Linked by family tradition

The upgraded course is still one of the area’s best values.



LAKE MILTON — It was 50 years ago that the late John and Mary Gura opened Lakeside Golf Course in this community and operated it with the efforts of the entire family.

This year, on the 50th anniversary of the golf course, the grandchildren of the Guras have taken over the course and are running things, again through the efforts of the entire family.

“Lakeside Golf Course has always been a family-run golf course since it was opened and we plan on continuing that tradition,” said Michele Ewing, one of the grandchildren.

Ewing’s parents, Joan and Allen Blazek, bought the golf course from their parents in 1972 and the Blazeks and their four children operated the course.

In 1975 the owners built and opened the back nine holes of the course and other improvements were made including an expansion of the clubhouse and an outdoor patio and new pavilion.

Passed down

After 35 years, the third generation, the Blazeks’ four children have assumed the operations of the course.

Mitch Blazek of Lake Milton has taken over as the golf course superintendent. He has had numerous years of experience including working at Windmill Lakes in Ravenna and Mayfair in Akron.

His brother Mark Blazek, also a Lake Milton resident and who is employed in the Grounds Maintenance department at Youngstown State University, will assist with maintenance on the course.

He also has a wide range of turf experience and most recently he served as the assistant superintendent at Avalon Lakes.

Melisa Larimer, one of the Blazeks’ daughters and a Berlin Center resident, will assist with the management of the clubhouse.

Ewing, the other daughter and a resident of Berlin Center, is an assistant professor at Kent State University. She will serve as a marketing communications consultant for the family.

Becky Leiter of Lake Milton, and the fiance of Mitch Blazek, is the manager of the clubhouse.

The children of the four siblings are also involved in helping maintain the course and clubhouse. There are 10 Blazek grandchildren along with spouses of the four children.

“It’s an entire family affair,” Ewing said.

Better conditions

For years Lakeside Golf Course was known as a place that seniors and hackers played and the conditions were just average.

Mitch Blazek quickly set out to change that image.

“Everything was always right here to make it a great-conditioned course. All it needed was a little grooming and upgrading a few things,” he said.

They upgraded the irrigation system, purchased some new mowing equipment and in a short time Lakeside was a well-conditioned golf course.

“You can’t believe how many people have come here and are amazed at the golf course’s condition,” Ewing said.

The Blazek brothers have some more plans for the course, like changing a couple of holes on the back nine to make it more accessible and playable for the golfers.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the course and also paying tribute to their grandparents, the Blazeks will hold a John and Mary Gura Memorial Golf Outing July 29.

The proceeds from this event will support scholarships for Jackson-Milton and Western Reserve High School students.

There are a couple of other special events slated for the course this season, including an Enjoy Wine and Nine on July 14, which includes a wine tasting and a two-person scramble hosted by Mastropietro Winery.

Even local boxing contender Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik will make an appearance at Lakeside as he takes part in a Charity Golf Scramble July 8.

The course now offers a full kitchen in the clubhouse and just recently launched its youth league program for youths 9-14 years old.

The golf course, which is one of the most reasonably priced layouts in the area, is $9 for 9 holes and $18 for 18 holes. The prices are $14 and $28 with a cart and there are senior rates and weekly specials. Open dates remain for outings and leagues for the 2007 season. For more information call the clubhouse at (330) 547-2797.

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