The Long Family Has a Rich Golf History in Ohio

  • by Pat
  • 4 Months ago
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The Long family has been involved in the golf business in Ohio, since Jim Long bought Riverby Hills 46 years ago. Jim’s son, Cary, who is now the general manager of both Riverby Hills and Eagles Landing in the Toledo area resides near Grand Rapids and lives in the same house previously owned by his grandfather. Two other brothers, Kyle and Dan also grew up in the golf business and manage the other two family-owned courses, Woodland Golf Club, near Cable and Indian Springs Golf Club in Mechanicsburg.

These four courses all owned by the Long family, allow Ohio golfers a true bargain. For one single membership fee, members at one course can play all four courses, for no additional fees.

Members at Woodland and Indian Springs can venture up to Northwest Ohio for a buddie’s trip or an overnight golf getaway and play both Riverby Hills and Eagles Landing. Members at either Riverby Hills or Eagles Landing can do the same, with a golf trip to Central Ohio.

Both Woodland and Indian Springs Golf Clubs are near enough to Dublin, that evening dining options and entertainment are also easily accessible.

As Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones fueled golf’s “Golden Age,” the demand for more public golf courses grew in Northwest Ohio. Riverby Hills Golf Club, near Waterville, opened for play in 1929 and was created to meet that need. It was billed as the “Sportiest Club in the Country” and was a “pay-as-you-play” 27-hole, semi-public golf course.

Called into action during WW II the course served as a testing ground for locally made Willys Jeeps being prepared for use in the war. Willys’ engineers would race the four-wheel military vehicles up and down the steep hills at Riverby Hills to adequately prepare them to face uneven terrain in Europe and the Pacific.

Over the years the club grew in popularity and a group of members formed the Riverby Hills Country Club with Jim Long serving as the club’s accountant. When the membership wanted to sell the club, but could not find a suitable buyer, Long decided it was time to make an investment in the future and bought the property in 1982.

As Golf, in Ohio like the rest of the country, experienced another growth spurt in the 1990’s, Long was able to leverage his golf business and add two more properties to his operation. Woodland Golf Club in Cable, was purchased in 1999 and Indian Springs Golf Club, near Mechanicsburg, was added a year later. The fourth course, Eagles Landing in Oregon, was purchased in 2012.

Jim Long is now retired and has turned the day-to-day operation over to his sons, but still lives near the golf course and occasionally checks in at the various courses. Cary, a CPA like his father, is now the general manager at both Toledo-area courses, Riverby Hills and Eagles Landing.

He told us,

“We have seen the ups and downs of the golf business over the years, but through it all strive to maintain an enjoyable round of golf for our members and visitors.”

Riverby Hills is one of the busiest public courses in the area and even though it receives heavy traffic the maintenance staff strives to keep it one of the best maintained courses around. The course has four sets of tees for every skill level. From the Gold Tees the course is very playable at 5,059 yards, while it can be stretched to 6,853 for the low-handicap player.

Riverby’s long holes will reward the bomber, but a series of tight par-4’s and testy par-3’s, require accuracy and a deft touch. The natural rolling terrain adds beauty, as well as, difficulty to the course.

Eagles Landing in Oregon is the newest addition to the Long’s golf business, but it is one of Toledo’s best public courses. It opened for play in 1998 and was designed by Brian Huntley.

The course offers wide accessible fairways with bunkering to catch any wayward tee shot. There are a few water hazards that must be avoided, but the biggest defense for the course is the large undulating greens and the ever-present wind.

Eagles Landing sits along side Lake Erie and a constant breeze demands attention to club selection on every shot. The course is always well maintained and offers a great value for the public golfer.

It is a par-72 that plays 6,840 from the tips, but can play to as little as 5,137 yards from the most forward of the four tees. GolfNow reviewers rated Eagles Landing 4.5 stars (out of 5) and over 90% said they look forward to a return visit.

Woodland Golf Club is a Jack Kidwell design and opened for play in 1972. The par-71 has four sets of tees and can play, a very comfortable 4,886 yards, from the forward tees, to a more demanding 6,473 from the Blacks.

Another brother, Kyle manages the family-owned, Woodland Golf Club. It is a beautiful country golf course sitting in the middle a triangle between Bellefontaine, Urbana and Marysville. It traverses the gently rolling Central Ohio hills and is dotted with lakes and ponds. Several small creeks that meander through the course challenge the golfer, but also add to the course’s overall beauty. The layout features fairways carved from the mature woodlands. The greens are relatively large, manicured and putt reasonably fast and true. There is also a driving range and practice putting area to prepare for your round.

Visitors to Woodland Golf Club rated the course 4.5 stars (out of 5) on Golf Advisor and every player said they looked forward to returning to play the course again.

Kyle told us about his life growing up in the golf business,

“I have held every job possible at a golf course, from watering greens and fairways, to cleaning and fixing carts. It is always a challenge dealing with Mother Nature, equipment and employee issues, as well as, maintaining a positive bottom line, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Only 11 miles separate Woodland and Indian Springs Golf Clubs. Jack Kidwell teamed with a young Michael Hurdzan to design Indian Springs and it opened for play in 1990. Hurdzan has since been recognized for his work as a co-designer of Erin Hills the site of the 2017 U.S. Open.

Four sets of tee boxes at Indian Springs allow low-handicappers to test themselves at 7,109 yards, average golfers can choose between 6,630 yards or 6,003 yards, while the forward tees offer an enjoyable 5,460 yards.

Indian Springs, managed by brother Dan, is definitely the more difficult of the two courses, with several uphill approach shots into greens. The natural rolling terrain creates a beautiful walk, but also adds strokes to your score.

Both a driving range and practice green are available for proper warm up and to become accustomed to the greens, before you hit the first tee.

Indian Springs received 4 stars (out of 5) from GolfNow, with reviewers commenting on the superb conditioning, large greens and the rolling Central Ohio topography.

Dan Long said of being in the golf business with his family,

“My dad bought the first course, Riverby Hills, when I was just eight months old, so I have literally grown up in the golf business. It is a wonderful feeling creating the best golf experience for our members, while at the same time growing the family business.”

It should also be mentioned that all four courses are able to handle any size outing. And are perfect for corporate and charitable golf outings, as well as, family reunions.

Over 45 years ago, Jim Long saw an opportunity to begin a business that would sustain his family. Today his sons, Kyle, Dan and Cary continue to provide affordable and enjoyable golf for their members and golfers from all over Ohio.

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