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The Quarry Golf Club again rated one of Ohio’s best public courses

CANTON ‒ The Quarry Golf Club was always meant to be different.

The 18-hole course was built on an old quarry, which dated to the 1800s. So, its 100-foot cliffs and scenic elevation changes came with the territory. Add in a multimillion dollar clubhouse, Granite Grille restaurant, swimming pool, hillside patio and country club-style extras and it’s easy to understand why The Quarry is regularly ranked among the best courses you can play in Ohio.

The most recent accolade: In June, it was rated the ninth-best public access course in the Buckeye State by Golfweek.

The criteria for “public access,” meant The Quarry was up against not only premier public courses, but also private clubs, which offer limited stay and play opportunities. Three of the state’s top-15 are at Akron’s Firestone Country Club, whose South course is a stop on the PGA Champions Tour.

Quarry owners said they appreciate such honors.

“I feel like we deserve to be up in there somewhere,” said Doug Titko, one of the course’s owners.

Five years ago, he and his brother, John Titko, along with course pro and golf director Troy Schonover, Jamie Howell, Fonda Williams and Brock Walters, purchased the place. None were golf course-shopping. It just happened. The Quarry was for sale. They loved it. They wanted to save it.

However, their view from the top hasn’t been hazard-free. The Titkos said course conditions were less than peak last year. And they know some TLC could restore pieces to their original look.

‘He eats, sleeps and breathes grass’

That’s one reason Don Bandy was hired early this year. He was course superintendent during The Quarry’s construction and when it opened in 2006. Now, he’s at the helm again.

“He eats, sleeps and breathes grass,” said Doug Titko.

“He knows his stuff. He was here Day 1,” John Titko said.

They’ve given Bandy leeway.

“His mission is to get it back to its state of original build,” John Titko said.

Nothing is particularly wrong at The Quarry now. GolfclevelandOhio.com once rated it the top public course in Northeast Ohio, and has it No. 2 in its most recent top-20 rankings.

But, the Titkos said, it can be even better.

Quarry Golf Club earns kudos for the architect and from customers

Brian Huntley is on board with that.

He’s the architect who designed the Quarry. Back with the original developer who soon went into bankruptcy, and when the course was purchased by InfoCision founder Gary Taylor, who died in 2013.

The Quarry project, Huntley said, was similar to many of that era. The template: maximize the number of new house sites (150 of them), then lay out a golf course on land not suited for houses.

“The Quarry was built on a pretty strict budget,” Huntley recalled.

Huntley, who lives in Green, has designed 20 new courses and worked on another 80 renovations. Locally, he designed Raintree Golf & Event Center in Green, as well as the recently-closed Sanctuary in Plain Township.

“To me, The Quarry is a relatively easy course if you can control your ball,” he said, adding that course strategy, not booming 300-yard drives, is the key to posting low scores there.

Of course, Huntley has a 2 handicap.

“The goal of the Quarry was to give more of a resort feel,” Huntley explained. “An upscale public course … for avid golfers.”

Those avid golfers love it.

Canadian writer Bill Flower: ‘Very unique and challenging golf course’

For seven years of his life, Canadian freelance writer Bill Flower and his ex-wife traveled the U.S. for months at a time, to play and review courses for the Canadiangolfer.com website.

In 2019, they meandered south from Michigan on their way to Florida. The main reason they stopped in Canton was to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While in town, they heard about The Quarry and checked it out. Flower, who lives on Vancouver Island, said he was impressed.

“Very unique and challenging golf course,” he recalled.

That comes from a guy who’s played dozens of college courses, 16 PGA or LPGA Tour venues, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and such British Open hosts as Royal Troon and Carnoustie.

Flower said he loved a three-hole stretch at The Quarry, which included the par-4, 14th so-called “rock hole.” A giant rock formation, on top of a hill, stands between the tee and green.

Flower said he dubbed the trio of holes something like “Oh, My God Stretch,” in his review, which is no longer available online. The nickname, he said, was meant as a tip of the cap to Herbert Warren Wind, the Sports Illustrated writer who dubbed holes 11, 12 and 13 “Amen Corner,” at Augusta National.

Fun facts about the rock hole, according to Huntley: Soil was excavated on top of the hill to reveal the rock; bunkers were built as catch basins adjacent to it; the pin used to be visible from the tee.

“There were some things we would have done different with a bigger budget,” Huntley said of the tree-lined and largely wooded course. “I wanted to clear out more. … I’d still like to see it opened up more.”

Golfers don’t seem to mind much.

The Quarry hosts nine leagues, open play, a Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce annual golf outing and is one of the most popular destinations in the Penn Ohio Golf Trail package.

“From our perspective, it’s an easy sale,” said Bill Rabel of Hubbard, Ohio-based Penn Ohio, which sells Ohio and Pennsylvania golf packages to both regional and national customers.

The Quarry isn’t just a golf course

He said The Quarry feels different than some of the other 60 courses it offers in its stay and play opportunities.

“There’s something to be said for pulling into that big clubhouse, and seeing that patio,” Rabel said. “It’s an experience, a destination … Doug and Troy are great to work with. Great course; great people.”

The down side of The Quarry’s resort-like setting — southeast of downtown Canton and south of the village of East Canton — is that potential customers wrongly assume it’s a private club.

It’s not.

The Quarry’s Granite Grille restaurant is open seven days a week to golfers and non-golfers. And its banquet room and patio are available for catered private events such as weddings; bridal and baby showers; rehearsal dinners; graduation parties; golf outings; corporate, holiday and birthday parties, class reunions; proms and dances; and celebration of life gatherings.

The Las Vegas Raiders rented the entire facility for a private party in 2022 when Richard Seymour and Cliff Branch entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That’s when Diana Ross showed up to wow the crowd, with the mesmerized Titko brothers enjoying some of the perks that come with owning a golf course.

“There are just so many moving parts to running a golf course, but yeah it can be fun, too,” said John Titko.

This year, the Green Bay Packers have rented the place for a private outing and party. The Hall’s class of 2024 includes two enshrinees with Packers’ ties — Steve McMichael and Julius Peppers.

Reach Tim at 330-580-8333 or [email protected] X: @tbotosREP

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