Columbus / Central Ohio ranges dropping like flies

Matadorb32Matadorb32 Members Posts: 63 ✭✭
It seems that central Ohio driving ranges and practice facilities are becoming a dying breed. Ables, which was my favorite facility closed back in Oct '18. I started going to the Golf Depot but since the passing of their owner, they are now closed for business.



As far as I know, this really only leaves Westerville Golf Center which I find pretty lacking. Given the recent news, they've raised their prices twice now, each time one of the other ranges closed. Last summer it was already packed, people waiting in stalls to hit. The grass range is only open for half of the year and if it has rained in the past 72 hours, back to the mats. Last summer, when I miraculously could hit off the grass there, it was basically just a dirt patch due to overuse. Now that 2 (out of 3) of the local driving ranges have closed, it is only going to get worse... The chipping area is closed more often than the range. The putting green is ok, nothing spectacular.



The only other accessible driving ranges are the ones at the muni's and those are basically dirt patches with rocks that have been hit 50k times.



At this point, I've resigned to the fact that driving ranges were a luxury that I didn't really appreciate at the time. I've just bought some Birdie Balls that I plan to hit at a park nearby my home and I'm hoping that will be enough to keep my ball striking somewhat in check. Does anyone have any hidden gems or another range/practice facility in the area?
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  • augustgolfaugustgolf Golf with dignity Coastal NCMembers Posts: 3,926 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    So, in another sector of golf, we have come full circle.



    I would say that the vast majority of those who frequent GolfWRX didn't know that there was actually a time where golf driving ranges didn't exist. If people wanted to practice, they hit their own shag balls. Many golf courses hosting tournaments did not have ranges. The players had their caddies shag the balls for them. Many stories of players like Hogan, Snead, etc hitting shag bals, and the caddy literally didn't have to move more than a few yards to capture the balls, until the player moved to another club, changing the distance.



    When I was making the shift from being a + handicap player to a much better playing professional, I loved to practice at dusk, after our driving range closed (like 6 pm). Once the range was picked-up, I chose to hit my own shag balls, as I then needed to pick them up, and I learned to hit them in a much tighter pattern. I learned to hit diffferent trajectories, put different spin to shape the shots, etc. And, hit only the types of balls that I would be playing.



    Driving ranges became luxuries, where "special" balls were rented. These balls weren't just balls retrieved from golf course lakes, or "found" - no, these balls were meant to be hit over, and over and over, with much more durable covers - and, they lacked the ability to really spin, providing feedback to the user. But, then again - most people going to the range only hit drivers anyway, so no big deal.



    What people are finding out today is that is costs money to maintain a driving range PROPERLY. Not only having good balls to hit, but to also provide good turf, a covered teeing area to utilize in inclement weather, heated bays for cold/winter days, lights for night time practice. And all of these things cost money. Too often, when the owner of a good range priced his practice facility correctly, in a manner that allowed it to stay "good", people complained about the price, and went elsewhere.



    So, just like all the golf courses who suffer from the low-pricing model for green fees....some close, while others barely stay open, and conditions continue to deteriorate over time.



    In my area, in the past 12 years, we have lost 3 public/semi-private golf courses, 2 of them with driving ranges/putting greens open to the public, and we have also lost 3 driving ranges...none of which were really in any type of good condition before they closed.



    The business of golf - provide a good product, service to match, and make enough of a profit to pay yourself after all expenses - is no different than any other business.



    It can be done, but when you consider that the 12-15 acres that a driving range might use for their own purposes will fetch multiples of their annual revenues without any expenses, simply to convert to either housing or commercial zoning....why would ANY sane business person want to face the downhill run that has been happening all over this country?????



    I have zero problem still hitting my own shag balls. They are a little more out of round, a bit more scuffed and discolored, but they do what they are supposed to do. It is, however, getting harder and harder to find places to hit these.



    So - a question to those who have taken the time to read this thread: What do you consider a fair price for range balls at a reasonably good facility????



    BITD, over 30 years ago, the suggestion from those in the industry was that a range ball should cost around 9-11 cents/ball. That would mean a large bucket, with 50 balls would be $5. Let's factor in the increase in costs for water, fertilizer, chemicals, labor, and continued replacement of the balls, which themselves have increased drastically, and that same 50 balls today should be around $12. How many of you think that is a fair price????



    If anyone is interested in a more personal discussion of this, please PM me - this is my business, and I would love all the input that I can get.



    For the record, while I would love to have a great driving range in a populated area, the fact is that I probably would sell that same 12-15 acres as quickly as I could.



    When I moved to Houston, TX in the middle 70's, I knew a couple of pros who had a lighted range, with a small par 3 9-hole course attached. They were making millions, but still had the overhead, and poor conditions, due to the enormous usage that facility got. But, they only leased the ground, and had to leave the improvements when the lease ended. The property ended up selling for millions and millions - nowhere near the amount this course would do annually, with all the expense and headaches.



    So - ask yourselves: did I really do everything I could have done to support the driving range(s) near me that are now closed????



    Just my [sharedmedia=core:attachments:4128628] [sharedmedia=core:attachments:4128628]
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  • BMCBMC Members Posts: 3,646 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    They're closing in Raleigh, NC, too. Two of them are now car dealerships. (like we need more of those).



    Many driving ranges built years ago were on the outskirts of town. Now that these cities have grown outward, the land is worth more than the owner of the range can refuse.
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  • counselor79counselor79 Members Posts: 109 ✭✭
    If I’m not mistaken in the Columbus market you can get range only access at some private/semi private clubs. I know golf club of Dublin has a bucket card and I believe New Albany links does as well.



    I’d try calling around and seeing who you connect with and even if they don’t have a program they may be willing to work something up if there’s a market.
  • mikpgamikpga www.mikedeitersgolf.com Members Posts: 7,391 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Come to Meadow Links & Golf Academy in Cincinnati...



    Just under a two hour drive!
  • augustgolfaugustgolf Golf with dignity Coastal NCMembers Posts: 3,926 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    mikpga wrote:


    Come to Meadow Links & Golf Academy in Cincinnati...



    Just under a two hour drive!




    I just don't see too many golfers wanting a 4 hour round trip just to practice, at least not on a regular basis.



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  • CMCSGolfCMCSGolf Members Posts: 557 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This happened in Cleveland as well. There used to be several winter ranges (not long ago, like 2008), but those are all gone. The only place to hit balls in the winter is the Dome in Chagrin Falls. On the West side of Cleveland, there is now only one dedicated range (West Pines) and one public course with a range (Sweetbriar). If you like in Lakewood or Rocky River, there are only 1 or 2 range within 30 minutes, which seems kind of ridiculous. But land is expensive so I get it from a business perspective.
  • JagpilotohioJagpilotohio 45+ inch drivers are evil. Columbus, OHMembers Posts: 7,253 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    When I first moved to Columbus I was near the range on west broad street on the far west side of the City. It closed 6 or 7 years ago.



    I then found Ables in Dublin. Best public range I’ve ever used. Excellent grass. 25 minutes drive from my house but I was there 2-3 times a week. $13 for 120 balls... And very good balls. EVERY ball replaced every spring. Awesome. Nice putting green. Decent chipping are. Heated stalls for the winter. Very good mats. Nice staff. Everything you could ask for.



    I went there pretty late the very last night they were open Oct. 31, and I actually received the very last bucket of balls they ever handed out. JR Ables, the PGA Pro owner and greatest guy ever, gave them to me personally and said with a tear in his eye that they were “on him”. He was locking the doors for the last time.



    JR had never owned the property. It was leased and the owner finally sold it to a developer to build even more God awful apartments. When it opened many years ago it was farm land. Now it was surrounded on all 4 sides by apartments. It was inevitable.



    I hit balls until I was the very last person in the range. Fitting I guess because I spent so much time there. When I was done I went to my truck, loaded up my clubs, and sat in the parking lot and actually cried for a few minutes. For someone that LOVES to practice, losing the place was physically painful.



    I may have to finally cave in and join a private club just for a decent place to practice. I’ve also been using Westerville since October, but it’s going to be completely intolerable once the season starts. So terribly depressing..



    I took this the last time I left Ables Parking lot. I have it saved in my “family” album of my phone. I’m tearing up again....



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  • Matadorb32Matadorb32 Members Posts: 63 ✭✭
    Yes, Columbus is definitely expanding outwardly at a rapid rate. But, I completely understand it from a business perspective.
  • Matadorb32Matadorb32 Members Posts: 63 ✭✭


    When I first moved to Columbus I was near the range on west broad street on the far west side of the City. It closed 6 or 7 years ago.



    I then found Ables in Dublin. Best public range I've ever used. Excellent grass. 25 minutes drive from my house but I was there 2-3 times a week. $13 for 120 balls... And very good balls. EVERY ball replaced every spring. Awesome. Nice putting green. Decent chipping are. Heated stalls for the winter. Very good mats. Nice staff. Everything you could ask for.



    I went there pretty late the very last night they were open Oct. 31, and I actually received the very last bucket of balls they ever handed out. JR Ables, the PGA Pro owner and greatest guy ever, gave them to me personally and said with a tear in his eye that they were "on him". He was locking the doors for the last time.



    JR had never owned the property. It was leased and the owner finally sold it to a developer to build even more God awful apartments. When it opened many years ago it was farm land. Now it was surrounded on all 4 sides by apartments. It was inevitable.



    I hit balls until I was the very last person in the range. Fitting I guess because I spent so much time there. When I was done I went to my truck, loaded up my clubs, and sat in the parking lot and actually cried for a few minutes. For someone that LOVES to practice, losing the place was physically painful.



    I may have to finally cave in and join a private club just for a decent place to practice. I've also been using Westerville since October, but it's going to be completely intolerable once the season starts. So terribly depressing..



    I took this the last time I left Ables Parking lot. I have it saved in my "family" album of my phone. I'm tearing up again....







    That's a nice story. I too loved Ables. That's where I did 90% of my practice. There grass was always in good shape and I really liked there short game area. I also found them to have the best range balls in town too.



    Westerville is going to be ridiculous. I was at there a couple of weekends ago on Sunday when we had that day in the 50s. I got there around 10:45a, by 11:30a there was a guy patiently waiting behind me watching me hit the last 1/4 of my bucket for my stall to open... as I walked out there were probably 5-6 other people standing behind waiting for a spot to open. Once the season starts the grass there is going to get pulverized.
  • JagpilotohioJagpilotohio 45+ inch drivers are evil. Columbus, OHMembers Posts: 7,253 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes. It will be a mess. I just heard a few days ago about golf depot closing. Adding to the disaster.

    It was mediocre and too far from me, but at least it was another option to absorb some people on the east side.



    JR is teaching a bit now over at Westerville. I told him he had to teach them how to grow grass. I used to kid with him and call him “the grass whisperer” because his grass was so darn good.
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  • Z1ggy16Z1ggy16 Members Posts: 7,678 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    This topic is much deeper than golf. You have to take a step back and look at the country as a whole and the general direction things are kind of going. Wages not increasing at the same rate as expenses, the cost of education rising far faster than the value of the jobs that education provides, and the rise of automation on what I believe will be a grand scale which will likely put 1/4 to 1/3 of this country's people out of work in the next 10-15 years is not far away.



    Golf is and always will be a luxury; It's entertainment for about 99.9% of us. With the amount of debt for the average person rising relative to their income, it's no surprise golf courses and ranges are closing left and right. I also won't be surprised when TM or a big name OEM goes belly up within the next decade due to declining sales.... No firms, no matter how big a hole they have burning in their billion dollar pockets will want to take on a sinking ship.



    I personally think that indoor golf will start to become more and more popular in the states. Right now owning a simulator facility probably isn't super profitable, but if all of a sudden most of the ranges and courses close in a local area, those displaced golfers will want to do something. All indoor golf needs to become slightly more realistic is a means to provide different grass "Feels" and the lies to be dynamic, and not always perfectly flat. I've seen this done, I believe I saw some short video from a place in Korea where golf is extremely popular.



    Either indoor golf will become the mainstream and golf in general will sort of become like how bowling is now (where nobody really takes it too serious, done in a very leisurely manner, kind of like Top Golf already) or golf courses in general will devolve into goat tracks with minimal work put in to keep them running with all but the most private of private courses remaining in mint shape.



    Could maybe be avoided if the gov't manages to rescue itself but that's unlikely.
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  • JagpilotohioJagpilotohio 45+ inch drivers are evil. Columbus, OHMembers Posts: 7,253 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Z1ggy16 wrote:


    This topic is much deeper than golf. You have to take a step back and look at the country as a whole and the general direction things are kind of going. Wages not increasing at the same rate as expenses, the cost of education rising far faster than the value of the jobs that education provides, and the rise of automation on what I believe will be a grand scale which will likely put 1/4 to 1/3 of this country's people out of work in the next 10-15 years is not far away.



    Golf is and always will be a luxury; It's entertainment for about 99.9% of us. With the amount of debt for the average person rising relative to their income, it's no surprise golf courses and ranges are closing left and right. I also won't be surprised when TM or a big name OEM goes belly up within the next decade due to declining sales.... No firms, no matter how big a hole they have burning in their billion dollar pockets will want to take on a sinking ship.



    I personally think that indoor golf will start to become more and more popular in the states. Right now owning a simulator facility probably isn't super profitable, but if all of a sudden most of the ranges and courses close in a local area, those displaced golfers will want to do something. All indoor golf needs to become slightly more realistic is a means to provide different grass "Feels" and the lies to be dynamic, and not always perfectly flat. I've seen this done, I believe I saw some short video from a place in Korea where golf is extremely popular.



    Either indoor golf will become the mainstream and golf in general will sort of become like how bowling is now (where nobody really takes it too serious, done in a very leisurely manner, kind of like Top Golf already) or golf courses in general will devolve into goat tracks with minimal work put in to keep them running with all but the most private of private courses remaining in mint shape.



    Could maybe be avoided if the gov't manages to rescue itself but that's unlikely.




    Public Courses not being busy enough is one matter. Many are struggling mightily.



    The thing is, these ranges we are speaking of didn’t close because they weren’t profitable. Ables was busy all the time. They made good money. The land owner simply couldn’t resist the giant offer from the developers. He never offered it to JR to buy it. He knew one day it would be worth a mint as the city expanded west. If JR owned it, it would be open until he passed away......then his family would have surely sold it for a big pot of money.
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  • Z1ggy16Z1ggy16 Members Posts: 7,678 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    That almost sounds like a mid-west problem? As in, cities are growing so rapidly, big companies are trying to get in early to get land cheap. Bad for golf but good for the city as a whole I'd imagine. Increasing the supply of living space should hopefully help lower it a bit everywhere else I would imagine... but maybe not, who knows I'm not an economics person really.



    Here in the east, cities are staying the same if not even shrinking a little bit so we don't have issues with big real estate companies trying to come in and buy up farm land that most courses tend to sit on. The issue is keeping it cheap enough for the average guy to play, which I think it still is. Most decent courses can be had for a weekend rate of $60, which isn't bad. Walking twilight can range as low as $20, which I will often take advantage of in June and July.



    I don't think golf is going to just disappear over night or something but I think with the trends I'm seeing economically as a whole, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the rate of play drop quite a bit over the next few decades. Sort of a chain reaction due to millennials, their kids and even their kid's kids having less and less disposable income. Sad to think about really.
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  • augustgolfaugustgolf Golf with dignity Coastal NCMembers Posts: 3,926 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Good points ^^^^^



    Beings me back to a thread I started about a year or more ago, about owning a course.



    It is ALL economics, plain and simple. If you can provide a quality product at the price that the market will bear, and make enough to suit yourself....I believe that there will always be enough golfers.



    Maybe I should start another thread......
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  • Z1ggy16Z1ggy16 Members Posts: 7,678 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Again, I didn't go to school for econ, but I believe I've heard that a golf course is a fairly poor use of land as far as generating capital is concerned. If a course is situated on say... 50 acres, that 50 acres could having a housing development put on it and probably generate many times more revenue for the town/state than the course does. Not only that, but the people owning said land could probably make more money putting something else on it, too... so really having golf courses all over the place is a losing battle up front I'd imagine.



    I'd wager running a very profitable golf course and one that is also massively affordable could never be one in the same. Just the nature of the business model. I guess time will tell how golfers and golf courses themselves can whether the implosion our country could possible see from a monetary POV.
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  • augustgolfaugustgolf Golf with dignity Coastal NCMembers Posts: 3,926 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    George Carlin said, the 2 biggest wastes of land are golf courses and cemeteries
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  • JDFishJDFish Pickerington, OhioMembers Posts: 883 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Granville Golfland has a nice driving range. Otherwise, I don't know of any other stand alone driving ranges. Most of the public courses have a driving range, though they generally aren't in great shape. It seems to be an afterthought even though they get a lot of use. Off the top of my head: Turnberry is regularly total s***, Blacklick is okay, Champions is marginal, Raymond Memorial is irons only but usually okay, Denison is okay, Westchester is okay.
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  • MaxBuckMaxBuck Members Posts: 416 ✭✭✭✭
    edited Feb 15, 2019 8:11am #19
    I believe the general public can use the range at the Ohio State University golf courses. Quite adequate.
  • Matadorb32Matadorb32 Members Posts: 63 ✭✭
    JDFish wrote:


    Granville Golfland has a nice driving range. Otherwise, I don't know of any other stand alone driving ranges. Most of the public courses have a driving range, though they generally aren't in great shape. It seems to be an afterthought even though they get a lot of use. Off the top of my head: Turnberry is regularly total s***, Blacklick is okay, Champions is marginal, Raymond Memorial is irons only but usually okay, Denison is okay, Westchester is okay.




    I live/work pretty much downtown so Granville Golfland would be quite the trek.



    Champions - I like their range, and the short game area is pretty decent. The only issue with their range is that after about 150 yards there is a big dip that seems to collect a lot of water. If it has rained in the past few days they'll normally say don't hit anything more than 150 which I get. Problem is it seems to rain every other day in Columbus. Last year we had a record breaking amount of rain. We are ranked 7th rainiest city, right after Seattle.



    Raymond - Their balls are complete crap and they are always packed. grass is always chewed up. I do really like the practice putting green there but nowhere to chip.



    Turnberry - s***. Fun course though and usually not too busy.



    Blacklick - never been, i'll have to check it out.
  • mikpgamikpga www.mikedeitersgolf.com Members Posts: 7,391 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    augustgolf wrote:

    mikpga wrote:


    Come to Meadow Links & Golf Academy in Cincinnati...



    Just under a two hour drive!




    I just don't see too many golfers wanting a 4 hour round trip just to practice, at least not on a regular basis.



    My back hurts from just thinking about it




    Of course I was joking!
  • JagpilotohioJagpilotohio 45+ inch drivers are evil. Columbus, OHMembers Posts: 7,253 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    MaxBuck wrote:


    I believe the general public can use the range at the Ohio State University golf courses. Quite adequate.




    Absolutely not. Members Only.....and they have over 800 members. LOL! Even Students now must be members to use the facility. Pathetic.



    I live a mile from it. It would be incredibly convenient. Of course it’s always into the wind and the setting sun so it really sort of sucks to be honest.
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  • NosebuckleNosebuckle Members Posts: 90 ✭✭✭
    I then found Ables in Dublin. Best public range I've ever used. Excellent grass. 25 minutes drive from my house but I was there 2-3 times a week. $13 for 120 balls... And very good balls. EVERY ball replaced every spring. Awesome. Nice putting green. Decent chipping are. Heated stalls for the winter. Very good mats. Nice staff. Everything you could ask for.



    I went there pretty late the very last night they were open Oct. 31, and I actually received the very last bucket of balls they ever handed out. JR Ables, the PGA Pro owner and greatest guy ever, gave them to me personally and said with a tear in his eye that they were "on him". He was locking the doors for the last time.



    JR had never owned the property. It was leased and the owner finally sold it to a developer to build even more God awful apartments. When it opened many years ago it was farm land. Now it was surrounded on all 4 sides by apartments. It was inevitable.



    I hit balls until I was the very last person in the range. Fitting I guess because I spent so much time there. When I was done I went to my truck, loaded up my clubs, and sat in the parking lot and actually cried for a few minutes. For someone that LOVES to practice, losing the place was physically painful.



    I may have to finally cave in and join a private club just for a decent place to practice. I've also been using Westerville since October, but it's going to be completely intolerable once the season starts. So terribly depressing.




    just reading this is rather depressing as a longtime customer of Ables. I actually didn't know it had finally closed until reading this now, but I'm pretty sure I'd accepted the end was near end of last summer when I last bit balls there. Such a great facility and in a sense i totally understand your feeling after your last bucket - I'm sure I've been there at least 100 times in the last 10 years, always staffed by great folks.



    You giving serious thought to joining a club in the area?
  • JDFishJDFish Pickerington, OhioMembers Posts: 883 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Feb 15, 2019 8:46pm #24
    MaxBuck wrote:


    I believe the general public can use the range at the Ohio State University golf courses. Quite adequate.




    You can only use the range before your range if you are playing there. Off topic, but the general public can book lessons with the pros there, though. I took lessons from Brian Kelly last year - excellent teacher of the Ballard swing.
    Callaway Epic 9.0 Fujikura Atmos Black TS 6S
    Callaway XR Pro 3 wood
    Callaway XR 5 wood/Titleist 913H 21* hybrid
    Ping i200 Nippon N.S.Pro Modus3 Tour 105S - 4-UW
    Titleist Vokey SM6 54* and 58* S200
    Evnroll ER5 32"
  • SilverBulletsSilverBullets BMW Members Posts: 5,912 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I didn't realize Ables and The Golf Depot closed. JR was my first golf instructor and really helped me learn the game. Such a good guy. Up until the day I moved to Phoenix, I loved working on shot shaping by hitting high/low fades and draw at or around the loan tree in the middle.
    Taylormade M6 10.5* - HZRDUS Smoke Black 6.5
    Taylormade '16 M2 15*
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  • mikpgamikpga www.mikedeitersgolf.com Members Posts: 7,391 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Interesting to see this in Columbus...



    Meanwhile, we are a top 50 practice facility in the country here in Cincinnati (can accommodate over 40-50 at Natural Turf, and another 30-40 at our sheltered range)...



    Within a 10 mile radius of our facility we have Miles of Golf, Tri County Golf Ranch, Etters Driving Range, and TopGolf!
  • MaxBuckMaxBuck Members Posts: 416 ✭✭✭✭

    MaxBuck wrote:


    I believe the general public can use the range at the Ohio State University golf courses. Quite adequate.




    Absolutely not. Members Only.....and they have over 800 members.




    Odd. I'm a life member of the tOSU Alumni Association, so I can play for $75 whenever I like, but they've never asked me for ID when I've bought a range token. Maybe you need to shave. image/derisive.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':derisive:' />
  • JagpilotohioJagpilotohio 45+ inch drivers are evil. Columbus, OHMembers Posts: 7,253 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited Mar 1, 2019 10:16pm #28
    MaxBuck wrote:


    MaxBuck wrote:


    I believe the general public can use the range at the Ohio State University golf courses. Quite adequate.




    Absolutely not. Members Only.....and they have over 800 members.




    Odd. I'm a life member of the tOSU Alumni Association, so I can play for $75 whenever I like, but they've never asked me for ID when I've bought a range token. Maybe you need to shave. image/derisive.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':derisive:' />




    I don’t know anything about perks for life members of the alumni association but I can assure you, shaved or not, joe public can’t just walk in and buy balls or play there without a member. A good buddy of mine is a member so I do play there a few times a season with him.



    I spoke with one of the students in the golf management program last summer while I was on the putting green. The school started to make those guys pay an additional yearly membership fee to use the facilities in addition to their tuition. He wasnt real happy about it. I believe it was over $900.



    Maybe we are talking about a different range. Ive never seen the range dispensers take tokens. You use a preloaded debit card or get a 4 digit code from the shop for the keypad.
    9.5* Cobra LTD, Old school Grafalloy Blue, 43.5"
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  • JagpilotohioJagpilotohio 45+ inch drivers are evil. Columbus, OHMembers Posts: 7,253 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Nosebuckle wrote:

    I then found Ables in Dublin. Best public range I've ever used. Excellent grass. 25 minutes drive from my house but I was there 2-3 times a week. $13 for 120 balls... And very good balls. EVERY ball replaced every spring. Awesome. Nice putting green. Decent chipping are. Heated stalls for the winter. Very good mats. Nice staff. Everything you could ask for.



    I went there pretty late the very last night they were open Oct. 31, and I actually received the very last bucket of balls they ever handed out. JR Ables, the PGA Pro owner and greatest guy ever, gave them to me personally and said with a tear in his eye that they were "on him". He was locking the doors for the last time.



    JR had never owned the property. It was leased and the owner finally sold it to a developer to build even more God awful apartments. When it opened many years ago it was farm land. Now it was surrounded on all 4 sides by apartments. It was inevitable.



    I hit balls until I was the very last person in the range. Fitting I guess because I spent so much time there. When I was done I went to my truck, loaded up my clubs, and sat in the parking lot and actually cried for a few minutes. For someone that LOVES to practice, losing the place was physically painful.



    I may have to finally cave in and join a private club just for a decent place to practice. I've also been using Westerville since October, but it's going to be completely intolerable once the season starts. So terribly depressing.




    just reading this is rather depressing as a longtime customer of Ables. I actually didn't know it had finally closed until reading this now, but I'm pretty sure I'd accepted the end was near end of last summer when I last bit balls there. Such a great facility and in a sense i totally understand your feeling after your last bucket - I'm sure I've been there at least 100 times in the last 10 years, always staffed by great folks.



    You giving serious thought to joining a club in the area?




    Yes. I will join somewhere. The range at Westerville will not be able to sustain grass with the influx of new people there. Last fall it was already essentially like hitting off dirt.
    9.5* Cobra LTD, Old school Grafalloy Blue, 43.5"
    14* Cally 815 alpha fuji 665 X 42"
    16* Cally 815 alpha fuji 665 X, 41.5" (set to 17*)
    19* Titleist 816 H2 fuji 8.8X TS 40.0"
    4-7 2016 Hogan PTx, KBS Tour V, 120X.  
    Ping i210 8 & 9 Proto 125 F5 hardstepped 1x.
    Ping glide 2 46-12, 50-12, 54-14 (at 55) stealth, Vokey SM6 60M (61). Wedges Recoil Proto 125 F5
    33.5" Ghost spider slant neck.
    Srixon Z-star XV
    Jones Trouper Bag
  • Matadorb32Matadorb32 Members Posts: 63 ✭✭
    Does anyone know how much it cost at some of the local private courses to maybe have access to just the practice facilities?
  • JagpilotohioJagpilotohio 45+ inch drivers are evil. Columbus, OHMembers Posts: 7,253 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Matadorb32 wrote:


    Does anyone know how much it cost at some of the local private courses to maybe have access to just the practice facilities?




    The only courses I know of that do this are public courses that have membership options. I believe the new Era courses offer a practice membership.



    I know Dublin does but you usually hit off the rock hard mats because the volume is so high. Their “mat” area is just an AstroTurf strip on hard packed sand. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the grass open.
    9.5* Cobra LTD, Old school Grafalloy Blue, 43.5"
    14* Cally 815 alpha fuji 665 X 42"
    16* Cally 815 alpha fuji 665 X, 41.5" (set to 17*)
    19* Titleist 816 H2 fuji 8.8X TS 40.0"
    4-7 2016 Hogan PTx, KBS Tour V, 120X.  
    Ping i210 8 & 9 Proto 125 F5 hardstepped 1x.
    Ping glide 2 46-12, 50-12, 54-14 (at 55) stealth, Vokey SM6 60M (61). Wedges Recoil Proto 125 F5
    33.5" Ghost spider slant neck.
    Srixon Z-star XV
    Jones Trouper Bag

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