Go back to school at Kent State with a round on the Windmill Lakes Golf Club in Ravenna

By Jason Scott Deegan, Senior Staff Writer

RAVENNA, Ohio -- It's been 10 years since that miracle Sunday when Ben Curtis, a relative unknown pro from nearby Stow, captured the world's oldest major, the 2003 Open Championship.

Windmill Lakes Golf Club - 17th
At 442 yards, the 17th hole is one of the challenging par 4s at Windmill Lakes Golf Club.
Windmill Lakes Golf Club - 17thWindmill Lakes Golf Club - Ben Curtis tributeWindmill Lakes Golf Club - hole 16
If you go

Windmill Lakes Golf Club

3.5 stars out of 5 (based on 2 reviews)
See all reviews | Submit your rating

Windmill Lakes Golf Club consistently ranks as one of the best courses in the state and is definitely the top golf course in northeastern Ohio. Located in Ravenna, it is the home course for the men's and women's golf teams at Kent State, which is only six miles east of the club.

18 Holes | Public golf course | Par: 70 | 6936 yards | Book online | ... details »

The accomplishment lives on at Windmill Lakes Golf Club. There's a picture of Curtis near the entrance to the clubhouse, and two boulders sporting plaques that honor Curtis sit near the putting green.

Curtis might have gone big-time, but he's still very connected to his roots.

Curtis, who won the 2012 Valero Texas Open for his third career PGA Tour victory, returned to Windmill Lakes earlier this summer for a round with a few of the current players of the Kent State University men's golf team. He honed his game at Windmill Lakes as a member of the Golden Flashes, graduating in 2000.

In many ways, Windmill Lakes -- located six miles from Kent State's campus -- and Curtis are a lot alike. They're both good, really good, just not quite recognized as top tier. They're both underappreciated underdogs. Windmill Lakes never shows up on the Golfweek or Golf Digest rankings of the state's top courses, although it's considered among the best public tracks in northeast Ohio. The National Golf Course Owners Association honored Windmill Lakes as its Ohio course of the year in 2011.

"It is a good middle-of-the-road course in terms of value," Twinsburg resident David Sullivan said before a recent round. "It is one of the courses we would play regularly. It is always enjoyable."

Windmill Lakes Golf Club: The course

Founded in 1970, Windmill Lakes fits the definition of a classic parkland course. Seven small lakes dot a natural landscape void of houses or commotion. The land rolls gently, providing just enough movement to stay interesting.

With just two par 5s, the 6,936-yard par-70 layout plays hard to get in relation to par. Big hitters can't feast on the par 5s, but they must fight for birdies on long demanding par 4s guarded by bunkers, narrow fairways and big greens.

From the 6,500-yard blue tees, six par 4s stretch to more than 400 yards, leaving average players hitting long irons and hybrids on approach shots. The 18th, a 418-yarder, is perhaps the best hole at Windmill Lakes. The fairway doglegs left before climbing uphill to a sloping, elevated green.

"The hazards are the trees," Sullivan said. "If you are just a little off the fairway, you've got trees in the way."

Herb Page, the head professional/director of golf at Windmill Lakes since 1977 and the head coach of the Golden Flashes for more than 30 years, is the engine that runs the club. He keeps the Shoppe at Windmill Lakes so stocked with merchandise that many locals use the clubhouse as their golf superstore, stocking up on the latest technology for the season.

Windmill Lakes Golf Club: The verdict

Windmill Lakes Golf Club won't wow golfers with scenic signature holes. Instead, it grinds their game into submission, especially testing the long game. It's a big boy golf course. A lucky visitor or two might even run into Curtis on the random chance he's in town to see Page.

Jason Scott DeeganJason Scott Deegan, Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment