Updated February 2024 to update booking information.
Cleveland is a wonderful city. I’ve spent some here for work. While I’ve been fortunate enough to take in both a Reds and Bengals’ game, I’ve yet to play any golf.
Being the sleuth I am however (not really), I was curious to learn more about the city’s golf scene. So, I did what I always do. I asked our readers for their thoughts and insight. Like always, they had plenty to say.
As such, we were able to come up with a list of the city’s top public golf courses.
Let’s have a gander.
Sleepy Hollow Golf Course
Sleepy Hollow Golf Course is owned by the city and operated by the Metroparks Department.
Voted “Ohio’s #2 Municipal Golf Course”, Sleepy Hollow offers splendid views of Cuyahoga River Valley.
The course has roots that go all the way back to 1924. It was designed by Royal Canadian Golf Hall of Fame Member, Stanley Thompson.
The course has a reputation for being both pleasing to the eye and quite the challenge. This is big boy golf course most certainly.
If you’re looking to test yourself in enjoyable surroundings, do it at Sleepy Hollow.
Pine Hills Golf Club
For more than 50 years, Pine Hills Golf Club has been considered one of the premier public facilities in the northeast part of the state.
This classic design features woodlands, rolling hills, and narrow fairways.
The greens are notably fast and undulating. Stay below the hole and don’t miss your approaches on the short side.
This track is a local’s favorite because of its serene setting and lack of busy streets and houses that surround a lot of other urban courses.
The layout keeps you on your toes too. Tight fairways, doglegs, and plentiful hazards are around every corner and make you think about what you’re doing.
The 18th is considered by many to be the best finishing hole in all of Ohio.
You’ll have to find out for yourself.
Manakiki Golf Course
Manakiki Golf Course is another facility operate by Cleveland Metroparks.
Located just 17 miles east of downtown, this Donald Ross design is full of character and charm. Multiple doglegs, several hazards, and elevation changes are constantly asking you to execute different shots.
The holes include back-to-back par fives and vary greatly in length. Some are tight while others allow you to swing away.
Variety is the spice of life at Manakiki. Sounds like a fun round to me.
Stonewater Golf Club
Stonewater Golf Club is one of the newer designs in the Cleveland area. It opened in 1996.
Even though this track is in the suburbs, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of nature.
Water accents the landscape in the form of wetlands, streams, and lakes. While the water might be nice to look at, it comes into play and can wreak havoc with your scorecard.
Always in tiptop shape, you won’t find any bad lies here. That’s one of the many reasons Stonewater is so popular.
One of the top public facilities in the area, this place sounds like a must play.
Shawnee Hills Golf Course
During my research, it quickly became apparent that network of city-owned courses in Cleveland is among the best in the country.
Another shining example is Shawnee Hills.
The original 18-hole course was designed by Ben Zink in 1957.
A classic parkland design, accuracy is key as the narrow fairways are lined by massive oak trees and the greens are small.
In the summer, the putting surfaces get firm and fast. Putting downhill isn’t much fun.
Always in good shape and a treat to play, you’ll want to experience a round at Shawnee Hills.
Fowler’s Mill Golf Course
Fowler’s Mill allows golfers the chance to get out of the city and into the country even though it’s only a short drive away.
Designed by mastermind Pete Dye, Fowler’s Mill was called the “Best Public Course in the State of Ohio” by Golfweek in 2016 and 2017.
The land on which the course sits is equally as impressive. Rolling hills can be seen for miles and the natural flora and fauna only enhance the experience.
Known for great condition and lighter crowds, Fowler’s Mill sounds like the place to be.
Big Met Golf Course
Another Metroparks course you need to play is Big Met.
This track, which dates to 1926, is estimated to have witnessed more than 6,000,000 rounds since it opened. That’s a lot of golf and more than any other course in Ohio.
Located in the Rocky River Valley, this course is in surprisingly wonderful shape considering how much play it gets. Not only that, pace of play moves along too.
The layout is moderate in length but features a nice variety of holes that keep you engaged for the whole round.
This is public golf at it’s finest. Everyone is welcome, and you never know who you might get paired with. Sounds like my kind of place.
Valley of the Eagles Golf Club
Valley of the Eagles is the only public Jack Nicklaus design in Northern Ohio.
Set on the shores of the Black River, this course is both tranquil and beautiful. Majestic trees line most fairways and elevation changes can be found throughout.
In typical Nicklaus fashion, the layout includes big features and expansive greens. While the routing is straightforward and more than fair, it asks you to execute quality shots.
When you’re done with your round, be sure to have a meal in the Black River Tavern. Locally inspired cuisine awaits along with plenty of beverage choices.
Coppertop Golf Club
Coppertop Golf Club is considered by many one of the best parkland designs in the Midwest.
Tree lined fairways wreak havoc with wayward shots while making for a most beautiful setting.
The layout has a variety of long and short holes that move both left and right. Course management is essential.
Fast greens are what this course is most known for, however. Be sure to spend some extra time on the practice green prior to your round.
If you’re hungry or thirsty at any point, the Golfer’s Pub has everything you need and service with a smile.
Great golf at a great value is what you get at Coppertop.
Pleasant Valley Country Club
Pleasant Valley Country Club occupies 165 of the most scenic acres to be found anywhere in the area.
The facility has been owned and operated by the Ostmann family since 1970. It’s that family type of service that makes the experience here so desirable.
Only a short drive from either Cleveland or Akron, this track provides the perfect escape from the business of the city.
The design is right in front of you, but still dictates that you think smart and execute shots if you’re going to score.
A most enjoyable round of golf, don’t forget about the hidden gem that is Pleasant Valley.
If I learned one thing from all the feedback I received from our readers, it’s that they take golf seriously in Cleveland. There are so many different courses to choose from it’s mind boggling.
One thing is certain, next time I find myself in this wonderful city, I’m cutting out some time to hit the links.
My sincere thanks to all of you who continue to make these guides the success they are. If you have more you’d like to add, drop us a line in the comments.