The new 18-hole layout in Columbiana is set to open on July 1.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
COLUMBIANA -- Harvey Firestone wouldn't recognize the place, but if he was a golfer he would certainly be excited at what he saw.
The Links at Firestone Farms, the area's newest and largest golf and residential community development is about two months away from opening its doors to the public.
The 18-hole golf course was built on the original homesite of Firestone. The course is scheduled to open for play on July 1 and is accepting tee times.
The entire development complex and golf course will cover 850 acres of land.
The golf course is being built by owner Wayne Bacon and his two sons, and Rick Vernal, all from the area. Vernal is also in partnership in the Reserve Run Golf Course.
The course was designed by Brian Huntley of Canton, and the general manger and PGA Golf Professional is Dave Chuba. The greens superintendent is Brock Lesco of Salem.
"This golf course has a high end design, but we want it to have a home town look and feel," said Chuba, a Sharpsville, Pa., native who was formerly head professional at Walnut Run golf course in Cortland.
"While we want to build and run the best golf facility in the area, we also want to be able to keep the price down so that the local golfers can afford to play," Chuba said.
Chuba described the prices as reasonable, with weekday fees at $28 for 18 holes and a cart and weekend fees in the mid-$30 range including carts.
"We are not discouraging walkers, but this course is so spread out that it will make walking the course difficult," he said.
The golf course from the championship tees will measure over 7,200 yards, but Chuba said that every hole on the course will have five sets of tees to accommodate all levels of golfers.
"Our front tees will measure out at 5,100 yards which is perfect length for women or super seniors," he added.
Designed for all levels
"We want every level of golfer to be able to come out and enjoy his or her round here," Chuba added. "My goal is to have every golfer walk off this course and say that it was the best course they had played for the money.
"Brian Huntley took every golfer in mind when he was laying out this course," he continued. "He made the shorter holes tougher and the longer holes more playable."
Golfers will get a chance to use every club in their bag on the new layout.
"We've got everything here from doglegs left and right, over 50 sand traps at present and water comes into play on nine of the 18 holes," Chuba said.
"We've got 18 solid golf holes on this course which we now refer to as 'the best drive in the state of Ohio' ", he said.
Right now 16 of the holes look like they are ready to play. The tees and greens on all 18 are some of the finest in the area right now.
Mother Nature has hit two fairways with heavy rains that has washed away some of the newly seeded fairways, but Chuba and Lesco both believe they will be in excellent shape by July 1.
The only holes effected by the rain were the fairways on No. 8 and No. 9, but both the tees and greens on both holes are perfect.
"Our greens will vary in size, with the largest somewhere around 25,000 square feet," Chuba said.
Clubhouse nearing completion
The clubhouse is under construction and for the most part will be ready for the opening.
"We'll have the pro shop and snack bar operational by then," said Chuba.
The 6,000-square foot clubhouse will also house the carts in the basement. Future plans include a banquet facility that will hold 400 to 500 people.
The developers have preserved one of the original barns from the old farm and have turned it into a huge room for outings and meetings right behind the clubhouse.
The farm's original silos, located near the No. 17 tee, will become part of the course also.
"We plan to have the golfers drive right through the silos to get to No. 17 tee," Chuba said.
Another silo on the back nine will be turned into a rain shelter.
New driving range
A driving range is under construction, and although it will probable be ready for opening day, Chuba said they may delay opening it until they can close down a road which currently runs along side it.
"My goal is to make this golf course as enjoyable to the golfers as I can," Chuba said. "I'm the golf professional and I want to meet and know all of the people who play this course and to help out in any way I can."
Golfers desiring more information or to schedule advanced tee times should call the course at (330) 482-PUTT (7888).