Cumberland Trail

Cumberland Trail Golf Course could successfully market itself just on the ambiance of its wonderful farmland setting in Pataskala, just east of Columbus. Or on its nicely-maturing layout from Columbus-based, but internationally-recognized designers M chael Hurdzan and David Fry. Or its ranking as one of the few Golf Digest 4-Star Places to Play in Ohio. Or the fabulous deals to come play and the surprising tests provided by its par-3s or the length of its par-5s.

But Cumberland Trail hangs its visor on something you’ll truly remember the next time you’re looking for a great golf challenge in the Columbus area. Simply, “The Best Greens in Central Ohio.”

General Manager Todd Bishop says the super bentgrass greens are kept at least 10-1/2 on the Stimpmeter, and that’s before they’re double-cut or rolled. The A4 creeping bentgrass used at Cumberland Trail is the same you’ll find at Tartan Fields, or the Country Club of Detroit, or Colonial in Fort Worth (if somebody invites you to play them).

The development of those greens is also erasing a reputation that Cumberland Trail didn’t mind having, as one of the most underrated courses in the area. A new USGA inspection has re-rated the course much tougher, with the course rating from the middle tees rising almost two full strokes and the slope going up an almost-unheard-of 6 points. Still extremely playable, the now 70.5/124 numbers are far more representative numbers of the test you’ll face at Cumberland Trail.

Located a couple of miles north of exit 118 off I-70, Cumberland Trail gives you a heart-of-it-all welcome to its clubhouse styled after the big red barns on the old farmstead where the course was built, complete with the signature cupola. That clubhouse is home for the fully-stocked golf shop, fun and friendly 19th hole lounge, and a grill area that can easily accommodate 60 guests inside, and more than a hundred more in the adjacent pavilion area, meaning Cumberland Trail can easily host any size outing.

Your outing of four, or 144, will face two distinct challenges from the two unique nines. The front side is a pretty wide open drive through the countryside. It is here where you’ll see how the course has matured into its sixth full season with roughs becoming more defined and many of the smaller trees that were planted during the design phase literally coming to fruition.

The first and ninth holes, a pair of excellent mid-range par-4s, are the only ones on the front side without water in play. As soon as you reach the tee of the long par-5 second, you’ll get a look at one of 8 ponds that dot the course. The two par-5s on the front side are both well over 500 yards from the three back tees with strategically placed bunkers designed to swallow up wayward drives and second shots. On the scorecard, the two par-3s are the two easiest holes on the front side, but just try to convince anyone who’s played them before. The par-4 seventh and eighth holes, a shorter dogleg right followed by the longest par-4 on the course, are handicapped as the two toughest holes on the outward nine.

The back nine is much more heavily forested and contains 40 acres of wetlands to navigate. Take advantage of the relatively short par-4 10th and the par-3 11th because the next three holes are truly Cumberland Trail’s own “Amen Corner”. The long par-5 12th offers a split fairway decision and wetlands the entire length of the hole down the right hand side. The 13th and 14th are long, testing par-4s that set up Bishop’s favorite hole, the shortest par-4 on the course, the only “dry” hole on the back side, the seemingly innocuous, barely over 300-yard 15th. But a well-bunkered landing area still demands precise placement off the tee and a great wedge to a severely undulating green.

If the first three par-3s hadn’t already convinced you how challenging the shortest holes at Cumberland Trail are, the longest of them, #17, would change your mind. Just under 200-yards from the middle tees and 227 from the tips, with water all the way down the right hand side and an elevated, undulating green at the other end, you’ll be stunned that you’re probably not getting, or giving a stroke here. If you get one on the #4-handicapped 18th, use it. With wetlands in front of the green and to the left and a pond wrapping around the green, it is a fabulous finishing hole to a rousing round of golf.

If you’re not already aware of Hurdzan/Fry Golf Design, their work is showcased throughout the Buckeye state, from StoneWater in Cleveland to the Vineyard in Cincinnati, to the Tavern Creek Course at the Country Club of St. Albans and the Golf Club of Dublin near Columbus, to rural courses like the renowned Cooks Creek and Eaglesticks, all of which have been nationally recognized on “Best of” and “Best New” lists. Cumberland Trail fits well in this company of understated classic designs that don’t emphasize strength, skill or strategy above the other, and are environmentally friendly to play as well.

Their philosophy of course design is to “stir the spirit, exceed expectation and defy understanding” with courses that are “set in an environment of unquestioning beauty, yet subject to the irrepressible forces of nature. The more we harmonize natural surroundings into a golf course the more aesthetic and memorable the courses will be for golfers who enjoy seeing wildlife and nature.” All of that comes into play vividly at Cumberland Trail.

The physical amenities at Cumberland Trail don’t mean much though, without experienced, friendly customer service. Everyone at the Trail has been put through an extensive customer-oriented training program to ensure that the level of service even out-performs the magic on the golf course.

You’re invited to visit Cumberland Trail’s Web site located at for the
latest specials and special events, or
call them at (740) 964-9336.


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