Miami Valley Golf Club draws raves at Mid-Am

The Miami Valley Golf Club is one of Dayton’s jewels.

I was reminded of that last week while spectating at the Ohio Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur Championship.

The neighborhood all around the club has declined terribly since I first saw it 60 years ago, but the golf course inside the perimeter fence still bears the mark of the great architect Donald Ross, who designed it in 1917 and 1918.

Once on the course, golfers can ignore the traffic noise outside foliage-covered fencing and enjoy a trip around a course with character not always found in more modern facilities.

The greens are challenging and seem to have a mind of their own as they turn away putts not stroked perfectly.

For a lot of reasons Miami Valley will never again host a major championship as it did in 1957 when Lionel Hebert defeated Dow Finsterwald in the last PGA Championship contested with match play.

Among those reasons is that golf balls travel much farther than they did when they weren’t struck by the well-engineered clubs we have today. During the final round of the Ohio Mid-Am, the course was played at its longest length – 6,795 yards.

Twelve years ago when the U.S. Senior Open was held at NCR Country Club, NCR’s heralded South course wasn’t long enough at 7,000 yards to keep the seniors from setting scoring records.

Miami Valley’s course is still tough enough to frustrate golfers of the skill level who play in events such as the Mid-Am and qualifiers for United States Golf Association events. Only one player – Matt Buse – broke par in last week’s 54-hole test.

“This course is in spectacular shape,” one OGA official said during Thursday’s final round.

The person most responsible for the condition of the course is green superintendent Jim Hasselbrock, who has been on the job for 33 years.

“This club is one of our favorites,” Jim Popa said Thursday. Popa, who lives in Columbus, runs the Ohio Golf Association events.

“The superintendent here, Jim Hasselbrock,is an unbelievable guy with (only) eight or nine guys on his staff,” Popa added.

Walking scorers sought: The Miami Valley Golf Association is looking for volunteers who might enjoy walking a golf course and keeping score for participants in two USGA qualifiers next month.

We are referring to the U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier on July 6 at Walnut Grove Country Club and the U.S. Men’s Amateur qualifier on July 10 at Moraine Country Club.

As always, the players are responsible for keeping their own scores and the scorecard they sign is official, but the walking scorers provide a backup.

Those interested should contact the Miami Valley Golf Association office at 937-609-3387 or by emailing executive director Steve Jurick

One resident who was a walking scorer at the recent U.S. Open qualifier at Springfield Country Club sent us a note of thanks for making him aware of the opportunity and said it was a great experience.

Chip shots

• The Southern Ohio PGA Section is holding its Springfield Classic at Springfield Country Club on Monday.

• The annual Junior Golf League at WGC Golf Course in Xenia begins Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. and will continue each Wednesday through July. Golfers with playing experience are invited to participate in this nine-hole league. Information can be found at

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