Colonial Golfer's Club Follows in Time-Honored Tradition

Colonial Golfer's ClubThe backbone of the majority of public golf courses in the state of Ohio is the small family-owned business that is passed from generation to generation. Some courses even trace their beginnings to a modest family farm prior to being transformed into 18-hole arenas dedicated to pitching, putting and the like.

For Tom Holtzberry, owner of Colonial Golfer's Club, much of his adult life has been dedicated to the betterment of the golf course and making sure his facility fulfilled its obligation to grow the game of golf and bring the tiny community of Harrod together. Just shy of 40 years after his late father Bob purchased the land now occupied by Colonial, the Ohio Golf Course Owners Association has bestowed an honor upon the course that the two men dreamed of but weren't sure was possible. 

Based on its overall maintenance, course management and overall perception and standing of the course in the community, the OGCOA has named Colonial Golfer's Club its 2009 Golf Course of the Year.

"I was pleasingly shocked that we were nominated," said Holtzberry, who had just graduated from high school when his father purchased the land. "When we won the award I was ecstatic. It was a lifelong venture that my father and I started.

"When we bought the property, we envisioned something really special," he added.

Colonial Golfer's ClubHoltzberry said that his club has continually excelled at all of the aspects the OGCOA was looking for. Colonial has been a stalwart promoter of junior golf and promoted the game of golf by bringing in numerous state events. The condition of the golf course has also been a constant, and after being nominated, Holtzberry produced 100 photos that supported his club's reputation for being well-manicured.

Executive director of the OGCOA, Ken Guenther, said Colonial Golfer's Club was selected from a group of five finalists nominated for the award. He mentioned that there are dozens of deserving courses throughout the state of Ohio, but this year his membership could select only one, and that one was Colonial.

"It's always excelled in maintenance, and is always in great shape," Guenther said. "Colonial does a very good job of supporting the community, especially the juniors."

Colonial Golfer's Club, which was designed by Tom and his father, Bob, debuted to the public in 1973, opening just the front nine. The back nine followed in 1976; that same year Tom bought the course. Shortly after his dad passed away in 1984, Tom began an ambitious project to revamp the facility and take it to a new level.

Colonial Golfer's Club

His renovation began with overseeding using Bent grass from tee to green. Tees were then rebuilt and enlarged. The course was both shortened and lengthened to accommodate golfers of all skill levels.

Then in 1990, Holtzberry made the change that would really change people's perceptions of the course.

Hole No. 6 was redesigned to take advantage of more of the natural areas, including a creek to the left. A waterfall was built into the surrounding hillside, and now complements the signature hole as it tumbles just left of the green complex.

"That really enhanced the course," Holtzberry. "It really sticks in people's minds."

That same year, thousands of flowers were planted throughout the course to transform the 150-acre plot of land it into more of park setting.

Colonial Golfer's Club has always been a great layout with tree-lined fairways, devoid of development, and away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But according to Holtzberry, the addition of the waterfall and flowers took the course to the next level in terms of aesthetics and people really began to take notice.

Colonial Golfer's ClubHoltzberry also pointed to his superintendent, Tom Telljohamn as a big part of the transformation of the golf course. Telljohamn has been a loyal part of the team at Colonial since 1976, and contributed to the overhaul, as well as maintained the course from day to day.

Holtzberry is now hopeful that his club will be able to host profile events within Ohio. He said his club certainly has the facilities to do so, including a clubhouse with 200-seat banquet hall, locker rooms, a spacious practice facility and 40 extra acres for parking.

Past recipients of the OGCOA Course of the Year Award include Mohican Hills Golf Club near Jeromesville and Locust Hills Golf Club in Springfield.

For additional information on Colonial Golfer's Club, please visit or call 419-649-3350. 


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