Brass Ring Golf Club
LOGAN, OH - The elm tree is gone now, though from the tee on the beautiful seventh hole at the Brass Ring Golf Club just a few miles away as the crow flies, it's clear why Mingo Chief Logan gave such an impassioned speech while standing under its boughs back in 1775.
The tree died in 1964 from damage from more than 200 years of blights and storms. It was under its boughs that Mingo Chief Logan told of how his family had been slaughtered by white settlers and how he was not ready to fight so Native Americans could retain control of the beautiful Ohio hills and rivers.
But neither was he ready to turn and run. The words Logan spoke that day eventually made their way to the floor of Congress in Washington D.C. and into the mouth of Thomas Jefferson, on a debate about reparations for Native Americans.
Though no white man was ever denied food and shelter by Logan, they killed his family anyhow. "Who is there to mourn for Logan?" the great chief had asked and Jefferson had repeated to his colleagues. No one.
Logan, his Elm and the history he made under its green canopy came and went, and today it's from places like this tee that people can get a glimpse of what Ohio must have looked like in Logan's time and why he and others would not give up without a fight.
The Buckeye hills of Ohio spread out below as far as the eye can see. It is a rolling green carpet in the summer before changing to a patchwork quilt of colors every fall. The temptation is to lay a driver out over this valley and draw the ball back to the green, a seemingly short 253 yards from the white tees on the slight dogleg.
Forget about that. It may be tempting but it's an improbable shot - if not downright impossible. Hit the nine-iron instead. That's one of the surprises of this course.
A trip to the Southeast Ohio hills for golf offers few opportunities for a quality round because there just aren't that many people and courses in this corner of a state to support more than one or two championship courses.
The Brass Ring exists because, for most of its life, it was a nine-hole country club. Today, it's semi-private, so traveling golfers can slap down their credit card and be rolling through wide fairways that may not be as challenging as they are fun.
The course has at least one golfing anomaly: a working oil rig in the plush fairway just out-of-sight around the dogleg bend on number three. Expect pocket lakes to pop up here and there, too, so keep an eye on the back of the scorecard for those water holes.
Whatever the course may lack in challenge - narrow fairways, difficult bunkers, and impossible sloping greens - it makes up with plenty of natural beauty. Deep and thick beds of flowers bloom like crazy and fill the sides of the elevated tee boxes.
There are phloxes and black-eyed Susans. Petunias abound and flowing shrubs are alongside every tee. Honestly, the flowers alone probably make a trip to this course worth the effort.
The course was designed and then built in 1940 and has gone through several changes since then, the most significant occurring in 1995 when nine new holes and a brand new clubhouse were added. Jack Kidwell was the course designer.
There is a banquet room that serves up to 250, dining room and grill and above the course, like a transplanted Colorado ski chalet, the clubhouse's wall of windows look down upon the front nine.
The private club feel to the place begins on the first hole, where a golfer realizes he is going to be putting on greens that are country-club slick.
A couple of holes are memorable. Number One bends down a fairway lined with historic and tall pines. Number eight is a par five through a pair of tall Oak trees. Number 16 has a wide, forgiving landing zone but the green is small and its slope is sheer enough to turn even tight approach shots into a three-putt nightmare.
Head professional Brian Carney doesn't think those fairways are so patty cake after all.
"My favorite part of the course is that you have to be accurate off the tees. Good shots are rewarded," he said. "Sure, some of the fairways are wide but I think on some holes you have to hit your spots and fire a perfect shot."
Then, too, there is the raw beauty of Ohio and the hills that Logan, namesake for the nearby town, would eventually fight to control. "There is a lot of views and vistas out there," Carney said. "It is very picturesque and sometime you just have to take it all in and just gaze at those Hocking Hills."
A traveling golfer has plenty of choices for lodging in the nearby Hocking Hills but few can match the accommodations at the Inn at Cedar Falls - find it at www.innatcedarfalls.com. It is a getaway in the purest sense of the word.
The Inn at Cedar Falls offers two-bedroom log cabins and more than a mile of hiking trails that connect with state park trails to local attractions. Deer are everywhere, thick as sparrows on most mornings, while above the misty hills, hawks soar on thermals.
The food is the treat, prepared from scratch. Fine American cuisine is the specialty as the Inn's organic vegetable and herb gardens are the basis for seasonal meals served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rooms are comfortable and furnished with antiques.
Look for hummingbirds dining on flowery nectar and the lucky few who rise early in the morning might catch a glimpse of a hawk hunting through the misty thermals. The cabins have no television, but that is somehow okay. Most have outdoor tables, perfect for a post-round card game or drink.