the host of this week’s prestigious WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, is a private club boasting three top courses.
The Firestone Country Club, where, once more, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is being staged, is a private golf club in Akron, Ohio, boasting three highly regarded championship courses.
It’s famed South Course, known as ‘The Monster’, and it’s beautiful North and West courses are all rated so highly, in fact, that Firestone is the only club in history that can boast at having hosted three different PGA Tour events in a single season.
This was in 1973 and the events were the American Golf Classic, the CBS Golf Classic and the World Series of Golf.
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, known as the WGC-NEC Invitational until 2005 and the World Series of Golf before that, is directed by the International Federation of PGA Tours and sanctioned by the PGA and European Tours and the South Course, also home course for the University of Akron collegiate side, has mostly been it’s host course for the event since 1962.
Harvey Firestone commissioned the club in 1929 as a park for employees of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
Its first course, the South, was designed by Bert Way. It opened on August 10, 1929 with Harvey Firestone driving the first ball.
A major redesign by Robert Trent Jones in 1961 added over 50 bunkers, two ponds and brought the South Course up to a 7,189 yard, par-70 lay-out before it underwent further alterations by Golforce in 1985.
The North course was designed by Robert Trent Jones and opened in 1969 and Firestone West, the last course to be added, opening in 1989.
It was initially conceived by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva, but went through a dramatic redesign in 2002 by Tom Fazio.
I’s driving range, first added in 1994; was the first area of the club to be opened to the public.
The range now boasts heated stalls and a teaching facilities.
Finally, in 1999, a nine-hole course, the Raymond C. Firestone, was opened for public play.
THUMB-NAIL COURSE DESRIPTIONS:
Length in yards: Championship 7,283, Member 6,409, Front tee 5,600
Slope: Championship – 132, Member – 124, Front – 123
Designer: Bert Way and redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in 1960
Length in yards: Gold 7,125, Blue 6,741, White 6,388, Red 5,589
Slope: Gold 134, Blue 130, White 126, Red 126
Designer: Robert Trent Jones
Length in yards: Championship 6,904, Member 6,472, Front 5,125 yards
Slope: Gold 128, Blue 1 23, White 118, Red 119
Designer: Tom Fazio
MORE ABOUT THE MONSTER
From the start this course was developed as a championship course; even country club members rarely get the privilege of playing here.
The host for more than 70 important professional and amateur championships, it was first called ‘The Monster’ by Arnold Palmer after he had scored a triple-bogey on the 16th hole during the first PGA Championship held at the course.
Noted for it’s length, the par-70, 7,283 yard South Course includes a series of intimidating, long par-4 holes and one of the longest par 5’s anywhere.
Its 16th hole plays to 667 yards.
A pond in front of the green captures its share of errant shots, but it’s not normally from futile attempts to reach the green in two as you might expect.
Most often they are the third shots from players who hit errant tee shots and find the woods. .
Players, however, have a birdie opportunity, though, on the only other Par-5, the 497-yard second hole.
At 464 yards, the 18th hole is another tough-nut to crack and certainly makes for difficult finish.
It is long, narrow and has a green heavily defended by bunkers. It’s not a hole where you can hope for a winning birdie.
By the way, the long 16th hole doesn’t have the market sewn up in regard to length.
Before you even get there, you will first need to cope with the, 221 yard, par-3 15th.
The flat green makes for a straight putt, but getting the ball close to the hole can be a problem. From the tee, bunkers on the left of the green are hidden and provide for unpleasant surprises.
But if this isn’t enough, the 200-yard 5th hole can also bring it’s share of headaches.
The small green can be reached with a 5 or 6-iron but you might need as much as a 3-iron when the wind is blowing.
The Monster’s, toughest scoring holes are probably two of it’s par 4’s.
The 6th hole is 469 yards of nightmare stuff.
Over the years, it has been ranked as the first or second toughest challenge for professionals at Firestone and it has been documented that when Robert Trent Jones redesigned Firestone in 1959, this hole alone made par an excellent score.
The 471-yard 4th hole is another test.
All the hole asks a player to do is hit a long and straight tee shot followed by an approach shot that must come in high to hold the elevated green, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Card of the course:
1st Hole, 399 yard, par-4
2nd Hole, 497 yard, par-5
3rd Hole, 442 yard, par-4
4th Hole, 471 yard, par-4
5th Hole, 200 yard, par-3
6th Hole, 469 yard, par-4
7th Hole, 219 yard, par-3
8th Hole, 452 yard, par-4
9th Hole, 484 yard, par-4
10th Hole, 410 yard, par-4
11th Hole, 370 yard, par-4
12th Hole, 180 yard, par-3
13th Hole, 471 yard, par-5
14th Hole, 467 yard, par-4
15th Hole, 221 yard, par-3
16th Hole, 667 yard, par-5
17th Hole, 400 yard, par-4
18th Hole, 464 yard, par-4
To get Firestone Country Club’s official hole-by-hole description of the South Course by clicking hereAMMENITIES
Apart from it’s top-flight driving range with heated stalls, its excellent on site and on-line pro-shop, and luxurious locker rooms, Firestone Country Club also offers:
– First-class tuition
– On course accommodation in Villas doted around the course or in dormitory-style accommodation attached to the men’s locker rooms
– Wining and dining – you can buy your opponents an after-match round of drinks or sip pre-dinner cocktails at the club’s 55th Hole Bar before dining at The Grill room where the menu offers a wide variety of items, among them its signature Shrimp Bisque and 16 oz. French Cut Pork Chop.
For club rates you should contact the club on Skype: 234.206.3356
MEMBERSHIP: Individual and corporate transferable memberships are available. but for further information it would be best to contact the club’s Membership Director, Jay Biggs at (330) 245-3211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Men’s golf shirts must be tucked in.
-Cargo shorts or pants are not permitted.
-Baseball/golf-style hats may not be worn backward.
Golf courses and practice areas:
-Shirts must be tucked in.
-Mock tees that are golf appropriate will
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