Upper Lansdowne

It all started when Bryan Wallake began dreaming of buying the land around his log home in Ashville and building a golf course.

The day he brought his golf-playing family into Upper Lansdowne, the course just down the road from his house, and w s told that he had to pay full price for his 3 children to play golf was the day he quit dreaming of building and decided to buy instead. As he grumbled to the pro shop about the lack of junior rates, he learned that the course was up for sale. Seeing the untapped potential of Upper Lansdowne led Bryan and his wife Tamie, both real estate agents and rental property owners, to liquidate some real estate and buy the course.

A mom-and-pop golf course? Yes, but not just any mom-and pop. Bryan had worked at Gahanna Golf Course, New Albany Country Club and Turnberry Golf Course throughout college, so he’s not flying blind. In fact, his eyes are wide open to the possibilities. He is working hard to get the word out on this thriving family-friendly golf course with junior programs, women's leagues, senior specials, afternoon specials, weekend specials and more! You won't find a better deal anywhere - beautiful scenery, lots of character and reasonable fees - under $30 on the weekend! All this, just 20 minutes south of Columbus near Circleville, Chillicothe and the Lancaster area.

The three previous owners have all stayed on at Upper Lansdowne to assist the Wallakes during this time of transition. Damon Welch has stayed on as the Head Pro. Daniel Wheeling recently joined the Upper Lansdowne staff as the Assistant Pro and does a great job with the kids.

The Wallake's are in the process of completing an "extreme makeover" of Upper Lansdowne including major remodeling of the clubhouse. Outside, new mowers and maintenance equipment are in, hundreds of flowers have been planted to spruce up the landscaping, and then there’s the biggest cosmetic change golfers will see that will also affect their play at Upper Lansdowne, 140 tons of Wedge White bunker sand, a color unique to the area, that has been brought in to revitalize the bunkers. Irrigation issues of the past are also being addressed to keep this gem as green and lush as it’s ever been. New cart paths and a new maintenance facility are in the planning stages.

But you just want to know how it plays. Upper Lansdowne started as a 9-hole course designed by the renowned Buckeye State architect Jack Kidwell in 1961. In 1995, as one of his last projects before retirement, Kidwell came back to the course, accompanied by Ohio’s current pre-eminent designer, Michael Hurdzan, to design the second nine. What they’ve created is an intriguing par-72 layout with enough length and variety to test the best, but be fair to the rest. Four different tee choices stretch the course from 4,800 yards up-front back to nearly 6,700.

The mix of holes on this rolling countryside layout promises to keep you entertained. Between a 545-yard par-5 to open your front nine and a par-5 that plays well under 500 to finish it, there are a whole handful of other curious trials for your imagination and shot-making abilities. The third hole is a par-4 that plays less than 280 yards, but has a green protected by sand, water, and flower beds! From that diminutive challenge, the very next hole is the longest par-4 at Upper Lansdowne, a 435-yards-from-the-tips giant that features a long, uphill drive to the 280-yard mark, then a sharp slope down into a valley and up to the green. No wonder it’s the #1 handicapped hole!

After the dogleg par-4 fifth, you arrive at the breathtaking sixth tee with its panoramic views of the course, and the fields and woods of an entire area code. But then you have to play down into a narrow landing area with a lake to your right off the tee.

There’s only one par-3 on the par-37 front side, the eighth. It stretches out to 206 from the back tees, longest on the course. No matter which tees you play, you’re likely use four different clubs on the par-3s. The three on the back side include Upper Lansdowne’s signature 15th, a 184-yarder that plays downhill to a peninsula green with very little room for forgiveness. As Wallake advises, “stick it on the green or you’re very likely wet.”

#15 is almost at the end of Upper Lansdowne’s great five-hole run on the back nine that begins at the par-4 12th and involves five of the 10 toughest holes on the course. Survive that do-or-die tee shot at 15, sandwiched between two challenging par-5s, and you’re almost home. The scene at the home hole is one you won’t soon forget. Once you turn the corner on this tree-lined dogleg right, your reward is a gorgeous approach to a green guarded by a creek in front, with a line of tall trees and a lake behind it.

Kidwell’s signature on the course is mounding around the greens. He leaves the greens themselves fairly flat with only some undulations, though many are tilted up front-to-back.

Upper Lansdowne is designed to be a great place to experience the “game” of golf. The driving range and practice green will likely always be busy with players trying to learn and improve on their games. Inside the renovated clubhouse is a fully stocked pro shop with the latest name-brand clubs, balls and accessories at competitive prices. The snack bar can create your favorite burger, dog, chicken and fish. And while Walnut Township is dry, you’re allowed to bring your own to Upper Lansdowne.

While the four ponds and all those new white sand bunkers will gobble up their share of balls, the fairways are wide and the rough is kept short so balls are easier to find and pace of play should not be an issue, even with the diversity of players, from juniors and families to seniors and leagues.

It’s those groups that the Wallake’s really want to grow the game at Upper Lansdowne. With rate specials like $19 with a cart for Seniors Monday-Thursday, or $5 to walk nine holes for Juniors (under 13 must be accompanied by a parent). They’re also thinking outside-the-box with an evening women’s league that begins each session with a group lesson and then 9-holes of friendly competition, and a junior program to get more youngsters into the game.

Weekend and all-you-can-play specials are also available. Outings are welcome, with full catering available and a shelter house that has covered seating for 100. And yes, there are even membership opportunities at Upper Lansdowne.

For more information on all the new programs, specials, and opportunities to play the “new” Upper Lansdowne Golf Course, visit www.upperlansdownegolf.com or call them at (740) 983-2989. Family-friendly, with true country character.


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