My home course is Brookledge Golf Club in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Began as a 9-holer and was redesigned by Arthur Hills to an 18-hole beautiful golf course. Since the redesign in the late 90s, upgrades to irrigation, bunkers and greens have taken place. All bunkers have fairway, an intermediate cut and the long blade shaggy grass around them that sometimes 'save' your ball from the sand itself. However, when you inspect your lie, you WISH it was in the sand and not in the 3" deep rough around the bunker. Very nice upgrades.
Greens are usually perfect, roll nice and putt on the fast side. Fairways are always cut like collars around the greens. Can't get a bad lie from the short stuff. The roughs have been cut down as of last couple of years, but they over seed them to a point where it doesn't matter ... still very difficult to get a club through the rough. Fairways, greens and tee boxes are your typical northern bent grass variety. Roughs are fescue, rye, bluegrass mix. Fairways roll nice because they're cut close, greens hold nicely and putt well.
The "Amen Corner" of the course starts with #12, a 170-ish yard par 3 over a ravine with green shrouded by large old-wood oaks guarding left and right. Sometimes it's easier just to visit the drop area right and long of the green and try for a bogey! OB left, trees right and deep. Green slants from back to front and from right to left. Just treacherous.
#13 would be easy if they took out the 70' high oak that guards the left and middle of this dogleg left hole. If you negotiate the 180 to the cart path over another ravine and can hit it at least 230, you have about a 7 or 8 iron into the green. The green is long and narrow, grass bunkers right, huge sand bunkers short and left. The pin placement is usually unfair on a very undulating green that provides no place for anything close to a flat putt.
#14 is always an adventure. Another par-3 that can range from 140 to nearly 200 yards over a total naturalized area. A creek parallels the green left, then cuts in front and runs the length back to the deep tee boxes. The green is generous in size and has a really nice grassy bank area right before you'd find the trees. Bail out is definitely right, bunkers guard short and right as well. Left is dead - creek, cart path and woods. Great contour to the green that is about 40 yards deep. Over the years, we've seen some seriously long putts drained here.
#15 is an uphill driving area. Again, the same ravine asks for about 200 yards of carry to get it up and into the fairway. If you hit the left half of the fairway, you are rewarded with about another 40-50 yards of roll. Right is dead due to an island of trees from 180 to 250 off the tee. From the fairway, it's still a long iron into the 390 yard par-4. Easy green once you get there, but amply guarded with grass bunkers short, right and large sand traps left of green.
#16 is a 535 yard par 5. Straight off the tee sets up a measured 2nd shot that has to find the left corner of the fairway just short of the creek that feeds into the par-3 #13. You HAVE to be in the right spot, (left corner of fairway and near the creek) because of another 80' high sycamore tree that guards the right half of the fairway at 120 out. Par on this hole will win you a skin most days.
End of "Amen Corner" on this nine. It's pretty easy, even as a decent player, to play this stretch (holes 12-16) at +6 or worse. Not many 'gimme pars' at all.
#17 and 18 are great finishing holes both with birdie opportunities. #17 requires a big cut drive around the 'Eisenhower' tree that guards the dogleg right driving area. A good drive leaves an 8-iron to wedge for the bigger hitters into an uphill green that holds anything. If you can knock it close, the green putts easily. #18 requires a drive of only 200-210 to reach the far side of the dogleg. 240-250 puts you in the water. Dogleg right is guarded by a massive hill and woods right and ugly 'happy grass' (the British Open type) left. Put your drive in the fairway and you're looking at no more than 7-iron into the green. Green is very wide but only about 30-40' deep on the approach and is well-guarded by trap that covers 70% of the greens width. No 'sneaking' one on here.
The front nine at this course is a pure joy to play. Fair, challenging and picturesque. I've played the front nine (par 35) under 40 several times. Never came CLOSE to breaking 40 on the back nine. Definitely a Jekyll and Hyde / Tale of Two Nines type course. When you tee it up on 10 you're feeling pretty good about yourself. Then you run into the stretch of holes 12-16 and the wheels can easily come off. I've seen it happen to me, my playing partners and some VERY good players as well.
Anyone visiting NE Ohio, put this one on your list. You won't be disappointed.