Ohio State Golf Club provides a fair but tough challenge

Challenging but fair. It is a phrase that a professor might use to describe that last calculus test, but it also happens to fit the Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club.The Scarlet Course, the club’s main attraction, re-opened on April 2 after being shuttered since November for the winter season.Topping out at more than 7,400 yards from the back tees, the course is often compared with the marquee country clubs of central Ohio.“Some people say it’s just as difficult as a Scioto Country Club or Muirfield Village,” said the club’s assistant golf professional Ben Mersy. “It’s pretty forgiving off the tees. The bunkers will get you, and the greens can be pretty tough.”Mersy added, “Overall it’s a fair but tough challenge.”The Scarlet Course was originally completed in 1938 and saw a major renovation between 2005 and 2006 under the guidance of former OSU golfer and PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus.A frequent user of the course, Daron Prater, a second-year in engineering, vouched for the venue’s difficulty.“The greens are nearly impossible,” he said. “You have to leave (the ball) below the hole or else you won’t stand a chance.”For those looking for an easier course, Mersy said the OSU Golf Club is still the place to go.“We have two golf courses here, which is unique to central Ohio,” he said.The Gray Course, completed in 1940, tops out at 5,800 yards.Prater said that the Scarlet Course is beautiful.“There are some really nice views, it’s a very scenic course,” Prater said. “It gives you a great view of Ohio.”The course is also known for its pristine condition, Mersy said.“The condition of the course is great all year round,” he said. “We have a superintendent and his crew that do a wonderful job.”Mersy also said, though, that the Gray Course is just as nice as the Scarlet.“They take just as good of care on Gray as they do on Scarlet,” Mersy said. “(But) Gray is a much easier golf course for beginner to moderate golfers.”The club tries to keep the Gray course open throughout the winter if the weather permits, said Marc Lucas, the club’s general manager.Mersy said having two courses isn’t its most notable quality.The Scarlet Golf Course was ranked No. 7 on “Golfweek’s” list of the best college course of 2012.The OSU Golf Club is not only one of the best in the nation, but Mersy said that it also is one of the only establishments of its kind in Ohio as one of the few university-owned and operated clubs.Mersey said that Kent State has Windmill Lakes Golf Club, but the facility is not owned and operated by the university.Brian Kelly, OSU Golf Club’s head golf professional, said there is only one other college-operated course in the state.“The only other one that’s around is Bridgeview, which is owned by Columbus State Community College now,” he said.Bridgeview Golf Course is a nine-hole course, while OSU’s courses both have 18 holes.OSU Golf Club hosts a multitude of tournaments at all levels. Beyond some of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state tournaments and various collegiate competitions, Mersy said the club also hosts an event for the PGA Web.com Tour and is now part of the PGA Tour Qualifying Series.The club will be hosting the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship from Sept. 9 to 15.OSU Golf Club is located at 3605 Tremont Road. For OSU students, a day on the Scarlet Course costs $33 and on the Gray Course is $20.