The Players Club at Foxfire Golf Club just south of Columbus becomes more player friendly
LOCKBOURNE, Ohio -- There's a reason certain holes on The Players Club at Foxfire Golf Club feel so different from one another.
They were built in different eras by different architects.
Normally, such a disjointed approach brings out golf architect critics en masse who rant that a golf course should have synergy, flow and continuity. Well, The Players Club has all those characteristics, just with a twist that makes it one of the most revered and feared golf courses in central Ohio.
Foxfire Golf Club, located 15 miles south from downtown Columbus, has grown in fits and spurts over the years. The original 18 holes were built and completed by Ohio architect Jack Kidwell in 1973. A decade later, Kidwell returned to add nine new holes, and each nine was named the color of a Fox -- Grey, Red and Silver. In 1993, Kidwell's protege Barry Serafin built the final nine needed to form the 7,077-yard Players Club.
To piece the routing together, Serafin used the existing Silver nine for holes 1-4 and 14-18. His new holes sit next to the adjacent subdivision, but that in no way downgrades their appeal. The four-hole stretch starting at No. 6 is not only scenic (despite the houses) but also quite strategic. The short par-4 sixth, playing just 304 yards from the new white tees, complements the brutal 430-yard par-4 ninth. It wraps around a lake, forcing players to make a decision off the tee. The 128-yard seventh and 499-yard par-5 eighth both require all-carry tee shots.
Trees dominate the back nine, especially what members call "Hell's Half Acre." The three-hole run beginning at No. 14 -- including back-to-back par 5s -- adds up to 1,525 yards of narrow alleys, wetland and rolling hills. The 400-yard par-4 16th snakes through a tight corridor to reveal a tricky elevated green.
"I have played a lot of courses in central Ohio. I can't think of another set of holes with such exacting approaches and tee shots," said Mark McMillen of Grove City, Ohio. "For anybody who has played here, you won't get any argument."
The Players Club has battered so many egos over the years from the 6,705-yard white tees that the tees were reconfigured last year. The new whites (the old green tees) play a more manageable 6,192 yards. They are still a handful for most, while allowing a few more scoring chances.
General Manager Tom Kidder said players like The Players Club for its quality conditioning, the greens and the layout.
"Since we've moved the tees up, we are more playable," Kidder said. "People enjoy it even more."
If you're up for another round, the 6,891-yard Foxfire course is perfectly pleasant as well, featuring nine holes with water.
The Players Club at Foxfire Golf Club: The verdict
Just like people, some golf courses have better personalities than others. You can count The Players Club in that mold. Mark my word: The par-3 11th hole plays at least one extra club. Don't suffer the same watery triple bogey that three of the players in my foursome did (including me).
April 30, 2012