The Links at Firestone Farms Review – Columbiana, Ohio

Price Paid – $12 (via the free birthday round promotion)

Full Price – $45 via the course website.

As a truly obsessed golfer, I spend quite a bit of time reading about the game, watching pros play on TV, and more than my fair share surfing the internet for information about which courses to play. With all the information at our fingertips these days, it’s fair to say there aren’t a whole lot of surprises left in the world of golf. You might be surprised a putt broke a certain way, or that Rory lost his mojo, but as far as equipment and courses available to us, if it’s out there it either has its own website or some dope has written a blog post about it.

#17 at Firestone Farms
The course winds through houses, trees, barns, and cornfields

The Links at Firestone Farms was one of those rare instances where I came in with low expectations and left the course in a complete state of awe. As I mentioned on my about me page, I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of really nice courses. Some of them have been amazing but it’s sometimes hard to be truly “amazed” when you drop $300-400 for a round.  For that kind of money you expect to be wowed (or at least to have a caddy that looks like Scarlett Johansson ).

The crazy thing about Firestone was that four holes into the round I was thinking, “nice enough course, super-friendly employees, well-conditioned, but just a typical course winding through houses in Ohio.” On the fifth hole however, that thinking changed.

Hole #5 at The Links at Firestone Farms

Hole #5 is a drivable downhill par 4.

Does it make me think? Check. The hole is only about 260 (from the whites and seems to generally play downwind) so it’s drivable for many. Do you want to make an easy par go for the birdie or eagle?The fifth is exactly what I look for in a great golf hole.

  1. Does it present the golfer with various options? Check. If you can hit a high, soft-landing drive that carries about 250 you can go for the glory. If you don’t hit it that far, or just prefer to take the conservative route you can knock down a 6 iron/wedge and move on.
  2. Is it playable for golfers of all levels? Check. There’s nothing fun about a 425 yard par four with 150 yards of carry just to reach the fairway if you only can only drive it 175. Hole like that are generally the #1 handicap and the “signature hole”, but they’re not a lot of fun to play unless you have serious game. #5 at Firestone Farms is precisely the opposite. It’s short and downhill. Less-accomplished players will like it because even with a short drive they have an easy approach (and an opportunity for a green in regulation). Better players always like the opportunity to drive a par four.
Hole #8 at the Links at Firestone Farms
The beautiful par 3 8th at Firestone Farms
After playing the short fifth hole, you move onto the normal length par four sixth hole. There is a ton of room out to the right to accommodate a big slice, but if you can hit a draw it works perfectly on this hole. The slicer will be left with 200+ to a fairly narrow green, the player who can hit a draw (though not a hook) will have under 150 in. Again it’s an example of a hole that will allow the less-accomplished player to make an easy bogey but it has to be played precisely to make a par or birdie.
#14 is a winding par 5 that ends up against a picturesque lake

In addition to some well-designed golf holes, the conditions at Firestone Farms are fantastic; bent grass fairways and tees, smooth greens, it’s hard to find anything to complain about regarding the conditions. Another nice touch is the fact that they have ball washers and club cleaners on the golf carts. While I appreciate a cooler on my golf cart as much as the next guy, the club cleaner might be just as important if you’re serious about your game.

The Par 3 15th at the Links at Firestone Farms
#15 is a par 3 that is all carry to a quasi-island green

What didn’t I like about Firestone Farms? As far as the golf course goes it’s hard to find much to complain about. If you prefer to walk (as I usually do), I think you’d have a hard time at this track. It’s hilly (although that’s the case just about everywhere in this part of the state) and there are some hikes between holes but it’s still probably walkable if you’re dedicated. They also don’t have GPS on the carts but I’m not sure that’s a big negative considering most of us have dedicated devices or apps on our phones for that purpose. As a plus however, the “scorecard” is actually a booklet with detailed yardages and hole descriptions/tips.

The Links at Firestone Farms
This is the view you’ll see as you finish up at Firestone Farms
In summary, I can’t recommend this track highly enough. Everything about it is top-notch; the layout, the conditioning, the service. It might be a bit of a hike to get here but it’s worth the effort.
Final Grades:
Value – A+
Service – A
Course Design – A
Cart Girl Talent – Incomplete (Note: I’m beginning to think something is amiss. I haven’t seen a cart girl during at least my last half dozen rounds of golf. Either I have a hygiene problem or my reputation for cheapness has gotten around.)

Overall Grade – A – It’s worth it. Just make the trip to check this place out.

To see the full gallery of shots click here.