Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ranking Northern Kentucky’s Public Golf Courses: Who Deserves Top Honors?

The following are a list of public golf courses in Northern Kentucky. I’ve played each of these courses more than once through the years and ranked them accordingly. Things to consider when ranking each course are the conditions and overall experience.

Lassing Pointe – One of the most challenging courses in Northern Kentucky is at the top of my rankings. Lassing Pointe is a par 71. Although it’s not one of the more inexpensive courses in the area it tops my list because the course is always in great shape, is spread out, and hole number eight is one of the best holes in the area and plays as a 521 yard par 5 from the back tees. (see photo)

Fox Run – A close second to Lassing Pointe, Fox Run is one of three courses owned by Kenton County Golf Course. Fox Run is a par 72. The course is known for some very picturesque holes, such as the 558 yard par 5 number 18 (see photo)


Boone Links – this course is host to three nine hole courses: Brookview, Lakeview, and the newest of the three Ridgeview. If you’re looking for a challenging play the original nines Brookview and Lakeview which play a par 72. All three courses are well-maintained and challenging in their own ways. Ridgeview is the easiest of the three courses and plays much shorter than its counterparts.

Hickory Sticks – the biggest sleeper of all the golf courses on the list. Hickory Sticks is a par 71 located in California, Kentucky. The course opened its doors in 1998 and is challenging, well-maintained, hilly, and has some great views. If you’re looking for a challenging hole play number three, a 450+ par 5 which plays all up-hill and includes one of the smallest greens in the area.

The Willows –The name describes everything about this Kenton County Golf Course. If you like a challenging course with a ton of trees this is the course for you. The Willows is a par 72. The course is the hilliest of the three courses which leaves you with some tough hill side lies along the way.

A.J. Jolly – Another hidden gem, A.J. Jolly is a par 71 golf course in Alexandria, Kentucky. The course is challenging to all levels of play and has some of the tightest holes in the area, meaning you can’t afford to hit a bad shot off the tee on most holes. The course features many scenic views and on occasion you’ll see deer run across the fairways. If you don’t like lakes then hole number 10 will be your worst nightmare, a 350+ yard par 4 with lakes that run along the left and right side of this tight fairway.

Devou Park – opened in 1922, Devou Park is by far the hilliest course in Northern Kentucky. The course is home to some of the most scenic holes in the area and is known for hole number five, which overlooks downtown Cincinnati. The course plays as a par 70 and forces you to tee off with an iron on many of there challenging holes. The courses fairways are “beat-up” at times and the lakes aren’t well-maintained.


Twin Oaks – built in 1927, Twin Oaks is one of the oldest courses in Northern Kentucky. The course plays as a par 70 and is one of the only courses in the area that feature Bermuda grass. If you’re going to play Twin Oaks go in the spring when the grass is bright green and before the course is beaten up throughout the summer. The greens and course could be maintained better and in the fall the Bermuda grass turns brown, which makes it look like dead grass sprayed throughout the course. In my opinion, the owners should’ve put more money into the course and not the new clubhouse.

Pioneer – built in 1968, Pioneer is the first of the three Kenton County Golf Courses. Pioneer is a par 70 and can be described as the tale of two nines as the front nine is far easier than the back in my opinion. The course is usually in good shape but the holes feel like they’re too bunched together as you may hit from the wrong fairway on many occasions throughout your round.

Flagg Springs
– another course in California, Kentucky Flagg Springs plays as a par 71. The course is very open which allows you to hit a bad tee shot and recover quite easy throughout your round. Every time I’ve played here the course has been in decent shape, but the one thing that stands out in my mind are the cable lines that run along and in some cases in play throughout your round.

Double Bogey

World of Sports – the last facility owned by Ralph Landrum, World of Sports is the only “par-3” course in the area. This par 59 golf course does include five par fours but is mainly made up of short par threes and was created for the beginning golfer. The course is usually in bad shape but Landrum is currently investing more money into his only property left. If your idea of fun is watching a guy in jean shorts hack at a ball far to many times and playing behind slow “golfers” this course is for you.

Meadowood Golf Club – the course has taken a turn for the worse after selling off their back-nine to build condominiums. This par 35 nine hole course includes below-average maintenance and the slowest play in the area. The fairways are often hard as rocks and I usually find myself wanting to skip holes in order to play in front of slow individuals on the nine-hole course! If you’re a beginner to the game of golf and don’t mind playing nine holes in the span of three hours this course is for you. By far, the worst course in Northern Kentucky.

*birdie - is the highest ranking and deems the course is highly recommended.
*par - means the course is above average but is not in the same league as the top courses.
*bogey - means the course is average.
*double bogey - means the course is below average and has some flaws.

Although I’ve played all of them country clubs aren’t eligible for the list.

Price wasn’t used as a main factor when ranking the top courses. For a complete list of rates/prices, addresses and more information of Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area golf courses, Click Here.

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