive and a nice change of pace from the Munis or the overpriced semi-private courses (I'm look at you, Golf Club of Dublin).
For low-to-mid handicapper, you may get frustrated at the pace of play as there are a fair amount of duffers out there. Alternatively, the high handicapper can enjoy a round without stressing over holding people up. The folks who play out there tend to understand this and are accommodating with requests to play through. Don't rely on the Rangers to enforce pace of play, though, I don't see them on the course all that often.
Columbus has some amazing courses, and to be fair, Phoenix is not in that conversation. But it's a nice, accessible course, that everyone in Central Ohio ought to go play once.