Home from home
A club with history, Youngstown was designed in 1911 by Walter Travis and redesigned in 1924 by Donald Ross. Walking into Youngstown I felt immediately comfortable.
No welcome committee, no open clubhouse, but just a sense of belonging. It would have been great to see the clubhouse with the heating on, in full swing to soak up the warmth and atmosphere that I could only imagine.
With the exception of cart paths mapped out like grey capillaries around the course, the course itself was akin to many English courses. Not that this was a problem – in fact it was quite nice to see the broad selection of golf courses available in Trumbull County and along the Penn Ohio Golf Trail.
Although there were slight elevation changes and carts were in use, I did think Youngstown would make a good walking course.
Hole 1 is a strong opening hole. An elevate tee box to a narrowing green between humps to a reachable in regulation par 4 hole of 390/375 yards. Once through the humps, the clubhouse blends into the background never to be see again until the 9th.
As many courses of that era, the course played nine out, nine in.
The sun was shining but not offering a lot of warmth that day. With the mottled skies whose cloud ranged from white to grey to blue were an artistic backdrop to the varied tall trees often lining the fairways.
Structural stone walls shape the 7th tee, giving a slight rise and of course the sense of being able to hit long and down the middle of this 312/512 par 5 SI 1/7 hole. A little water to the left of the tee came into play on hole nine.
Whilst not obsessed with bunkers, they were plentiful as shallow grainy patches in ball capturing landing positions, usually on the approach!
On reaching hole nine you understand the enormity of the water dissecting the tee box to the green. At only 94/145 yards the water was in play for most of the distance, offering a little bale out between the tee and the water. With such a big target green going for it was the way forward. However, hit too long meant a challenging putt back – downhill towards the water. Shallow bunkers right and left meant accuracy was also key. Once you’ve played this hole, don’t forget to look back towards the tee, and note the planting, spelling out the initials for Youngstown Country Club on the bank below the tee.
Youngstown was shaping up to be a really nice course.
The back of the 12th green, another par 3 was a large sculpture depicting the CYC logo – clearly thought had been put into the placement of such artwork to maximise the playing experience yet reminding you where you were.
Hole 13, whilst fairly nondescript off the tee came into its own the closer to the green you got. A narrowing as they fairway swayed first left then right before being met with a necklace of bunkers protecting the green. Offset by the changing colours of the trees made this a good visual hole to enjoy.
The 4th par 3 of the course came at hole 16. I’m choosing to mention this hole as it was a bit silly with its big green that sloped back to front and the hill being difficult to stop your ball on made putting a bit of a joke. I walked away with a 5 after going back and forth up and down the hill with one ball rolling back to my feet.
Everyone seems to remember the closing hole, and the 18th at Youngstown was no different. A par 4 of 279/455 yards, this SI4/8 hole was a good steady hole to finish. Tree lined and another large green with a protective bank behind. The clubhouse, of mock Tudor style eves stood on the hillock behind the green’s rear to welcome the golfers in – sadly we were whisked off and not given the opportunity to enjoy the clubhouse.
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